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Public-images-osm logo.svg operator
Osm element key.svg
Сompany, corporation, person or any other entity who is directly in charge of the current operation of a map object Edit or translate this description.
Group: Properties
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areasmay be used on relations
Documented values: 8
Useful combination
See also
Status: in use

The operator tag is used to name a company, corporation, person or any other entity who is directly in charge of the current operation of a map object.

When choosing the appropriate value for the operator=* tag, it is beneficial to use exactly the same text including capitalization across all entities managed by the same structure. Please refer to taginfo, or the title of the associated Wikipedia article for the organization as a starting point.

If the vast majority of a certain object in an area is operated by a certain organization and only very few by others then it may be sufficient to only tag the exceptions.
For example, when nearly all roads in an area are managed by a local authority then it would be sufficient to only tag those that are not with an operator tag.

Owner or brand name aren't necessarily the operator

An operator isn't necessarily the owner of the map feature. Many chains (store, restaurants...) use a franchise system, where the brand does not operate the point-of-presence.
For example, a lot of transport and communication networks had been built by public administrations and are now operated by private companies.
Another is in the Philippines, most transmission lines or their portions and other transmission-related facilities were or originally commissioned by government-owned National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR), while others by National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) and National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). Transmission facilities were once operated and maintained by the Philippine government through NAPOCOR and TransCo and are now operated by privately-owned NGCP through its 50-year franchise. NGCP may temporarily own the facilities as shown on danger plate stickers or signs placed on some poles or towers commissioned or reused by NGCP (such as steel poles 228-254; 257-265; 268-289 of Hermosa-Duhat-Balintawak transmission line along San Simon-Pulilan segment of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX)), but in accordance with Section 8 of EPIRA law, actual ownership still remains with the national government through TransCo.
Be sure to use this tag according to this criteria.


Fast food

Subway is one of the biggest franchise system in the US.

  • name=Subway
  • brand=Subway (The name of the chain, as displayed to customers)
  • branch=Paris Notre-Dame
  • operator=Some company (The company operating the restaurant. Usually visible on bills)


Some amenities are directly managed by the company having the brand name.

  • tourism=hotel
  • name=Le Méridien (the name of the hotel)
  • operator=Le Méridien (the name of the company that manages the hotel, and which maybe manage other hotels too).
  • brand=Le Méridien (The name of the chain, as displayed to customers)
  • branch=Piccadilly

Sometimes, it's more complicated. In this example; the company that manages the hotel is not the same company that owns the building. In other cases; there is another party between the owner and management company that rents or leases the building.

Postal Services

Due to the emerging of private postal service providers, it may be useful for map readers to know which postal services provider operates a certain amenity=post_box.
In Germany there are already some private companies like PIN or Stadtbrief who install their own post boxes. Who wants to ship a letter has to choose the post box of "his" postal service provider ?


Other examples are pubs, restaurants and hotel chains, maybe also streets maintained by private companies where a fee is required.