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Public-images-osm logo.svg network
A system of routes (or bicycle rental stations) typically maintained or designated by a single agency or organization, or for bicycle and walking routes, an indication of the scope of the route. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: properties
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areas (and multipolygon relations)may be used on relations
Documented values: 300
See also
Status: de factoPage for proposal

The network key is used in several tagging schemes for a variety of purposes:

Highway routes

On highway route relations, this key indicates the highway system. Highway systems often have coherent numbering schemes. Some common values are listed at Relation:route#Road routes and Category:Tag descriptions for key "network". The exact format of network values varies by country.

Basic format

In many countries, the most common network values are XY:national and XY:regional, where XY is a two-letter ISO 3166-1 country code (preferably in capitals, to avoid confusions with language codes used in various tags). If there are multiple regional networks, they may follow the format XY:regional:region.


Hierarchical format

In some countries, network values for highway routes follow a hierarchical scheme. Colons separate components that may include, in order of importance, the country, region, district, network name, and auxiliary network name (see also modifier=*). Where available, use standard codes (such as those in ISO 3166-1 and ISO 3166-2) instead of spelled-out names. This scheme is well-suited to countries with multiple networks at the national, regional, or local level, such that there are multiple unrelated routes called "Regional Route 1" or the like.

As of November 2016, the hierarchical format is known to be used in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Italy, Slovenia, and the United States.



OpenStreetMap Americana uses the network=* key on route relations to display accurate route markers in over 50 countries and countless country subdivisions. It is hoped that the Standard tile layer will someday adopt network=*-based route shields as well.

Public transit

On route relations for bus, railway, and tram service routes, this key indicates the bus system, if applicable. There is currently no consensus whether the values should be abbreviated or not. It is an optional key for stops.

In the United States, it is common practice to use a commonly used abbreviation or other short name. Because names such as "RTA" and "Metro" are exceedingly common, the initialism of the transportation agency is often used instead to reduce ambiguity. For example, Cincinnati-area routes are tagged network=SORTA instead of network=Metro.

Some ambiguity is accepted: for example, there are features tagged network=VTA in the operating areas of both the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and the Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority, because neither organization is known by a more specific acronym.

More examples (common names in parentheses):

A number of transit systems in the United States are tagged using full network and operator names to minimize ambiguity. Not every network or operator has an acronym, and in denser areas with many overlapping networks using acronyms would impede legibility. This also harmonizes the operator tag with non-transit features, as it is common for a public works agency to operate both a pipeline network and a bus network for example. Consider using network:short=* and operator:short=* for abbreviations, adding wikidata tags for both the network and operator, and using full names for network=* and operator=* to make this information easier to parse and less likely to cause confusion. Under this method, operator names can still be kept precise by using the most specific agency name applicable. For example, "MDOT Maryland Transit Administration" would not be inaccurate as MDOT (Maryland Department of Transportation) is the parent agency of the Maryland Transit Administration, but there is no need to include the parent MDOT abbreviation as this information can be elaborated on in the wiki data item. Below is one example of a network that is tagged using full names:

Public transport stops can have multiple operators and be part of several networks, especially in areas near borders. Use the semi-colon value separator, e.g. network=DLVB;TECB.

Some public transit networks use network:wikidata=* or network=* tags prefixed with a country or region code for better disambiguation:

This method has also been used with amenity=vending_machine + vending=public_transport_tickets

Bicycle, hiking and other recreational routes

On route relations tagged with type=route and route=bicycle, route=hiking, route=foot, route=horse, route=canoe, route=motorboat, route=inline_skates or route=mtb, this key indicates the scope of the route. For example, a national cycling network is network=ncn while a national hiking trail network is network=nwn. See Cycle routes and Walking routes for lists of possible values.

Due to the use of generic "lcn", "rcn", "ncn", and "icn" network values in cycle route relations, a cycle_network=* tag is also in use in places that require more granular network distinctions, such as in the United States.

The additional tag network:type=node_network is in use in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany to indicate that the route relation is part of a node network, i.e. a network of numbered junctions connected by node2node routes.


In conjunction with amenity=bicycle_rental or amenity=atm or amenity=charging_station, this key identifies an organization or brand that operates a similar amenity in various other locations. For example, a bicycle rental station in London may belong to the "tfl_cycle_hire" network. An ATM may belong to a network shared among many banks. Or a car sharing station may be part of a network where different operators allow customers to use any station in the network.

Other uses

This key is also used in the following proposals: