British Columbia

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This page contains information relating to mapping activity that is specific to the British Columbia, Canada.

Tagging Guidelines

Please see Canadian tagging guidelines.

Highways and provincial roads

See British Columbia/Highway classification for a proposed new classification scheme. Actual guidelines in use for BC follow those in Canada/Tagging guidelines#Highways.

The BC Government does not have meaningful distinctions between different types of highways, therefor it is necessary to consider functional characteristics of a road to classify it. What distinctions there are (e.g. NHS) are funding categories, not visible on the ground, and typically only present in copyrighted lists which are not a usable source.

Tagging In built up areas In remote areas
highway=motorway A freeway with access to/from the road primarily from interchanges. Typically, but not necessarily a numbered highway. A freeway with access to/from the road primarily from interchanges. Typically, but not necessarily a numbered highway.
highway=trunk A divided highway with limited access. Intersections are infrequent with traffic priority going to the trunk road. Intersections normally have "prepare to stop" signs in advance of them. Right and left turn lanes are frequently present at intersections. Increased speed limits are common. A divided highway with limited access.
highway=primary A a numbered highway with does not meet the standards for highway=motorway or highway=trunk. An un-divided highway.
highway=secondary A major road used for thru-traffic. Frequently 4 lanes. ?
highway=tertiary A road less important than a secondary. In residential areas these are normally classified by the city as "local collectors". Normally has priority at intersections over highway=residential roads. ?
highway=residential A minor residential road. Many minor non-residential roads have been tagged as residential from the CanVec import.
highway=unclassified A minor non-residential road. Some CanVec residential roads are incorrectly tagged as highway=unclassified.
highway=road An unknown road. An unknown road.
highway=living_street Not in common use. Not in common use.
highway=service A service road A service road

Highways should be tagged with lanes=* maxspeed=* surface=* as appropriate.

Cities/Towns (by population (1))

(CMA = urban centre-census metropolitan area, CA = census agglomeration (CA) Other towns

Cities/Towns (by Regional Districts)

Cariboo Regional District

Central Coast Regional District

Columbia-Shuswap Regional District

Fraser Valley Regional District

Metro Vancouver Regional District

Northern Rockies Regional Municipality

Peace River Regional District

qathet Regional District

Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako

Regional District of Fraser-Fort George

Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine

Regional District of Central Kootenay

Regional District of Central Okanagan

Regional District of East Kootenay

Regional District of Kootenay Boundary

Regional District of North Okanagan

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen

Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District

Squamish-Lillooet Regional District

Sunshine Coast Regional District

Thompson-Nicola Regional District

Vancouver Island

Alberni—Clayoquot Regional District

Capital Regional District

Comox Valley Regional District

Cowichan Valley Regional District

Regional District of Mount Waddington

Regional District of Nanaimo

Strathcona Regional District

Notes (1)


Potential Datasource

BC Gov't geographic information portal

ILMB BC Digital Road Atlas (2007, Partially Attributed) -


BCarea-mkgmap-routable OSM_22June2010_ MapSource_View.jpg

The Garmin MapSource (Windows) Installer file is available here

The Garmin IMG tiles (routable) are available in this zip file,

This was created from the OSM download of the outline of the province from using splitter and mkgmap