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Available languages — Key:network
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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. Edit or translate this description.
Group: Properties
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysuse on areas unspecifiedmay be used on relations
Documented values: 187
See also
Status: approved

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.


India uses a variation of this format that abbreviates each component of the value. For example, network=IN:SH:UP is for state highways in Uttar Pradesh.

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 "Regional Route 1"s or the like.

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



The OpenStreetMap Foundation's United States chapter hosts a Shield Renderer, based on the Standard stylesheet, that displays accurate route markers based on the network key on route relations. There is a summary of supported networks, and you can help add support for additional networks (see the README). It is hoped that the Standard stylesheet will someday adopt network-based route shields.

Public transit routes

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.

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):

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

Bicycle and hiking routes

On route relations tagged with type=route and route=bicycle or route=hiking, 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.


In conjunction with amenity=bicycle_rental or amenity=atm, 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: