New Hampshire

From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
New Hampshire, United States

latitude: 43.67925, longitude: -71.580375
Browse map of New Hampshire 43°40′45.30″ N, 71°34′49.35″ W
Edit map
External links:
Use this template for your locality

New Hampshire is a state in the United States at latitude 43°40′45.30″ North, longitude 71°34′49.35″ West.

Are you new to OpenStreetMap and would you like to help us improve the map of New Hampshire? See the handy Beginners' guide for new mappers. This page contains useful information about what has been mapped in New Hampshire and general local information.

Local Tagging Guidance

The general-purpose road network

In OSM, roadways are primarily categorized using a highway=* tag that indicates the roadway's importance in the road network. Because OSM is a global map, it is important that there is consistency locally, regionally, and globally in how roadways are slotted into the 8 highway=* levels the general-purpose road network:

  1. highway=motorway
  2. highway=trunk
  3. highway=primary
  4. highway=secondary
  5. highway=tertiary
  6. highway=unclassified
  7. highway=residential
  8. highway=track

It is important to note that the values of the highway=* tag come from the British road classification system, but, globally, they are applied as hierarchy of descending importance with highway=motorway being the only level that demands compliance with physical construction standards. All lower levels from highway=trunk to highway=residential are based on their importance to the road network.

1: highway=motorway

The top category, highway=motorway should only be applied to roadways that are either signed Interstate highways or have ALL of the following characteristics:

  • Limited access
  • Divided highway
  • Designed and maintained to support average speeds to at least 50 mph in urban areas and 65 mph in rural areas
  • Facilitate long distance travel at high speeds, or provide service in or between the more heavily populated areas of the state.

The only roads that should be tagged as highway=motorway in New Hampshire are the Interstates (I-89, I-93, I-95, I-293, I-393), non-Interstate highways built to the same standard (NH 101 between Manchester and I-95, the Spaulding Turnpike, and the Everett Turnpike), and short spurs from these ways like Hudson's Circumferential Highway. Other roadways that meet some, but not all of the criteria (such as NH-101 near Milford) should not be tagged with highway=motorway, but rather another highway classification that represents their importance in the regional road network, with expressway=yes and access_control=partial to indicate their enhanced level of construction.

2. highway=trunk

As the top non-motorway classification, highway=trunk should be applied to non-motorway roads that:

  • Serve as the principal connectors:
    • Between two cities of regional importance in cases where the cities are not directly connected to each other by highway=motorway; or
    • Between cities of regional importance and roads tagged highway=motorway
  • Are of a sufficient physical construction that they represent the shortest vehicular route between the two cities

In and around New Hampshire, the list of cities of regional importance includes:

  • Albany, NY
  • Boston, MA
  • Sanford, ME
  • Portland, ME
  • Keene
  • Nashua
  • Manchester
  • Concord
  • Portsmouth/Rochester/Dover (these cities are too close to one another to treat separately)
  • Laconia
  • Franklin
  • Lebanon
  • Claremont

Therefore, the following routes should be tagged as trunk:

  • NH 9, between VT and I-89 (Albany, NY - Keene - Concord)
  • NH 101 between Keene and Bedford (Keene - Manchester)
  • NH 101A between NH 101 and Everett Turnpike (Keene - Nashua)
  • NH 12 between MA and Keene (Boston, MA - Keene)
  • NH 125 from Epping to Spaulding Turnpike (Nashua - Manchester - Seacoast)
  • US 4 from I-393 to Spaulding Turnpike (Concord - Seacoast)
  • NH 11 from Rochester to Claremont (Seacoast - Laconia - Franklin - Claremont)
  • NH 12 from Claremont to I-91 (to connect Claremont to the Interstate network)

Also, being a state with 4 neighbors, there are roads that do not connect urban areas within New Hampshire, but do provide important connections for residents in other territories. These include

  • NH 26 from ME to Colebrook (Portland - Montreal)
  • US 3 from Colebrook to the bridge to Canaan, VT (Portland - Montreal)
  • US 2 through the whole state (Augusta - Burlington)
  • US 302 from ME to NH 16 (Portland - the White Mountains)
  • NH 16 from Rochester to US 2 (Boston - the White Mountains)

The trunk classification may also be used within urban areas themselves. A trunk road in an urban area should be a partially controlled access highway or expressway. Examples of these kinds of highways include:

