Malaysia/Other tagging aspects

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This section will outline the details recommending the way to tag the rest of elements in Malaysia.


Multilingual names

Official road signs (road names, places and any other points of interest) mainly use the Malay language. Without doubt, this is the value that goes into the name=* tag. There is an exception, for buildings (or places) that features English (and any other language) for example: shopping centres, burial grounds, places of worship, etc. So, in this case, the name=* is what is displayed e.g. on the sign board.

To describe an element's multilingual names, one can make use of these:

  • name:ms=* : Name in Malay
  • name:en=* : Name in English
  • name:zh=* : Name in Chinese (Simplified Chinese first)
    • name:zh-Hans=* : If the place sign uses Traditional Chinese, this tag can be used to input the name in Simplified Chinese[4]
    • name:zh-Hant=* : If the place sign uses Simplified Chinese, this tag can be used to input the name in Traditional Chinese[4]
    • name:zh_pinyin=* may also be included
  • name:ta=* : Name in Tamil
  • name:th=* : Name in Thai
  • loc_name=* can be useful to describe something in a local context only. There might be some (quirky) nicknames in the local dialect attributed to an element. This is the suitable tag to do so.

The slippy map in the main OpenStreetMap website displays only the value from name=*. To see English names of a particular element (if available), one can benefit from these websites:

Apps such as OSMAnd that uses OSM's database can be set to show the names of places either in the local language, or English names (if available).

We do not adopt dual or triple names yet in the name=* field, because this might be this practice seems like tagging for the renderer (forcing something to be displayed on the OSM slippy map). Let's say, the Parkson department store in Google Maps would not be displayed as Parkson 百盛, isn't it?


It is strongly advised to give a full name for every element in the map database. Use short_name=*, for every possible short names, separate them with a semicolon (;).

Click here for a list of common abbreviations used in Malaysian street signs.

Tagging example

Examples Tagging example
Private business sign displayed in Malay (both Latin and Jawi scripts), Chinese and Tamil languages - Mapillary (B-35-qpQN6a oUHkiP8SNg).jpg

name=Klinik Pergigian Dr Norashikin
name:ms-Arab=کلینیك ڤرݢيݢيان دقتور نوراشیکین
name:ta=Dr தோரா பல் கிளினிக்

Fahrenheit 88 Facade in 2014.jpg

name=Fahrenheit 88
name:en=Fahrenheit 88

Sri Mahamariamman Temple 2, central Kuala Lumpur.jpg

name=Sri Maha Mariamman Temple
name:ta=ஸ்ரீ மாரியம்மன் கோவில்

SMAPL'S landmark.jpg

name=Sekolah Menengah Agama Persekutuan Labu
short_name=SMAPL;SMAP Labu;SMA Persekutuan Labu
old_name=Sekolah Menengah Agama Wilayah Persekutuan
name:ar=المعهد الإسلامي الفدرالي


  • place=* node should be placed at a location which is widely known to all locals e.g. Location of government (Pejabat Dewan Bandaraya, Pejabat Majlis Daerah, Pejabat Penghulu Mukim), Old Town "Pekan Lama" or any other populated centre.
  • Total population instead of urban population should be written in population=*, add population:date=yyyy-mm-dd if possible.
Admin level Admin boundary type Corresponding place tag Comment
2 Nation Malaysia
3 Sarawak and Sabah (proposed, if constitution amendment that turn Sabah, Sarawak into territories being passed)
4 State
  • 13 States (negeri)
  • 3 Federal territories (wilayah persekutuan)
5 Division
  • 17 Divisions (Sabah and Sarawak)
    • Special case (Seberang Perai and George Town)
6 District
Daerah (Kelantan=Jajahan)
  • 162 Districts
7 Subdistrict
Daerah Kecil
  • undefined
8 Mukim
place=town (major settlements, e.g. Mukim Benut, Pontian) or place=quarter (Mukims with a smaller population, e.g. Mukim Jelutong, Johor Bahru)
  • undefined
9 none
10 Village/Neighborhood community (without official boundary)
  • place=village (developed kampung, commonly will have a postcode e.g. Lubok China, Melaka)
  • place=hamlet (kampung, e.g. Kampung Selayang Baru, Selangor)
  • place=suburb (for big residential area, e.g. Bandar Kinrara, Selangor)
  • place=quarter (for subdivisions within a big residential area (seksyen/presint) e.g. SS15, Selangor)
  • place=neighbourhood (taman)
  • undefined
For Local Government
  • City Council level Cities (Majlis Bandaraya): place=city+population=* (write total population of the whole city council)
    • Special case (Seberang Perai and Pulau Pinang): place=region (write the population of the district (e.g. Timur Laut) on the place=city node, where the seat of the district is located, e.g. George Town)
  • Municipal Council level Cities (Majlis Perbandaran): place=town at municipal seat with population
    • Special case: If the municipal population exceeds 400,000, use place=city at municipal seat and DO NOT add population=*! (in view of huge-population municipals will shade more significant cities) (e.g. Kajang, Klang, Ampang Jaya, Sungai Petani)
  • District Council (Majlis Daerah): place=town at district seat without population (in view of huge-population districts will shade more significant municipals)


Natural waterways

Tag Element Natural waterways Photo
waterway=riverbank area relation Used for larger rivers, to define an area between the opposite riverbanks.
Muar river mouth.jpg
waterway=river way A moving body of water, usually the main ones. For smaller, shallower waterways, consider using waterway=stream instead.

In Sabah and Sarawak, the tag boat=* can be included where appropriate.

Key words: sungai, alor.

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Sungai-Klang-02.jpg
waterway=stream way Naturally formed, narrow waterway. Wider but shallow waterways could be considered as well (e.g. if the water is not deep and people can walk through it).

Key words: anak sungai, charok.


Man-made waterways

Tag Element Man-made waterways Photo
waterway=canal way If the name of the waterway contains the word "Terusan" or "Tali Air" or if it looks like a typical canal, it should be tagged as a "canal".

Key words: terusan, tali air and maybe sometimes parit (especially southern states).

waterway=ditch way If the waterway is significantly smaller than a typical canal, chances are good that it is a "ditch". N/A
waterway=drain way If it is made out of concrete or build from other hard materials, it is maybe a "drain". A drain must not necessarily contain water all the time. In dry seasons it could be dry and only be filled while it is raining! If the width exceeds 3 meters and the drain does contain water most of the time consider using waterway=canal instead.
Iron Cove Ck looking downstream from John St, Croydon.jpg


Tag Element Railways Photo
railway=rail way From the railways page, "Full sized passenger or freight trains in the standard gauge for the country or state."


KTMB Class 92 SCS 14 KL Sentral Junction.jpg
railway=subway way "High-capacity public transport generally used in urban areas" Read also subway on Wikipedia. Examples: Rapid KL's Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit lines.


MRT SBK Semantan station2.jpg
railway=light_rail way "A city passenger rail service running mostly grade separated." Read also rapid transit on Wikipedia. Examples: Rapid KL lines across the Klang Valley.


170323 Innovia Metro 300 at Lembah Subang.jpg
railway=monorail way "A railway with only a single rail, often inner city and above street level." The only example is the relation KL Monorail Line. File:An example of Monorail.png