From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Oxford, Oxfordshire, England

latitude: 51.75, longitude: -1.23
Browse map of Oxford 51°45′00.00″ N, 1°13′48.00″ W
Edit map
External links:
Use this template for your locality

Oxford is a city in Oxfordshire, England at latitude 51°45′00.00″ North, longitude 1°13′48.00″ West.

The University City of Oxford lies to the north west of London and Reading, and to the south of Birmingham. The western edge of the ring road is the A34, and the northern edge is the A40. It is a short distance from the M40.

The River Thames runs through the centre of the city, the Oxford Canal comes in from the north, and the River Cherwell from the north east.


talk-gb-oxoncotswolds mailing list

...has discussion of meetups and local mapping discussion.

Events and Activities

Oxford has hosted many OpenStreetMap events over the years, including some spells of weekly meet-ups. See the above mailing list for the latest, and please feel free organise something new!

OSM Coverage

Oxford has excellent basic coverage in OSM. All the roads within the ring road plus Blackbird Leys, Barton, Sandhills, Dean Court, Cumnor and Kennington are thought to be mapped. If we've missed the road you live on, please visit the map and add a Note.

  • Road names are thought to be complete within the city: comparison against OS OpenData Locator data
  • Speed limit tagging is thought to be complete for Oxford's #20 mph zones, but other roads are lagging
  • Tagging of lit=yes/no is incomplete as of 2013-07-25
  • If you're feeling especially bored, please trace buildings from Bing.

Bus Route Mapping

On the map: local public transport routes in Oxford.

As of late 2023, we are converting old bus routes and stops using the original public transport schema to the newer PTv2 schema for bus routes.

Mapping bus stops

A fairly typical bus stop on a city street
Bus stop St Aldates, with local_ref=G1

Bus stops are still somewhat incomplete, but they are one of the easiest bits of data to gather. Please do add them to the map if you notice any missing, and help fill in the details with StreetComplete if you have it on your phone. A lot of them were filled in by the NaPTAN import, and are easy to maintain. Here are a few local specifics:

  • Please use the name exactly as written on the bus stop. If the names are different on each side of the road, then record them as written but consider using a public_transport=stop_area relation to tie the related stops together.
  • If there's a purple Mobile OxonTime sign on the pole, the code on that is a NaptanCode that is designed to be used over SMS for real-time information about departures: see NaPTAN/Tag mappings. Note that the signs use either numeric form (e.g. "69327549") or an uppercase version of the value in the NaPTAN database itself (e.g. "OXFAMJGW"). The UK telephone keypad layout can be used to map between them. The quickest and most portable way to record the information from one of these is on the stop's ref=* tag, but you can fill in the naptan:NaptanCode=* with the lowercase text value if known, or when you can figure it out (see the table below).
  • If there's a green or blue disc on top of the pole with a short reference code like "E2" or "HS4", then the stop is part of a local group of stops. Other public data sources often refer to individual stops using this code and the stop name.
    • Don't put this reference number in the name unless that's really how it's written on the sign.
    • Use the local_ref=* tag to record the reference number on the disc. The main site's Transport layer will use these to make stop areas more informative.
  • We intend to use relations to record the routes fully, but the old route_ref=* tag can still be used for informative purposes. Beware! They don't always keep the little stickers up to date, and many correct ones can quite faded.
  • Many bus stops have a digital display of buses that are due next. Use passenger_information_display=yes on the bus stop node to record this.
Example Record this with Notes
The main sign of a typical Oxford bus stop
Create a node tagged as
name=Rupert Road
Small plate showing the numeric "Oxontime" codes
Add the following tags to the bus stop node:

The NaPTAN details are optional if you're just gathering the details quickly.

1:(space) 2:ABC 3:DEF

To map to the textual form from the numeric one, only the first letter is used.

Bus Routes

It is reasonable to use public sources under the Open Government License such as bustimes.org to check for the existence of a live bus route, and to browse the OGL NaPTAN data. For Oxford, start browsing at https://bustimes.org/localities/oxford-oxon. However note that timetable or live departure information may not be covered by OGL: always check against the data sources first (TODO: let's try to give a definitive statement). There is also generally no substitute for getting out and verifying the general movements of buses in the real world.

Please record new bus routes using the newer PTv2 schema for buses, and convert old relations into pairs (most typically) of new route=bus relations inside a route_master=bus relation for all the routes with the same ID. This requires three levels of attention:

  1. Gather bus stop information and put it on the map, as above.
  2. Gather stops and road Ways in order, into a route Relation, one per variant (direction, alternate service in a direction, …)
  3. Put the route Relations into a route master relation containing all the variants.