  • NH 101 from I 95 to Hampton Beach (partially controlled access)
  • US 1 Bypass in Portsmouth (expressway closed to non-motorized traffic)
  • The first few hundred meters of the Spaulding Turnpike in Portsmouth (expressway closed to non-motorized traffic)
  • US 202 between I 93 and US 3 in Concord (expressway)
  • The super-two portion of NH 12 northwest of Keene (controlled access)

3. highway=primary

This second-level of non-motorway roads should be applied to US highways and higher-importance state routes that aren’t highway=trunk. As a guide, many Tier 2 roads (statewide corridors) should be tagged as trunk or primary. Examples of state routes tagged as primary include NH 106 south of Laconia, NH 28, NH 111, NH 104, and NH 25). Also some extremely important urban streets like the Daniel Webster Highway in Nashua and Granite Street in Manchester should be tagged as primary.

4. highway=secondary

This categorization level should be applied to middle-importance state routes and very important urban streets. This would be most state highways that do not have a higher-level classification. These roads are often built to lower standards that the ones above. Examples include: NH 107, NH 109, and NH 132. Bridge Street in Manchester is an example of a very important urban street that is not a state route tagged as secondary.

5. highway=tertiary

Unnumbered state roads (identified by the begin and end state maintenance signs) and important through roads in urban compacts. Unnumbered state roads can begin and end in places that are not intersections, and tertiary classification should be carried in a way that makes sense to a nearby road of equal or higher rank (for example Canterbury Road in Chichester is only a state road for a mile or two, but it is classed as tertiary all the way to King Road and Main Street). Some alternate state routes that only serve one community should also be classed as tertiary, for example NH 113B in Chatham.

6. highway=unclassified

Any other less-important connecting or non-residential road. This includes less-important rural roads that connect other less-important rural roads and residential roads.

7. highway=residential

The smallest and least important roads (from a connectivity standpoint). Many higher-classification roads have residences along them, so the presence of residences does not demand that a road be tagged as highway=residential. Rather, highway=residential should be used for roads that are primarily used to access residences. If there is no reason to take a road than to access the houses along it, then there is a good chance that highway=residential is the appropriate classification. The presence of another type of facility such as a business or trailhead doesn't necessarily negate highway=residential's applicability.

8. highway=track

These are roads that serve no connectivity function to motorized users. There are three types of road that should be tagged as track in New Hampshire.

  • Class VI roads that are not privately maintained to access properties. Class VI roads that are privately maintained to access properties should be tagged as either residential or service depending on how many houses are along it. Class VI roads should also be tagged with access=yes and any special regulations the town or city has created.
  • Discontinued roads where there is evidence of motorized use. These roads should be tagged with ownership=private unless a government is an abutter.
  • Roads servicing farmland and logging areas within properties. These roads should also be tagged with ownership=private unless the road is on a government-owned property.

Bureau of Trails Trails

A typical access posting on a Bureau of Trails trail

The Bureau of Trails (BoT) maintains a network of trails through the state. Some of this is on private land, and each landowner can post restrictions on the trails if they want. The most common tagging scheme for BoT trails on private land is highway=path + access=permissive + snowmobile=designated + atv=no + motor_vehicle=no. The BoT also owns trails outright and regulates access to them. These should be tagged with highway=path + foot=yes + horse=yes + bicycle=yes + snowmobile=yes + ski=yes + bicycle=yes + dog_sled=yes.

Department of Transportation Bike Paths

The Department of Transportation (NHDOT) is authorized to create bike paths under RSA 12-B:4. These paths should be tagged with highway=cycleway + foot=no where the way is adjacent to a motor highway and highway=cycleway otherwise. As best as we can tell, there are no such paths in the state. However, the NHDOT has created some pathways that it calls "bike paths" that do allow pedestrian access, even where the way is adjacent to a motor highway. These should be tagged with highway=cycleway + foot=yes. NHDOT also has a network of designated "bike routes". These are different from true bike routes (defined in RSA 230:75), which are required to be signed, and should not be included in OSM.

Limited-Access Highways

Limited-access highways (those marked with the standard white sign seen entrances to freeways and turnpikes and on whatever other road a government choose to place it) should be tagged with foot=no + bicycle=no + horse=no + moped=no. The standard sign also bans motor scooters, but there is no currently accepted tag for handling motor scooters, and state law never defines the term anyways so it is unclear how they differ from mopeds.

