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Public-images-osm logo.svg embankment
A raised bank to carry a road, railway, or canal across a low-lying or wet area. Edit or translate this description.
Group: Properties
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Status: de facto


In transportation an embankment is a raised bank to carry a road, railway, or canal across a low-lying or wet area. If this low-lying area is permanently or tidally flooded, then the raised bank is called a causeway.

For embankments not associated with transportation, see man_made=embankment. For an artificial bank to redirect or prevent flooding by a river, lake or sea, see also man_made=dyke


Add embankment=yes to a way that is already tagged with a highway=*, railway=* or waterway=* tag.

When micro-mapping, you can also draw two parallel ways and add man_made=embankment to both. See below.

Unlike bridges a layer tag is rarely needed for embankments and should not be used without a good reason.


Single line embankments

Embankments that share a way with a highway, railway or waterway should be rendered with "spikes" on both sides. (Currently only in Osmarender, which is no longer maintained.)

Micro-mapped embankments

These embankments should be rendered with the left-hand side of the way being the high side and the right-hand side being the low side. (Supported by OSM Carto, but only for non-closed ways that are tagged with man_made=embankment, not for those tagged with embankment=yes.)

  • To represent a raised finger of land (as in the illustration): draw two ways bordering the raised land, each tagged man_made=embankment and going in opposite directions.
  • To present a banked enclosure (such as an iron-age hill fort): draw two ways with the outer way travelling anticlockwise and the inner way clockwise. Additional ways can be used to present ditches, scarps, aprons and terraces in large sites. Note that if a closed way is drawn without two breaks (creating two separate but connected ways) then it will be interpreted as an area and not displayed in the Standard layer.


See also