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Public-images-osm logo.svg ford = yes
Ogle County IL White Pines State Park Fords3.jpg
A ford for crossing a waterway. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Rendering in OSM Carto
Group: highways
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
See also
Status: de facto

A [W] ford is a small part of a highway where a waterway runs over it.

When the ford is crossed with stepping stones use ford=stepping_stones.

How to map

  • Use a single node ford where a highway crosses a waterway that is mapped as a linear stream without riverbanks.
  • Use the way-method for larger streams with mapped riverbanks, see waterway=riverbank.

On a node node

The stream and highways should share a node where they cross marked with ford=yes.

On a way way

The highway should share nodes with the riverbanks where it crosses them and also a node with the waterway=* where they cross. Split the highway between the riverbanks and apply ford=yes to this segment (in addition to all other information pertaining to the highway).

If the approach (up and down to the riverbank) to the ford is much different from the ford itself, it might make sense to split the way and tag them appropriately (incline=* might apply for example).

Useful combinations

  • surface=* Obvious values here would be concrete, paved, sand, gravel, mud, etc.
  • depth=* Normal depth you might encounter. Probably deeper during flood or when raining heavily. Perhaps even set to 0 for fords that are dry most of the year.
  • layer=* This should be the same as the crossing road. This is not set in most cases. The way is both on the highway and in the waterway and not separated logically as a stream under a bridge would be.


See also

  • flood_prone=* Unlike fords are likely to be dangerous to cross if there is water across the roadway.
  • intermittent=* Used to indicate that a waterway (river, stream, etc.) does not have a permanent flow, so the ford may also be dry at times.