|Feature : Landuse|
|Land use describes the human use of land, for example fields, pastures, and settlements.|
This page provides an overview of landuse definition and tagging. See landuse=* for the equally named key.
Land use is the human use of land. Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness into built environment such as fields, pastures, and settlements, also military, leisure and transportation.
This concept is distinct from 'Landcover' which describes the actual surface covering of the land; the landuse might be 'military', but the landcover might be heathland. OpenStreetMap tags do not always make this distinction as clear as it could, and in some situations concepts appear blurred.
Some of the amenity=*, leisure=* and tourism=* tags are also used to describe more details landuse. In some cases these more detailed uses may be the main landuse tag, in others it may provide supplementary information. For example a leisure=park tag may be used to describe a park within a landuse=residential area, or for a very large park may be the primary landuse.
The following table is very much 'work in progress'. Click on the symbols in the headings to sort the tables in different ways. Note however that there is an ongoing discussion on how to tag landuse and landcover (see Proposed features/highway, Landcover proposal and Land use and areas of natural land):
|Aerodrome (airport)||Other||aeroway=aerodrome and optional landuse=military if appropriate, or aerodrome=military|
|Beach||Natural or Built environment||natural=beach. leisure=beach_resort describes a feature at the beach.|
|Cemetery||Built environment rarely also Natural||landuse=cemetery|
|Farm land||Agriculture||landuse=farmland and landuse=farmyard|
|Forestry||Agriculture||landuse=forest. For areas with a high density of trees primarily grown for timber. See section about problematic values.|
|Garages||Built environment||landuse=garages (often within landuse=residential).|
|Grazing||Agriculture||For pasture used for grazing animals or for hay or silage for animals consider landuse=meadow. For other uses of grass consider using surface=grass and see Landcover.|
|Greenfield||Built environment||landuse=greenfield is used to describe land that has been scheduled for some sort of construction.|
|Highways||Built environment||No approved tag at present, but there is a proposal to use landuse=highway for the purpose.|
|Military||Military||landuse=military, and optionally also military=naval_base, military=range, military=danger_area and military=barracks. For military aerodrome use aeroway=aerodrome and aerodrome=military or military=airfield.|
|Nature reserve||Leisure||leisure=nature_reserve. See also boundary=protected_area and the discussion about terms (International consistency)|
|Park||Leisure||leisure=park (for smaller parks to be part of landuse=residential.|
|Recreation ground||Built environment||landuse=recreation_ground|
|Reservoir||Other||landuse=reservoir or man_made=reservoir_covered or newer tagging natural=water + water=reservoir|
|School||Built environment||amenity=school. Often with a landuse=residential area.|
|University||Built environment||amenity=university. Possibly included within a broader landuse category.|
|Waste water treatment||Other||man_made=wastewater_plant|
Problematic key:landuse values
For following landuse tags are not actually related to landuse or are often used for other purposes.
|Grass||landuse=grass does not describe a land use, it describes a Landcover.|
|Basin||landuse=basin does not describe a land use, it describes a water feature - unless you use it as a land use - that is, tag the area used as a basin, not just that normally covered by water.|
|Forest||landuse=forest is hard to distinguish from natural=wood, because almost every wood on Earth is exploited by humans in some way, and you don't know for sure in advance whether wood will be harvested and both are de facto used to mark areas covered with trees. See Forest for more details. Simplest would be to tag the Landcover landcover=trees, this simply says there are trees in this area but this tag is rarely used.|
Mapping as nodes
Landuse by its nature is an area, but if it is not feasible to map features as an area it is OK to map landuse as node and update it to area once possible. It is typically because both aerial and GPS traces of shape are unavailable. For example it is preferable to map landuse=cemetery as node rather than not mapping it at all.