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Public-images-osm logo.svg obstacle
Obstacle-Dense vegetation.JPG
Obstacle. Edit or translate this description.
Group: Properties
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasmay be used on relations
Useful combination
See also


Status: in use

The goal of this tag is to mark obstacles which are not derived from the properties of the road (surface, material, width, etc.) but from its environment or local properties; similarly, marks places where a way (most often waterways) have environmental obstacles. This tag can be used in a navigation application to avoid areas or use parts of the road with lower priorities when calculate routes, similarly to bumps, ferries or non-free roads, but it can be used on paths for non-vehicles.

This tag is being used by HOT.


This key has been proposed, but the most frequently used values are not covered by the proposal. Please help document what these values mean and where they come from.

General Use

Values as of 2015-06-15 according to taginfo
Value Usage Count Meaning Alternatives Ways Project Image
vegetation node


221 Movement on route is hard due to the vegetation (shubs, dense grass, nettle, lianas etc.), movement is significantly slowed down or you have to move carefully. highway General
Obstacle-Dense vegetation.JPG
yes node way 117 undefined (or "other") environmental factors make moving on the route difficult use a more specific tag highway General
fallen_tree node 124 There is a big fallen tree that completely hinders passability, and you only can continue the path if you cross the tree (cross it above or below). See #fallen_tree below. highway General
Obstacle-Fallen tree.JPG
unevenness way node 33 To follow the trail you must use hands and it cannot be avoided. see discussion highway General
precipice node way 17 There is an important precipice alongside the trail (at least one side) that your eyes can't avoid see if you look forward and you see the falling. There are a minimal risk of falling, but it's an important difficulty for people with dizziness. You can't move over away from the precipice and take out it of your visual field. highway General
Obstacle-Path with precipice.JPG
heap node 10 There is a large heap of material (soil, rock pile, rubbish heap, etc.) making the movement difficult. highway General
hole node 10 There is a large hole or holes on the road making the movement difficult or dangerous by smaller vehicles. highway General

OpenSeaMap use (obsolete)

Values as of 2015-06-15 according to taginfo
Value Usage Count Meaning Alternatives Ways Project Image
bridge 2320 (Old tagging scheme not used by OpenSeaMap) bridge=* waterway OpenSeaMap
lock 695 (Old tagging scheme not used by OpenSeaMap) lock=*, waterway=lock_gate waterway OpenSeaMap
? (Old tagging scheme not used by OpenSeaMap) barrier=* + access=no
line 476 (Old tagging scheme not used by OpenSeaMap) ? waterway OpenSeaMap
ferry ? 44 (Old tagging scheme not used by OpenSeaMap) route=ferry waterway OpenSeaMap
drawbridge 24 (Old tagging scheme not used by OpenSeaMap) bridge:movable=drawbridge waterway OpenSeaMap
tunnel 24 (Old tagging scheme not used by OpenSeaMap) tunnel=* waterway OpenSeaMap

Specific tagging

If the obstacle is specific to a vehicle or usage:

What usage Key
Sinnbild Fußgänger.svg Pedestrians obstacle:foot=*
Wheelchair symbol.svg Wheelchair obstacle:wheelchair=*
Sinnbild Radfahrer, StVO 1992.svg Bicycle obstacle:bicycle=*
Sinnbild Kraftrad.svg Motorbike obstacle:motorcycle=*
Sinnbild Reiter, StVO 1992.svg Riders obstacle:horse=*
Sinnbild PKW.svg Cars obstacle:motorcar=*
Sinnbild LKW.svg Heavy goods vehicles obstacle:hgv=*
Sinnbild Fußgänger.svg Pedestrians are not affected obstacle=fallen_tree + obstacle:foot=no


If you use the obstacle=* you can give more details about it by using

Key Value
obstacle_description=* The short and precise description of the obstacle (eg. "nettle", "dug hole", "rubbish" [heap])

Seasonal obstacle

In case mainly of vegetation it's possible that the obstacle only exists in summer and marking it seasonal doesn't really give much information to the tagging. Despite this some people prefer to show that the obstacle is known to be non-existant periodically:

Key Value
seasonal:obstacle=yes The obstacle isn't permanent (see seasonal=*)

Related tags

Specific cases

The obstacles are most often points so you should use them on a way node. When an obstacle is larger than approximately 5 meters (this is usually the lower bound of GPS sensitivity) you may use it on a way or area, but this preferably should be avoided.

Fallen tree

Fallen trees are almost always nodes, unless it is a way continuously covered by large amounts of fallen trees (like a not cleaned narrow valley road). When a tree crosses multiple ways use multiple way nodes instead of a "tree way" line; if it's a tree which could be used as a way please use highway=path + surface=wood instead. Do not use this tagging on "fresh" or "temporary" fallen trees; if a tree is visibly there for years or you reasonably expect it to stay there for years to come then tag it, but try not to tag trees which will be cleaned up (or cut) soon.

Hole and heap

These are usually nodes. It is possible that a large hole or heap have a size beyond 5 meters and could be tagged on a way; avoid tagging it as an area because it would make it nearly impossible to use for navigational applications. (A 10 meter hole or heap technically make the road disappear and people usually expected to go around it, creating a new path without hole or heap.)