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Michigan, United States

latitude: 44.34, longitude: -85.58
Browse map of Michigan 44°20′24.00″ N, 85°34′48.00″ W
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Michigan is a state in the United States at latitude 44°20′24.00″ North, longitude 85°34′48.00″ West.


Local user group
OpenStreetMap Michigan Flag of the United States.svg
When: Second Wednesday each month from 7pm – 8pm ET
Where: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Michigan#Events (map)
Mailing list
mailing list – archive
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OpenStreetMap Michigan Meetup

Discussion topics can be suggested on the Michigan Wiki Discussion page.

March 8th, 2023, 7 PM to 8 PM

Hosted online using Skype by Nathan Hartley (treestryder).

Join link: https://join.skype.com/dC33xuzC73dD

Future Meetings

Generally, we meet on the Second Wednesday of each month from 7pm – 8pm Eastern US. Watch here, or subscribe to page-change notifications, for meeting information.

Our meetings are hosted by volunteers. It is the host’s choice for the digital meeting service or arranging to meet at a physical location. To volunteer as a host add the meeting information above. Please also create an event at OpenStreetMap Calendar and, if you don't mind, Michigan OpenStreetMap Facebook group, pointed here for details.





To Do



Common Tagging Schemes

This is intended to function as a cheat sheet for mapping common features found in Michigan. Follow the links for detailed instructions. Please update any that no longer match their state of the art.


  • Follow the guidelines on the Good practice page, which calls out some common mistakes.
  • Do not combine unrelated things. For instance, riverbank areas with park boundaries, or administrative boundaries with roads or rivers. These are unrelated objects and should have separate nodes.



Public Lands

Current status tracked at Michigan/Parks.

Use tags found at United States/Public lands. In general, the boundary of a State Park will be tagged as:

Park amenities should be tagged using the US National Park Service Tagging Guidelines.

Pedestrian ways

Sidewalks / Footways

Unless explicitly prohibited bicycles are allowed on footways in Michigan and should be tagged as follows:

For routing and accuracy, where physically connected, be sure to connect the way to roads, driveways, and parking aisles. Add a crossing=* node where appropriate.

Where bicycles are prohibited remove the "bicycle" tag (bicycle=no is implied).

When signed for bicycles change to bicycle=designated, add foot=designated and segregated=no.

If it is signed only for bicycles, it would be a highway=cycleway.

If a sidewalk/footway/path is separate from the road it is preferred that it is mapped as such, but can quickly be mapped to enable routing using sidewalk=separate.

Paths / Trails

Trails are mapped as paths in OpenStreetMap.

See Michigan/Trails for a list of major trails and their status.

Multi-use path signed for foot and bicycles (like the Lansing Rivertrail):

Path either multi-use or unspecified usage, open to all non-motorized vehicles and not intended for motorized vehicles unless tagged so separately:

Path signed for foot only:

Path signed ONLY for bicycles (rare in Michigan):

Long path/trails should be mapped as a route relation using the following tags, adding the way and related objects to the relation:

Useful modifier tags:



  • Standing bodies of water - Create an area tagged as natural=water.
  • Flowing bodies of water - All forms of flowing water are represented with a way tagged using one of the many options of waterway=*.
  • Boat launch - A leisure=slipway is a ramp for backing a boat into water and may be used for paddle craft. Use canoe=put_in for locations only usable by paddle craft. Create the highway=service way leading to the water, tag the point where the way meets the water with leisure=slipway. Adding surface=* and description=* are also helpful.
  • Dams - Most dams in Michigan are low-head dams and should be mapped as a weir. Follow the mapping instructions on the respective pages.
    • waterway=weir - often called a low-head dam. A barrier built across a river, stream or canal to regulate water levels, sometimes to divert water for industrial purposes. When water passes a weir it flows over the top.
    • waterway=dam - A barrier built across a river or stream to impound the water. A dam normally does not have water flowing over the top of it. The water behind a dam is usually water=reservoir.
  • Fish ladder - waterway=fish_pass.
  • Boat/ Canoe/ Kayak rental - amenity=boat_rental + canoe_rental=* + kayak_rental=*.
  • Docks - man_made=pier
  • Boat store - shop=boat
  • Canoe, kayak, SUP and other human powered paddle craft all use canoe=*
    • Launches - canoe=put_in on the area or point at the water's edge. If handicap accessible add the tag wheelchair=yes. As access to water can be very limited (high banks, vegetation, private property, etc) adding even undeveloped launches in use on public land can be helpful to paddlers. Be sure to include surface=* and description=* to help distinguish these from more developed launches. Also, mapping the roads and trails leading (connected) to a launch helps with routing and planning.
    • Portages - See canoe=portage. Create a way from the river's center line to its shore tagged with canoe=portage. The shore point is tagged with canoe=put_in. Add canoe=portage to all highway=* segments along the portage between the shore points.
  • Water trails - Official water trails should be mapped with a route relation; type=route + route=canoe + name=*. Add to this relation, from upriver to downriver order, the waterways, portage ways and untagged ways across lakes and ponds that make up the route. See also:



See Michigan/Railroads for current state of mapping Michigan railroads.



The current status of our highway mapping is found on the page Michigan/Highways.

