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Logo. Feature : Boundaries
One example for Feature : Boundaries
Boundaries mark the borders of areas, mostly political, but also of other administrative areas.




area The original accepted usage was to only apply this tag to areas.

relation+way However there now seems to be a consensus of using the boundary key also on linear ways, with relations used to aggregate these ways if needed.

Also see the boundary relation.

Administrative values

See main article Tag:boundary=administrative

The following values are possible, though might be old due to the new admin_level tag


+ admin_level=2 

marks country borders, such as the border between Austria and Germany. The names of the countries is specified through the tags "left:country", "right:country", if used on a linear way rather than an enclosed/area way.

There is some controversy about what is the exact meaning of country. For the sake of clarity, only political entities listed on the ISO 3166 standard are to be considered countries.


+ admin_level=3 to 11

marks subnational borders. The names of the subnational entities involved is specified as with national borders, with "parish", "district", "region", "province", "state"


approved, used for marking official reservation boundaries of recognized aboriginal / indigenous / native peoples
lists its status as "abandoned," see its wiki to link to taginfo usage data
a delimited forest is a land which is predominantly wooded and which is, for this reason, given defined boundaries. It may cover different tree stands, non-wooded areas, highways… but all the area within the boundaries are considered and managed as a single forest.
a forest compartment is a numbered sub-division within a delimited forest, physically materialized with visible, typically cleared, boundaries.
for marking maritime borders (rather than land areas normally assumed by boundary=administrative and following the coastlines)
trial: When metropolitan areas don't match with an administrative subdivision (sometimes even country borders are crossed), this tag could be used.
lists its status as "in use," though its usage is somewhat rare; see its wiki to link to taginfo usage data. It is likely better to use boundary=administrative + admin_level=2 instead.
an older tag to denote boundaries of a national park. See also boundary=protected_area, below.
approved, should be documented in each country where they are used. Can be used for electoral boundaries, or administrative areas not covered by the strict hierarchical model (of admin_level=*) in specific countries (as they don't create exclusive partitions).
a newer tag with numerical values intended to denote IUCN-categorized areas and more. Has broad categories of protections and protection levels: nature-protected (wilderness, national parks...), resources-protected (soil, water, species...) and social-protected areas (special cultural assets, heritage sites, et cetera).
trial for dioceses, parishes, etc. First used, discussed and supported in France, but also used now in other countries (see FrViPofm/Tag:boundary=religious_administration)
for marking vice counties in Britain and Ireland.

Proposed values

See also

  • place=* for toponyms, human settlements and fractions of them.


  • OSM Boundaries by User Wambacher (defunct)
  • OSM-Boundaries by User Magma1447, a replacement for the now defunct site by Wambacher.
  • Cosmogony is a set of tools to extract, see and check administratives boundaries from OSM
  • Boundary.Now to find and download a single boundary as GeoJSON, Shapefile or KMZ.
  • map that shows only boundaries