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Public-images-osm logo.svg highway = street_lamp
2014 Kłodzko, ul. Grottgera 14.JPG
A single pole with one or more lights to illuminate the street. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: highways
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Useful combination
See also
Status: de facto

The tag highway=street_lamp is used to map a street light, lamppost, street lamp, light standard, or lamp standard: a raised source of light above a road, which is turned on or lit at night.

How to map

Add a node at the point where the light source is actually positioned (i.e. next to the way lit).

The tag highway=street_lamp is used on node nodes only.

  • node highway=street_lamp
  • node ref=* If the street lamps carry numbers intended to help identifying points on the road. For instance, in some places you could call the police and say that there has been a major car-crash on Big Street, southbound at light pole 35, and the police will know precisely where that is. Those identifiers could also be used for reporting broken light bulbs or issuing permissions to hang posters from certain lampposts.
  • node lamp_ref_swd=* Düsseldorf city only tag for lamp numbers that are not used for navigation, see below.

Consider also using lit=yes on the street or other feature that is illuminated by the street lamp. Unless the lamp is a spotlight or floodlight, it may be unclear exactly where along the street the light diminishes enough that the street would be considered unlit, but the lit=yes segment would at least extend as far as the series of street lamps along the street. lit_by_gaslight=yes is also used in some cities to indicate that a roadway is lit by gaslight specifically.

Typical attributes

Note that these attributes were not voted on, but are used.

Key Values
support=* How the light element is placed. Examples:
  • ceiling – Direct attachment to a ceiling (common locations: tunnels).
  • ground – The lamp is in a fixture installed right in the ground (common locations: event venues or parks).
  • pedestal – Something like a bollard, rarely larger than 1.5 meter.
  • pole – Most commonly a wooden/metal pole, almost always higher than 2 meters.
  • wall – Direct attachment to a wall.
  • wall_mounted – Attached to a wall by way of a metal bar (or other construction).
  • wire – Suspended over the road etc. and held by wires/cables, the latter of which are attached somewhere (poles/walls).
lamp_mount=* If support=pole, then:
  • straight_mast – The light sits atop a (straight) mast.
  • bent_mast – The light is at the end of a bent mast.
  • angled_mast – A pole that starts out straight but then is (usually 90°) angled.
  • high_mast – A tall pole (greater than 30 m) with lighting mounted at the top.

Other values used (with redundancy to support values):

  • suspended – The light is suspended over the street by a wire.
  • wall – The light is attached to a wall.
lamp_type=* (or less popular light:method=*):
  • electric – undetailed electric
    • LED – Light-emitting diode(s). Be wary that a tightly-spaced LED array behind a matte screen may appear the same as a fluorescent tube behind a matte screen.
    • incandescent – Electric light with a wire filament heated until it glows
      • (key not defined) – Tungsten filament
      • halogen – Tungsten halogen
    • discharge – Unspecified discharge lamp
      • mercury – High pressure mercury vapour lamp
      • metal-halide – High pressure metal-halide vapour lamp
      • fluorescent – Low pressure mercury fluorescent tubes (includes CFL/Compact Fluorescent Light)
      • sodium – Unspecified sodium vapour lamp
        • low_pressure_sodium – Monochrome orange light
        • high_pressure_sodium – Orange with a bit of white
  • gas
light:colour=* Unless a lamp is specifically a decorative light, municipal street lighting will present itself almost exclusively to be either orange (sodium) or white (everything else) and any discolourations are either due to lamp ageing, accumulation of dirt, or variations in chosen colour temperature.
light:count=* Number of lights on a pole. (As for LED lamps, the modules are counted, not the individual diodes.)
light:lit=* Time of day that the light is turned on.
  • 24/7 – All the time
  • dusk-dawn – Automatic based on clock or outdoor brightness sensed at some central location
  • motion – Controlled by a motion sensor
  • demand – Manually operated
  • or use opening_hours=* syntax
light:shape=* Determines the shape of the lamp.
  • directed – Emits light in a specific direction
  • spherical – A sphere that emits light in all directions (usually implies absence of light:direction)
  • cylindrical – A lamp that shines light in all horizontal directions
light:tilt=* -90 for pointing onto the street/pavement, 0 for sideways, 90 for pointing upwards, and anything in between
light:direction=* Numerical map direction, assuming there's a single light (0=north, 90=east, etc.) the light points to
lamp_model=* Type or make/model of the lamp (enclosure)
manufacturer=* Manufacturer of the lamp (enclosure)
model=* Model of the lamp (enclosure)
light:model=* Type (make/model) of the “bulb”
ref=* The reference number used by the operator (such as the county council), typically indicated by a sign stuck to the support

Variations (not currently tagged)

The suspending is commonly done by placing the lamp on top of a pole at the edge of a road or between lanes. Lamps may be mounted on the middle of a roadside power pole instead of a dedicated pole, although the latter may support low voltage power lines (power=minor_line) for electricity supply for the lamps. Another common scheme is to have the poles hold up a suspended carrying wire from which the lamp(s) hang.

In cities, the existing buildings sometimes replace the poles in either scheme. Occasionally, street lamps are attached to other structures of convenient height, such as bridges or road signs.

The mechanism and procedures for turning off and on street lamps vary a lot. Common schemes include turning them on/off at fixed times using a clock, turning them on/off a fixed interval from sunset/sunrise using a more complex clock, turning them on based on a light sensor (which tends to also turn them on in some weather conditions) and turning them off again late at night when there is less traffic. Some schemes also involve only turning on every second street lamp some of the time.


Street lighting in Göttingen differentiated by lamp type (sodium, CFL, LED and other)

Regional variations

Some cities have unique street lighting systems. See their respective pages for local tagging suggestions:

  • Cincinnati (traffic island lights or turtle lamps)


Currently there is a project to map all gaslighted way streets and all gaslight node lanterns in the town of Düsseldorf. See: Düsseldorf/Projekte/Gaslaternen

(Many of these tags may also be applicable to electrical lamps, though no general scheme has been defined)

See also

  • tower:type=lighting – Poles for lighting, floodlighting columns
  • Proposed features/lamp (abandoned) – More flexible tagging of lamps, including street lamps
  • light_source=* – More generic tag for light sources (including street lamps)
  • operator=*: "If the vast majority of a certain object in an area is operated by a certain organisation and only very few by others, then it may be sufficient to only tag the exceptions."