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Public-images-osm logo.svg place = island
Any piece of land that is completely surrounded by water and isolated from other significant landmasses. Edit or translate this description.
Group: Places
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Useful combination
See also
Status: approvedPage for proposal


An island is any piece of land that is completely surrounded by water and isolated from other significant landmasses.

How to map

Island in the sea

Mf area.svg Draw a closed way counterclockwise along the coastline of the island (water is always on the right hand side). Then add the tags:

Island in waterway or lake

Mf area.svg Island within lakes or rivers should be mapped using multipolygon relations. The way for the island should be given the role inner, while the way for lake or river should have the role outer.

If the island has a name, it can be tagged with: place=island and name=*

You can specify the land-use, or by what it is covered with a natural=* or landuse=* tag.

Large island

Islands with coastlines having more than 2000 nodes will require a multipolygon relation to be created containing the place=island and name=* ... tags etc. See this example of the Isle of Kerrera.

When to avoid place=island

Small island

Mf area.svg A small island ( Islet), with maximum area of 1 km², and only a few buildings (or none), located near a bigger island or the mainland, is drawn like a big island, but tagged with place=islet instead of place=island. Example:  Beginish

if an island is in the middle of the sea and far away of other islands, it may be tagged as "island". Example:  Wake Island

See also: Differentiation between Island and Islet (List with examples)(de).

Group of islands

If you are not mapping one island, but a group of islands, use place=archipelago instead.


If the piece of land you are mapping is not completely surrounded by water, use natural=peninsula instead.

Rendering hints

If you place an island on dry land, do not expect water to automatically appear around the island.

You need to map water area.

Standard layer

Adding this tag to an island will place an italicized label on it.

The openstreetmap.org Standard layer uses a different method to render coastlines. It takes up to a day before changes to the coastline are seen in the tiles. For more details, see Coastline.

See also