Lifecycle prefix

From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The lifecycle/status namespace prefix can be used to tag objects with a status such as proposed, planned, construction, disused, abandoned, demolished, historic. See also Comparison of life cycle concepts.

For example: disused:amenity=pub
Also: construction:amenity=parking, proposed:lanes=2, abandoned:railway=narrow_gauge

By using this key prefix it is ensured that current or legacy applications are not confused by objects which do not exist or are not fully functional and only software aware of this tagging concept will evaluate those.

See also date namespace for a related proposal to include dates for historic tags, for example name:-1965=Kings Place. The two possibilities can be combined to some extent.

No longer existing objects may be marked as existing it other sources. For example demolished building may be visible on aerial images, official maps may include now dried up wetland etc. Using lifecycle prefixes it is possible to clearly mark that specific object must not be remapped without proper verification.

Historic objects with no relevance to current state of an object generally do not belong in OpenStreetMap

How to tag

Add a namespace prefix (for example "disused:") to all keys which are no longer relevant to the current state of an object. You should treat all the tags on an object as a set of facts about the object, and prefix the keys of those facts which are no longer true as a result of the disuse. For example, a concrete parking area which is no longer used for parking cars but which still carries a name sign might be tagged as

name=West Plain Car Park

which makes it unavailable to programs which search parking, and unlikely to be displayed as parking in any default rendering. The name is still relevant, and will still be searchable. If the area is opened up again, it's a simple matter to undo the prefixing.

Common lifecycle prefixes in chronological order

Stages of birth

  • proposed:
Planned, with a high likelihood of being constructed
usage: ~40,000 in taginfo as of 09/2019
See also scheme proposed=* in combination with highway=proposed, railway=proposed, aeroway=proposed, etc...
  • planned:
As of 07/2015 considered a duplicate of proposed. It is considered defining this as a stricter proposed: — the planned feature should be approved and funded.
usage: ~3,600 in taginfo as of 09/2019
  • construction:
Being constructed at this time
usage: ~26,000 in taginfo as of 09/2019
See also scheme construction=* in combination with building=construction, highway=construction, landuse=construction, railway=construction, etc...

Stages of decay

Not currently available for use, but could be reinstated easily
usage: ~120,000 in taginfo as of 09/2019
Still visible but fallen into serious disrepair and which could only be put back into operation with considerable effort
usage: ~210,000 in taginfo as of 09/2019

Actively removed

Demolished features, for example demolished:building=*.
usage: ~24,000 in taginfo as of 09/2019
Features that do not exist anymore because they have been removed
usage: ~24,000 in taginfo as of 09/2019
Most frequently used are removed:power=*, removed:building=* and removed:design=* (removed overhead power lines and towers)
Features that have been completely removed
usage: ~12,000 in taginfo as of 09/2019
Most frequently used are razed:railway=*, razed:building=*


  • was:
Not what it used to be (might not exist anymore)
usage: ~35,000 in taginfo as of 09/2019

Less common prefix values

Stages of decay

Only ruins are remaining of this object. Same as or similar to ruined:. (Please discuss which might be better).
usage: ~1,900 in taginfo as of 09/2019
Object is in ruins, same or similar as ruins: - see above.
usage: ~280 in taginfo as of 09/2019
  • destroyed:
Similar to demolished:, but destructed by any cause other than intentional demolition.
usage: ~950 in taginfo as of 09/2019
  • closed:
Duplicate of disused:, used for closed businesses (e.g. shops, restaurants, offices, banks)
usage: ~600 in taginfo as of 09/2019


  • historic:
Misleading because of inconsistent use. While someone tried to establish the concept of "a previously valid characteristic for an object that has different properties today", this never actually got accepted and this prefix is used for various other things in an inconsistent manner. Most used as historic:civilization=*, historic:period=*, historic:railway=* and historic:some railway property, further as historic:year:* (similar to the date namespace) and some other ways - Not recommended for lifecycle tagging. Please document whatever you use or find
usage: 7,500 in taginfo as of 09/2019
  • former:
possible duplicate of was.
usage: ~300 in taginfo as of 09/2019


Not to be confused with. Incorrect tags or nonexistent features that are likely to be re-added by an armchair mapper, import conflation tool, editor, or other automated system, due to outdated imagery, inaccurate import sources, or other sources of confusion.
usage: ~17,000 in taginfo as of 09/2019


Image Tagging Description
Closed down shop.jpg disused:shop=yes A closed-down shop of some sort. If the type of shop it used to be is known, substitute the appropriate value from Key:shop for "yes".
Disused-or-abandoned-pub.jpg disused:amenity=pub
disused:operator=The Oxford Pub Company
name=Fox & Hounds
Boarded-up disused public house. It no longer has an operator as such - no beer is sold - but the name is still useful for navigation.
Weiche der ehemaligen Bahnstrecke Herzberg–Siebertal.jpg railway=disused
Historic railway line. Tracks not degraded but overgrown.
Taplow - fGWR 165103 up train.JPG electrified=no
Railway line with electrification works in progress.
Leisurepitchdisused.png disused:leisure=pitch Disused pitch, now somewhat overgrown.
Ende Gelände 2017 CHB 23 (cropped).jpg objects that were were before open pit mine are not tagged Open pit mine. Forest that used to be here must not be tagged in any way, as no trace of it remains.
Daewoo-FSO Polonez Atu Plus on Zygmunta Krasińskiego avenue in Kraków (1).jpg railway is not tagged Place where railway existed in the past. It must not be tagged in any way, as no trace of it remains.

See also

  • start_date=* date of when a feature opened or construction of the feature finished.
  • end_date=* date of when a feature is planned to go out of use, or when it went out of service.