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Public-images-osm logo.svg changeset | key: created_by
Created by JOSM 15 6115 de.png
Tag representing editor or script which created the changeset.
Group: changeset
Used on:
may be used on changesets
Status on changesets:
de facto

This tag is used to describe the computer program (editor or script) which made the changes', similar to a  user agent in the HTTP headers. It is automatically added by editors to a saved changeset, see also a list of other changeset tags Changeset#Tags on changesets / Proposed features/changeset tags. It was also automatically added by editors to individual elements during beginning of OSM, see #History.

As entity key

Public-images-osm logo.svg created_by
Created by JOSM 15 6115 de.png
Tag representing editor/script which created/(edited) this item. Edit this description in the wiki page. Edit this description in the data item.
Group: annotations
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesshould not be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)may be used on changesets
Status: discardable

It should no longer be added to individual elements, i.e. nodes, ways, or relations. Like other discardable tags, it is automatically removed by many editors. A chronological chart of the of created_by item amounts can be found here.


Prior to version 0.6 of the API the created_by=* tag was applied to individual objects (nodes, ways and relations and even segments in earlier protocol versions). However, with the introduction of changesets to provide non-geographic "meta data" it makes more sense for the created_by tag to be recorded there. The number of nodes, ways or relations that still have a created_by tag is slowly decreasing, since this key is silently dropped by OSM editors like JOSM, iD, Potlatch, Potlatch2 when objects get modified.


Guidance to users

  • You should not edit this value to record your own name. Your user name will be recorded anyway (and in addition) automatically on upload.
  • You should not remove the created_by tag on objects you are not otherwise modifying. If we wanted to remove them in bulk we'd do it some other way.
  • You may remove the created_by tag on nodes/ways/relations that you are modifying in a changeset anyway. This is what JOSM, iD, Potlatch, Potlatch2 and some other editors do automatically.
  • You may use the created_by tag as an indicator for objects that have not been edited for a long time and could use a review.[1]

Guidance to software developers

The guidance to users plus:

  • You should record a created_by tag on a changeset when saving changes
  • The created_by tag may contain a revision number, version number or similar. This helps people track down problems if a version of your editor/script has a bug in it.
    • Alternatively, potlatch2 splits information into created_by, version and build tags.
  • You should not add or update the created_by tag on nodes/ways/relations.
  • You can remove it silently on edited elements and hide this tag from mappers - it is widely accepted as discardable
  • For translation QA : please add the 'language' version (like: de,en,es,it,hu)