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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
Status: discardable

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.

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 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)