Other Roads and Paths

Not all roads are part of the general-purpose road network. In addition to those above that are usually (though not always) publicly accessible and maintained, there are also highway=service roads for accessing buildings and facilities, and other special-purpose roadways such as highway=raceway. See highway=path for "roads" that are intended for non-motorized use.

Ownership and Access

Due to the cost of road maintenance, there is a strong financial disincentive for New Hampshire towns to take over responsibility for small residential roads that only provide access to a few residences. As housing is built in an area the new roads default to being owned and maintained privately. These roads may be named and signed for wayfinding and E911 purposes, but their signs will include a "private" or "PVT" label, or be colored differently, to indicate that they are privately owned and maintained and that the Town is not responsible for their maintenance. Roads designated as "private" in this way should be tagged with ownership=private. Residents can petition their Town to accept a road, which would then lose it's "private" label and become ownership=public or ownership=municipal. Named private roads that serve 2 or fewer dwellings or businesses should be tagged as highway=service.

In contrast to this ownership and maintenance label, some roads may be signposted with signs say "No Trespassing", "No public access", "Keep out", or similar wording -- these should be tagged with access=private to indicate that the public is not allowed to use this road. Do not add access=private to roads simply because they are privately owned and maintained.



The following pages show places in New Hampshire that are relatively well mapped out


New Hampshire is adjacent to the states Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine in the United States as well as the Quebec province of Canada.


Belknap County Alton, Belmont, Gilford, Laconia, Meredith, Tilton
Carroll County Conway, Effingham, Ossipee, Wakefield, Wolfeboro
Cheshire County Jaffrey, Keene, Rindge, Swanzey
Coos County Berlin, Lancaster
Grafton County Grafton, Hanover, Haverhill, Holderness, Lebanon, Littleton, Plymouth, Woodstock
Hillsborough County Amherst, Bedford, Goffstown, Hillsborough, Hollis, Hudson, Litchfield, Manchester, Merrimack, Milford, Nashua, New Boston, New Ipswich, Pelham, Peterborough, Weare
Merrimack County Bow, Concord, Franklin, Henniker, Hooksett, Hopkinton, Loudon, New London, Pembroke, Warner
Rockingham County Atkinson, Auburn, Brentwood, Chester, Derry, Epping, Exeter, Hampstead, Hampton, Kingston, Londonderry, Newmarket, North Hampton, Plaistow, Portsmouth, Raymond, Rye, Salem, Sandown, Seabrook, Stratham, Windham
Strafford County Barrington, Dover, Durham, Farmington, Rochester, Somersworth
Sullivan County Charlestown, Claremont, Newport

State Border Relation: relation 67213

Also see the list of border relations for New Hampshire.

phone=+1-603-???-???? The whole state uses the area code 603

addr:postcode=03??? All zip codes in the state begin with 03.

Mailing Lists

There is no specific New Hampshire mailing list, so please use the talk-us list to discuss tagging and other US-specific issues.

There is an OpenStreetMap US Facebook Group, and an OpenStreetMap US Slack with #local-us-northeast and #local-new-hampshire channels as well.

Local Resources


  • State Routes: Many state routes in NH lack route=road relations, and many are broken. Also, some ways lack ref=* tags. See New Hampshire State Route Relations for a list of numbered roads in New Hampshire and which currently have route relations.
  • Rivers and streams: The goal of this project is to increase the accuracy and completeness of the rivers and streams mapped in NH. There are a lot of polygons imported straight from the NHD that could be improved, and rivers move around a lot! The major tasks are to draw ways on the streams, create waterway relations, and clean up the river area polygons that have already been added to the map. Of course, NH is a wet state full of streams, so this project focuses on streams important enough to get a hydrologic unit named after them. See New Hampshire/Rivers to see what has been done and what is left to do.
  • Conservation clean-up: Long ago conservation areas in the GRANIT dataset were imported, and we are currently working to modernize the tagging and improve the geometries. Check out New Hampshire/Conservation Clean Up for info on how to help out.
  • General TIGER cleaning: There's a lot to do to clean up TIGER in the state: aligning roads, fixing names, reclassifying highways. Most of the towns in the southeast part of the state have been largely fixed up, but towns in the western and northern areas need some love.