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Public-images-osm logo.svg advertising
Picadilly Circus London by night 2006.jpg
To characterize all types of advertising devices Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: advertising
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areas (and multipolygon relations)may be used on relations
Documented values: 11
Status: de factoPage for proposal

Outdoor advertising devices have many different forms and aspects, and they are visible by everybody in landscape.

They can play a role of landmark and be used by people to orientate in the (built-up) landscape.

But their many can generate 'visual pollution' and badly transform the landscape, by intruding their commercial messages into public space.

In any case, they play an important role in defining what a particular site or area really looks like. For all these reasons, it is legitimate to have them into OSM.

Advertising tag values

Used to describe advertising devices.

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Can apply on node node, way ways, area areas or relation relations.

advertising=* tags were advocated to be accompanied by man_made=advertising, but this tag is not mandatory and is typically omitted.


  • support=* - indicates what supports the advertising device.
  • size=* - indicates the size of the advertising device including the frame, but without the support (pole, post, mast, ...). Size is provided with two parameters separated with a * : length*height. Dimensions are given in meter.
  • height=* - the total height of the advertising object, including the support.
  • lit=* - indicates if the advertising device is lit.
  • luminous=* - indicates if the advertising device is luminous, i.e. if it emits some light.
  • animated=* - indicates if the advertising device is animated, and the way it is animated.
  • sides=* - gives the number of sides of the advertising device, default is 1. Number of sides should not be confused with the the number of faces. A 'face' is a single poster which is displayed, and when there are animated devices with winding posters, the number of faces is the number of different posters which are displayed, one after another. Then, different faces can be displayed on a single side.
  • operator=* - the company that operates the billboard.
  • message=* - gives indication on the type of message displayed.
  • ref=* - can be used to add a (e.g. registration) number, useful in some areas where a formal permit is required to set up advertising devices. There might be on each device a fixed plate which is inscribed the name of the company and the network to which it belongs (if any) and the registration number of the device.
  • orientation=* - orientation of the advertising device with respect to the flow of vehicles or passerby.
  • visibility=* - visibility of the advertising device.

Suggested combinations

In some cases it might be useful to have one or more of the following tags attached to further describe the advertising object.

  • brand=* - brand
  • width=* - the width of the advertising object. The width must rather be thought as the thickness.
  • informal=yes - can be added for advertising in areas where formal permit would be required but the object was mounted without this permit.
  • landmark=*
  • visibility=* - see amenity=clock
  • level=* - to define if the billboard is underground use -1 (i.e. for subway advertising)
  • doublesided=yes - to indicate that the advertising device has two faces. The use of sides=2 should be preferred.
  • direction=* - to indicate the orientation of the advertising device. The use of orientation=* is different, as it indicates the orientation of the advertising devices with respect to the flow of vehicles or passerby.


  • advertising=yes could be added for bus stops (amenity=bus_station) that have advertising on them (or with benches amenity=bench). But to be able to fully characterize the advertising device, it is preferable to add one OSM node on the transit shelter, and add advertising characteristics on this supplementary node.
  • Advertising is almost always commercial advertising, and cannot in that case be considered as an amenity. In some case, there exists specific boards to display opinions, or for free expression, or installed by municipalities for the use of non profit organizations. In these cases you can and should indicate it with the tags advertising=board + message=opinion;non_profit.

Software support

Contribution tools

Edition into JOSM

Edition into Web Application


This icone should appear with a large zoom: Pub panneau.p.32.png ([File:Panneau.svg Version SVG] from

Other icones suggestions for advertising billboards :

  • Advertising billboard on trunk: Billboard trunk.svg [File:Billboard_trunk.svg]
  • Advertising billboard on poles: Billboard legs.svg [File:Billboard_legs.svg]
  • Advertising billboard on wall: Billboard wall.svg [File:Billboard_wall.svg]
  • Advertising poster box: Poster box.svg [File:Poster_box.svg]
  • Advertising poster box on transit shelter: Poster box shelter.svg [File:Poster_box_shelter.svg]
  • Advertising column: Column.svg [File:Column.svg]
  • Advertising totem: Totem.svg [File:Totem.svg]
  • Advertising board: Board.svg [File:Board.svg]
  • Free advertising board: Board free.svg [File:Board_free.svg]
  • Indication board: Indication.svg [File:Indication.svg]
  • Political board: Political Board 3.svg [File:Political_Board_3.svg]
  • Flag: Flag advertising.svg [File:Flag_advertising.svg]

Possible tagging mistakes

If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!

See also