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Provinces of Canada: Alberta · British Columbia · Manitoba · New Brunswick · Newfoundland and Labrador · Nova Scotia · Ontario · Prince Edward Island · Québec · Saskatchewan · Territories: Nunavut · Northwest Territories · Yukon
Alberta, Canada

latitude: 54.5, longitude: -115
Browse map of Alberta 54°30′00.00″ N, 115°00′00.00″ W
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External links:
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Alberta is a province in Canada at latitude 54°30′00.00″ North, longitude 115°00′00.00″ West.

This page contains information relating to mapping activity that is specific to Alberta, Canada.


See Canadian tagging guidelines for overall guidelines.

Specific guidelines following were originally from the Calgary page and were placed here to avoid duplication. The rationale behind these guidelines was based on the Winnipeg guidelines.

The quick guide

  • motorway': Highways which allow free-flowing traffic
  • trunk: Highways 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 16, 43, and 63
  • primary: All other primary provincial highways (numbers 1 to 100, not including those already classified as trunk).
  • secondary: Secondary Highways (numbers 500 to 899 and 900 to 999)
  • tertiary: Major range/township roads in rural communities
  • unclassified: Rural roads that are not part of the numbered highway system.

Highways should get a surface tag indicating paved or unpaved. If there is no surface tag, the assumption is paved.

Highways with two lanes in each direction (but without a divider/central barrier) should be tagged as lanes=4. If there is no lanes tag, the assumption is 2.

All highways should have ref tags added indicating the highway/road number. Those that are named (e.g. the Trans Canada Highway, Yellowhead Highway, Queen Elizabeth II Highway) should also have name tags.

The rationale

The highway tag in OpenStreetMap is intended to describe the official classification of a given road. At the same time, this is not enough information to draw a useful map.

The highway tag is used to record the road's official classification. It also carries certain implications regarding the road itself; notably, highway=motorway implies that the road is a divided highway, and both motorway and trunk imply limited access. However, the primary meaning of highway is the official classification. This naturally leads to:

  • Provincial Trunk highways that are part of the National Highway System (highways 1, 2, 3, and 16) and ring roads 201 and 216: highway=trunk
  • Other Provincial Primary highways (numbers up to 100): highway=primary
  • Provincial Secondary highways (numbers 500 to 899 and 900 to 999): highway=secondary

Rural roads that are not part of this highway classification system can be tagged as highway=unclassified. This leaves the "in-between" status of highway=tertiary unused, but this class is useful when mapping important roads in urban areas.

In Alberta, the number of lanes on a highway can vary on the trunk highways, the lanes tag can be used to record the total number of lanes of travel on the highway including both directions (i.e. lanes=2 for a two-way highway with one lane each direction, lanes=4 for a street with two lanes in each direction with no divider, and lanes=2 on each way of a four lane divided highway with two lanes in each direction).

The surface of the road does not affect the highway's official classification, and so it does not impact the highway tag. But it is important information, and can be captured in the surface tag. Suggested values are surface=paved and surface=unpaved. Provincial highways and roads that are unpaved are gravel roads; for unclassified roads that are unsuitable for heavy travel (dirt, grass, really bad gravel), consider switching to highway=track.

Note that surface tag does not currently (May 2007) have any impact on the standard Osmarender or Mapnik layers, so the maps that OpenStreetMap creates will not differentiate between, for example, paved and unpaved Provincial Roads. This will hopefully change in the future. Custom Osmarender rulesets can be made that will incorporate this data. It should be noted that routing software might make use of the surface tag.

Winter roads (which are either closed or not maintained during the winter months) are not currently being mapped. If you map them, please give some consideration as to the sort of tags that should be used, and document that here.


The 'Definitive list':

Listing on Wikipedia:

There are also a couple of additional 'place' types in Alberta

Power-related mapping

See WikiProject Power networks/Canada/Alberta for further information specific to power-related mapping in Alberta.

OSM Pages for specific places


Hit list of major roads:

Tourist/Scenic Trails

There exist an number of 'scenic trails' which follow existing roads (see These can be mapped by using relations.

  • Boomtown Trail
  • Cowboy Trail (Relation 15018)
  • Crowsnest Highway (Relation 15589)
  • David Thompson Explorer’s Trail (Relation 15591)
  • Deh Cho Trail
  • Grande Alberta Trail
  • Icefields Parkway (Relation 15588)
  • Kalyna Country
  • Klondike Trail
  • North to Alaska Trail
  • Northern Alberta Heritage Trail
  • Northern Lights and Oil Sands Trail
  • Northwestern Alberta Circle
  • Trail of the Buffalo
  • Trail of the Great Bear
  • UNESCO Trail
  • Yellowhead Highway


A possible data source is:

I have spoken with the GIS person at Munipal Affairs, who referred me to They have boundaries available for free download, however this pop-ups a non-redistrution license. I have spoke with them and emailed a more detailed explaination of who/what we are and how we do things. --Mungewell 21:23, 9 April 2008 (BST)

Other Sources of Data

Calgary Area Trail Mapping Project - Permission Granted, coding tools for import --Mungewell 18:30, 14 May 2008 (UTC) - whole load on information/pictures on mountain peaks in Canada. Emailed to request permission, awaiting confirmation from contributor --Mungewell 04:10, 24 June 2008 (UTC) - A large collection of Hikes and Scrambles in the Rockies. Permission granted for import. --Mungewell 04:10, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Alberta Municipal Affairs have given permission to use the Place Codings (to confirm status/type and find missing places) and the Census data found in the following files, --Mungewell 18:13, 5 August 2008 (UTC):


The Garmin MapSource (Windows) Installer file is available here Routable Alberta 30 April 2010.exe created from the OSM download of the outline of the province from