As OpenStreetMap is used more and more for routing, by even fully autonomous vehicles, it is important to accurately map roadways. Here are helpful links for mapping key areas:

Use the same relation tagging scheme for Michigan State Highways as for Interstate Highways Relations, except use network=US:MI, US:MI:BUSINESS, US:MI:DOWNTOWN, US:MI:FUTURE. Don't give the relation a name=* unless the entire state highway has exactly that name all the way.

Until all renderers fully support highway relations, it is probably also a good idea to tag ref=M xx on the ways making up the relation.

Highway Classification

See United States Highway Classification for the most up to date information on this topic. A more detailed guideline for Michigan is being drafted at Michigan/highway classification.

The primary language and terms of OSM is UK English, which can be confusing. Use the table below to properly categorize streets in the area. Some effort has been made to cross-reference the National Functional Classification (NFC) numbers found using the State of Michigan NFC Map to the equivalent OpenStreetMap highway type. Please edit any errors, or start a discussion accordingly.

Highway Types
State's NFC name (#) OSM Type Description
Interstate (1), Other freeways (2) highway=motorway Limited access freeway with interchanges. Access via on/off ramps with merge lanes, divided road of at least 2 lanes each direction. Called "Freeway." Speed limits generally 55 MPH or higher. Examples; 127, I96, I69, 496
Other Principal Arterials (3) highway=trunk

Rural: Nearly a freeway. Example, 127 North of St Johns.

Urban: May have cross traffic, but traffic flow on the trunk always has the right of way (except at red traffic lights). Speed limits usually 45 MPH or higher. Example, Saginaw Highway east of East Lansing.

Note, this is unrelated to our similarly named "State Trunkline" which the State of Michigan defines as, "all roads under MDOT jurisdiction, including all Interstate routes, US routes, M routes, Interstate business loops and spurs, US business routes, M business routes, connector routes, and unsigned state trunkline in Michigan."

Minor Arterials (4) highway=primary

Rural: When tempted to tag a rural road as "trunk", it is probably an OpenStreetMap "primary" highway. Examples; M 52, M 99, M 100, M 115.

Urban: Three lanes or more each traffic direction. 35 MPH or faster. Handles large volumes of traffic. (Any or all of these). Examples Saginaw and Oakland through Lansing.

Major Collectors (5) highway=secondary

Rural: The next class of roadway off a primary.

Urban: Two lanes of traffic each direction. 35 MPH or faster. Medium-high traffic volumes. Examples; Cedar Street and MLK in Lansing.

Minor Collectors (6) highway=tertiary

Rural: If not sure, consider "unclassified", "residential", or "service".

Urban: Lower traffic volumes on wide streets, or higher traffic volumes on narrow ones. Examples; Mt. Hope, Jolly, Okemos, Willow, Creyts, Meridian

Local (7) highway=unclassified The least most important through roads in a country's system – i.e. minor roads of a lower classification than tertiary, but which serve a purpose other than access to properties. For instance, minor country roads, often linking villages and hamlets. (The word 'unclassified' is a historical artifact of the UK road system and does not mean that the classification is unknown; you can use highway=road for that). Examples; Washington, College, Farm Lane, Freiermuth, Dobie.
Local (7) highway=residential Roads which serve as an access to housing, without function of connecting settlements. Often lined with housing. Single traffic lane each direction, may also be oneway=yes. Usually 25 MPH or slower. May have traffic bumps and other "traffic calming" measures. Examplesl apartment complexes, neighborhood roads
Local (7) highway=service

to define a service way in more detail add service=*

  • service=driveway
  • service=parking_aisle
  • service=alley
  • service=emergency_access
  • service=drive-through
For access roads to, or within an industrial park, camp site, business park, car park etc. Can be used in conjunction with service=* to indicate the type of usage and with access=* to indicate who can use it and in what circumstances.
Highway link Short connecting ways, like highway or round-a-bout entrances and exits and "Michigan turns".

Ways Under Construction

To flag a way as under construction use Conditional restrictions. Given an end date the restriction should be inert if forgotten, but it would be best to set a reminder to remove this tag when no longer needed.

  • All access:conditional=no @ (2021 Aug 1-2021 Nov 30)
  • Cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc. access:motorcar:conditional=no @ (2021 Aug 1-2021 Nov 30)
  • Bicycles access:bicycle:conditional=no @ (2021 Aug 1-2021 Nov 30)
  • Pedestrians access:foot:conditional=no @ (2021 Aug 1-2021 Nov 30)

Known Data Sources

Do not copy from sources which do not have a compatible copyright license. When in doubt, it is better to gather your own data.

NGO and other sources

Federal Data

Work by federal employees and the published data should be public domain, but always double check. https://www.usgs.gov/core-science-systems/ngp/board-on-geographic-names/domestic-names

State of Michigan

State data is not like US Federal data and may be subject to copyright restrictions, review the licenses and if in doubt verify. There are processes for approval for verifying permission being granted for use in OSM where data may be restricted. Take a look at import Getting Permission.

Other Michigan Maps

Reminder: Do not copy from sources which do not have a compatible copyright license. When in doubt, it is better to gather your own data.

See Also

Michigan Cities

Category: Cities in Michigan lists Michigan cities with pages on the OSM Wiki.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_municipalities_in_Michigan at Wikipedia.

Surrounding States

United States