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Public-images-osm logo.svg Prefix not:*
Namespace for tags or features that are incorrect but likely to be re-added. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: annotations
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
Useful combination
See also
Status: in use
taginfo: not:*

information sign

This page describes a key prefix rather than a simple key.

This namespace is a way of saying "not to be confused with". Sometimes, a tag is incorrect, but if you simply remove the tag, another mapper may come along later on and add the tag back to the feature, thinking it was missing rather than deliberately removed. Similarly, a feature may not have ever existed in reality, but it may be easy for mappers to think it exists and map it repeatedly.

When to use

Reasons for using the not: namespace include:

  • A spelling error that over time has become well-established on signage and in day-to-day usage.
  • An error in a database that is used for imports, error detection, or validation checks against external linked sources such as OS Locator, Food Hygiene Rating System, or TIGER: way 19023746. See SK53's 2015 account of one such usage largely related to address data in multiple external open data sources.
  • A patch of pavement that looks like a building's rooftop in low-resolution aerial imagery: way 658082823 way 1013411876.
  • A sign in an unusual typeface or poor handwriting: node 3648453571.
  • A POI that is disguised as another kind of POI: node 4881063480.
  • An independent store that happens to have the same name as a chain store operating in the same region: way 165659335 node 1937573344.
  • An office or distribution warehouse belonging to a chain store that is not a retail location: way 30328141.
  • A full-service restaurant chain has a fast food location inside an airport: node 3287894020.
  • A POI's signs use Roman numerals that look like European numerals: way 371536228.
  • A POI's signs follow American livestock branding practices: way 659462130 is named "Kenning's Circle K", with the "Circle" being drawn around the K instead of spelled out.
  • A validator performs case and diacritic folding to check for misspelled names, but in some rare cases the case or diacritics are an important distinction.
  • A POI (e.x. store) with the same name as another store but isn't the brand of the other store

How to map

Add the not: prefix to any key to indicate that the value or values are incorrect. If the feature does not exist in reality but is likely to be readded, all the keys should have a not: prefix.

You can use source:not:* or note:not:* tags to explain the situation further. In cases where official sources are contradicted by signage, it may also help to establish the correct name by mapping the signage itself, using tags such as traffic_sign=* and advertising=sign.

Common tags under this namespace



  • If a name was in use but is no longer correct, old_name=* can accomplish the same purpose of preventing tagging regressions.
  • If a store used to exist but has since closed or moved somewhere else, use the disused:=* namespace.
  • If a feature used to exist but has been demolished, use the demolished:=* namespace instead.
  • For naming disputes, see Disputes and consider using alt_name=* and language-suffixed name tags to avoid POV issues.
  • Bugs in a validation or import tool should be reported to that tool's developers so they can be addressed systematically.

Software support

By their very nature, not:-prefixed keys are unlikely to ever be supported by general-purpose renderers and routers. However, not: keys may be useful for validation and analysis tools. For example, iD issues a warning when changing name=* to a value matching not:name=*, and it avoids suggesting brand=* and brand:wikidata=* tags that match not:brand:wikidata=*.

See also