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Public-images-osm logo.svg ref:GB:usrn
Unique Street Reference Number (USRN), the public sector mandated unique identifier for every street in the United Kingdom. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: references
URL pattern$1
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Status: approvedPage for proposal

The Unique Street Reference Number (USRN) is the public sector mandated[1] unique identifier for every street in the United Kingdom.[2]


Map USRNs in the same way that you map other details associated with streets. In practice this means adding the tag to a feature with a highway=* tag.

The important part is that the ref:GB:usrn=* tag is clearly associated with the feature it relates to in the original database of USRN entries.

OS Open USRN contains four different types of USRN record:

  • Designated Street Name
  • Numbered Street
  • Officially Described Street
  • Unofficial Street Name

External discussions

Known discussions:

  • On talk-gb at several points during 2020.
  • At a State of the Map 2020 online workshop.

Further reading

Custodians working for relevant authorities are responsible for assigning an 8-digit USRN to every street, road, track, path, cycle track or cycle way in their area.

The relevance of USRNs is that they can be linked to other identifiers such the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) and the OS Master Map TOpographic IDentifier (TOID). In this way, various spatially linked data sources are used in Great Britain by Ordnance Survey to provide their address products. The Government Digital Service has also mandated the USRN as the public sector standard for referencing and sharing street information (although this may be for England & Wales or GB only).

Blocks of sequential USRN values are allocated to gazetteer custodians in England and Wales by GeoPlace. In Scotland, the allocation of blocks of USRNs is carried out by the Improvement Service. In Northern Ireland, USRNs are the responsibility of the Department for Infrastructure (Northern Ireland). Use of the USRN may[3] also extend to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, in the same way that the UPRN extends to these territories. This proposal is intentionally silent on those island territories, in part because no data source is known, but also because local mappers may wish to use their local ISO codes (IM, GG and JE) in place of the GB ISO code for United Kingdom.

As of July 2020 the USRN data for England and Wales is now available as Open Data under the Open Government Licence.


There is a WMS tile layer that can be added to OpenStreetMap editors. Instructions for adding this layer to JOSM are available.

See also

The USRN is discussed in more detail at:

  1. As mandated by the Government Digital Service (this may be for GB only)
  2. As described by GeoPlace.
  3. Confirmation required