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Public-images-osm logo.svg smoothness
Jena Track roots.jpg
Specifies the physical usability of a way for wheeled vehicles due to surface regularity/flatness Edit this description in the wiki page. Edit this description in the data item.
Group: Properties
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areasuse on relations unspecified
Useful combination
Status: approvedPage for proposal


smoothness provides a classification scheme regarding the physical usability of a way for wheeled vehicles, particularly regarding surface regularity/flatness. Usability by a particular type of vehicle means that the vehicle can traverse the route without significant risk of damage (e.g., to vehicle undercarriage/drivetrain) or injury (e.g., by falling). The tag can be applied to all driveable ways and areas: highway=*, parking areas, beaches, etc.

tracktype=* is also an important surface property and refers to surface firmness, regardless of shape.

surface=* refers to surface material and sometimes to material structure. It may suggest a surface smoothness sometimes, but because the same surface material/structure can exhibit various shapes, it is still advisable to add smoothness=*.



Key Value Element Usable by Rendering Photo
smoothness excellent way area (thin_rollers) roller blade, skate board and all below 65 Asfaltado de calles (12523687353).jpg
smoothness good way area (thin_wheels) racing bike and all below Spring in Bystroistokskiy district of Altai Krai Russia 06.JPG
smoothness intermediate way area (wheels) city bike, sport cars, wheel chair, Scooter and all below Chipnseal.jpg
smoothness bad way area (robust_wheels) trekking bike, normal cars, Rickshaw and all below Smoothnessverybad.jpg
smoothness very_bad way area (high_clearance) Car with high clearance, light-duty off road vehicles Mountain-track1.jpg
smoothness horrible way area (off_road_wheels) heavy-duty off road vehicles and all below Jena Trackexample profile.jpg
smoothness very_horrible way area (specialized_off_road_wheels) tractor, ATV, tanks, trial, Mountain bike and all kind of off-highway vehicles (see also mtb:scale=*) Mountain-track5.jpg
smoothness impassable way area No wheeled vehicle Ben Nevis Mountain Track.jpg

Please note: Photos are examples ONLY ! Because the smoothness of a way should be assessed solely based on whether the way is usable by the vehicles mentioned above. This is my whole point: as a user of a certain road or path I am only interested whether I can drive on this road or not. This table is a wiki template with a default description in English. Editable here.


This tag isn't in use on the renderers at, but Hiking/openhikingmap and the Motorcycle map of Romania are using "surface" and "smoothness" to depict real state of roads.

In developing countries, the HDM model is using some values of smoothness=* to help define road quality.


It is clear from discussion on the mailing lists that a major part of the community does not like this key, based on the guideline of Verifiability. Please have a look at the discussion page and the mailing-list (thread starting at [1], contiued at [2]) and make up your own mind. As always on OSM you are free to use the keys you like in the way you like! Use the page Talk:Proposed features/Smoothness for the controversy details. Please help improving the tagging of roads by posting constructive comments to Proposed_features/surface_unification.

  • The key could be made more verifiable changing the values to thin_rollers, thin_wheels, wheels, robust_wheels, high_clearance, off_road_wheels and specialized_off_road_wheels.

See also