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Public-images-osm logo.svg operator
Сompany, corporation, person or any other entity who is directly in charge of the current operation of a map object Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: properties
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areas (and multipolygon relations)may be used on relations
Documented values: 26
Useful combination
See also
Status: approvedPage for proposal

The operator tag is used to name a company, corporation, person or any other entity who is directly in charge of the current operation of a map object.

How to use

When choosing the appropriate value for the operator=* tag, it is beneficial to use exactly the same text including capitalization across all entities managed by the same structure. Please refer to taginfo, or the title of the associated Wikipedia article for the organization as a starting point.

If the vast majority of a certain object in an area is operated by a certain organization and only very few by others then it may be sufficient to only tag the exceptions.

For example, when nearly all roads in an area are managed by a local authority then it would be sufficient to only tag those that are not with an operator tag.

Owner or brand name isn't necessarily the operator

An operator isn't necessarily the owner of the map feature. Many chains (store, restaurants...) use a franchise system, where the brand does not operate the point-of-presence.

For example, a lot of transport and communication networks had been built by public administrations and are now operated by private companies. Railways may still be owned and maintained by the national government through its instrumentalities, agencies, and institutions (e.g. the UK, most of Western Europe, South Korea), but trains using them may be operated by different companies.

In places where a grant to operate, expand, manage, and maintain a utility by the governing agency, company, or institution occur, the utility is either partly-owned by the national government and a concessionaire which is the private operator depending if a portion of an infrastructure (right-of-way (ROW)) and its facilities or structures and lands where they are located were acquired, designated, and built for structures already erected or placed on their lands by the former or the latter (e.g. Philippine power grid since January 15, 2009) or fully owned by the operator (e.g. expressways in the Philippines starting with North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) on February 10, 2005 and point-to-point power lines used to connect the power plant into the transmission grid which are owned by power generation companies).

Bus operators may contract or franchise services to a different company (e.g. Flixbus routes, some public transport bus networks). Related infrastructure (stops, bus stations, bus-only roads) may remain under ownership of the transport agency or the bus company itself.


Unlike network=*, operator=* is always a human-readable value. Some operators have been tagged by their legal registration name, while others have been tagged by their trade name. Sometimes mappers abbreviate legal entity types despite the general rule against abbreviations in names. In many cases, rail or public transport companies' names are abbreviated in network=* but spelled out in full in operator=*, with the abbreviation going in operator:short=*.

Organization names are not required to be unique globally. An organization's name may be spelled differently depending on the location, language, or personal preference. To give data consumers and QA tools more certainty when working with operator tags, set operator:wikidata=* to the operator's globally unique, language-independent Wikidata ID. The Name Suggestion Index can help standardize an operator's tags.

When there is no operator

Since operator=* should always contain a human-readable value, operator=no should be avoided. A feature that is known to have no operator can sometimes be tagged informal=yes. This tag is often used for social trails, unofficial tent camping sites, and other features found in wilderness areas that are not officially maintained or endorsed by the land management agency, but can be applied to any feature that has not been established on purpose. If informal=yes is not appropriate, operator:type=none can also be used to tag that a feature is specifically known to have no operator.


Fast food

Subway is one of the biggest franchise system in the US.

  • name=Subway
  • brand=Subway (The name of the chain, as displayed to customers)
  • branch=Paris Notre-Dame
  • operator=Some company (The company operating the restaurant. Usually visible on bills)


Some amenities are directly managed by the company having the brand name.

  • tourism=hotel
  • name=Le Méridien (the name of the hotel)
  • operator=Le Méridien (the name of the company that manages the hotel, and which maybe manage other hotels too).
  • brand=Le Méridien (The name of the chain, as displayed to customers)
  • branch=Piccadilly

Sometimes, it's more complicated. In this example; the company that manages the hotel is not the same company that owns the building. In other cases; there is another party between the owner and management company that rents or leases the building.

Postal Services

Due to the emerging of private postal service providers, it may be useful for map readers to know which postal services provider operates a certain amenity=post_box.
In Germany there are already some private companies like PIN or Stadtbrief who install their own post boxes. Whomever wants to ship a letter has to choose the post box of their postal service provider.

Public transport

Public transport stations, stops, routes and other amenities (such as ticket-vending machines) can use the operator=* key. This tag is recommended on route relations, and optional on other objects.

Public transport stops can have multiple operators, especially in areas near borders. Use the semi-colon value separator, e.g. operator=De Lijn;TEC.


Other examples are pubs, restaurants and hotel chains, maybe also streets maintained by private companies.

Further details

There are a couple of common subkeys used to add further detail about the operator. These should be used instead of the not prefixed ones if the information given belongs to the operator, but not to the object itself.

Key Description Taginfo
operator:abbr=* Abbreviated name of the operator
Postal address to contact the operator
Address components can be specified separately in various keys, e.g. operator:addr:street=*, operator:addr:housenumber=*, etc.
operator:addr:country=* may be particularly useful to indicate the operator of the object is located in a different country
operator:phone=* Phone number to contact the operator
operator:short=* Short name of the operator
operator:type=* Classification of the operator, e.g. a private or public entity
operator:website=* Website of the operator
operator:wikidata=* The Wikidata ID of the operator
operator:wikipedia=* The Wikipedia link of the operator

See also

Possible tagging mistakes

If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!