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Public-images-osm logo.svg name:left
Name-left-right-OSM example Adams-Jay County Border Indiana USA.png
For way objects, names can differ by side of the object. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: names
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Useful combination
Status: de facto

This key indicates the name of a linear object on its left side, as opposed to its right side. Typically, this applies to a road or waterway that forms a boundary.[1]

How to tag

Use the name:left=* and name:right=* tags to name both sides separately (using the direction of the way to determine left and right). The name=* tag can still include both names in order to support different tools.

For example, way Leopold Luypaertstraat / Borghtstraat is tagged:

Multilingual names

The key can also be combined with the language suffix name:left:xx=* with xx being the ISO code of the language. See: Multilingual names.

For example, way Komenstraat - Chemin des Quatre Rois is tagged:

Direction of travel

name:left=* and name:right=* were originally designed for renderers, which would offset a label to the left or right of a line. However, routers need to associate each name with a direction of travel, so that the user will see the correct name when traveling in one direction along the roadway. The meaning of name:left=* and name:right=* is not as obvious to a router, because the driving side differs from one region to another and based on driving_side=*. To accommodate this use case, name:left=* and name:right=* are sometimes paired with name:forward=* and name:backward=*, by analogy with many other keys like maxspeed:forward=*, turn:lanes:forward=*, and ref:forward=* that are well supported by routers. [1] (The Valhalla-based Mapbox Directions API supports name:forward=* and name:backward=*.)


  • A street is on the boundary between Belgium and the Netherlands. Belgium gives it the name "Amsterdamsestraat" and the Netherlands gives it the name "Brusselsestraat".
  • In New York City, this street is Ruby Street in Brooklyn on one side and 75th Street in Queens on the other side, which is not to be confused with 75th Street in Brooklyn. To keep a geocoder from returning the wrong 75th Street when looking for the one in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn–Queens boundary should line up exactly with the street.
  • In Hamilton County, Ohio, the corporation line between Cincinnati and Norwood legally follows the centerline of two intersecting streets that have different names on either side of the street. This street is Tennessee Avenue in Cincinnati and Ross Avenue in Norwood, while this street is Rhode Island Avenue in Cincinnati and Section Avenue in Norwood. But Section also refers to a different street in Cincinnati and a third neighboring municipality, Amberley Village.[2]

Notes and references

  1. Historically, name:left=* and name:right=* were also added to boundary=administrative ways. However, this usage has been replaced by boundary=administrative relations. Nowadays, you can safely remove name:left=* and name:right=* from a way that is already a member of a boundary=administrative relation.
  2. Hunter, Ginny (September 20, 1984). “Town & country: Getting prepared for any disaster; Street sense; Zoo view; Loss for parks”. The Cincinnati Post. p. 11B.