See Buses for more information about how this is done.

Some local notes:

  • Routes are often called things like "city8" on the buses themselves. Omit the "city" prefix for the ref tag: use "ref=8" in this case.
  • Record the prefixed name as, e.g. "official_name=city8".
  • For route relations we do use the structured naming convention, with official names before the colon. Some of us prefer a typographic "→" instead of "=>". Example: "relation Bus city8: Barton → Oxford Westgate". The names of these higher-level constructs aren't rendered on the map.

TODO: do we need a link to each individual relation and its status here, to help coordinate this effort?

Local Cycle Network

The routes of the local cycle network are tagged as relations.

Oxford Specific Tagging

(These are presumably also applicable to Cambridge) It may be insightful to look at Durham#Durham_Specific_Tagging.


Represent Oxford College grounds with area tags representing each separate area owned by the college for the use of its students, including meadows, college buildings, playing fields, whatever.

Initially, if college grounds (or other similar areas, see below) went right to the street, they were mapped sharing nodes with the street. However this became impossible to maintain, so they are all now tagged with distinct nodes corresponding as accurately as possible with the actual boundary of the College.

Tag the enclosing area of the main site with:

Annexes and other minor sites

Detached part of a college, and annexes should have in the name=* key the name of the area only (or no name key at all if the area is doesn't have a name of its own). The operator=* key should be used to indicate which college the annexe belongs to.

Quads and sods: college buildings and other sub-areas

Until relation support for buildings is improved, college buildings should be entirely within a college area (as described above), and tagged with

Tag areas of greenery within quads and elsewhere as either landuse=grass for simple lawns or leisure=garden for more flowery enclosures. Paved footpaths and walkways within colleges should probably be tagged as wayhighway=footway or as areahighway=pedestrian,area=yes depending on their form. Almost certainly everything in this list should also be tagged access=private (or access=permissive); if an entrance fee is payable by the general public, tag with fee=* as well.

TODO: staircases, bars, ...?

Multipolygons are helpful for a lot of the shapes you'll encounter, enclosed quads in particular. Be sure to upload all inner and outer ways together in the same changeset to help mitigate a known problem with the Mapnik layer's data import.

We ought to try to map enclosing walls and fences once the building and walkways are traced or surveyed.

Permanent Private Halls

As colleges, but with


Other University areas

Parks and sports facilities should just be tagged as specified in Map Features perhaps with a tag to indicate access rights. Departments can be tagged as colleges but with

Puntable Rivers

Tag with:

Tag punt hire locations with:

20 mph zones

There was a manual import of data from County Hall at around the time the 20mph speed limits went in for the non-major roads. See Oxford/Archived#20_mph_zones for the archived discussion and supporting documentation. Complete OSM ways affected by this are tagged:

maxspeed=20 mph
maxspeed:note=Oxford 20 mph zone

Some roads only have a 20mph limit for a part of their distance, as defined by the list we were given. We've split such ways then duplicated that sort of information into the tagging for ease of maintenance, so don't be surprised if you see something like:

maxspeed:spec=<textual description of what defines this node's location or this way's limit>

on those partial bits. There should also be a tagged maxspeed=20mph node denoting the entry point, since it displays with a cute little restriction sign in JOSM, making the split obvious.

Bing, OS OpenData, and WMS for tracing

Several layers of good-quality aerial imagery and liberally licensed / out of copyright maps are available for tracing and checking.

  • The Bing coverage within Oxford is of very high quality, and seems to be well aligned at the highest level of zoom with GPS traces and roads in OS OpenData StreetView. The current set of imagery seems to date from roughly July 2007.
  • Ordnance Survey Opendata StreetView is available for this UK city. The street names and shapes can be helpful, but the building outlines can be fairly rough. Correlate with other sources if you're using this data as a starting point.

Uses in Oxford

Some uses of openstreetmap specifically for Oxford.

Oxford University are using OpenStreetMap for the college information on some parts of their website example

Mobile Oxford (http://m.ox.ac.uk ) is a website for accessing Oxford related info on your mobile, intended for students and staff at the University of Oxford as well as the general publice. The maps section uses OpenStreetMap

Oxford Bus & Cycle Map has been produced using OpenStreetMap data (early 2012). It is being distributed through the two Universities and several other channels. An electronic version is available here.

Tagging for Oxford Bus & Cycle Map

Certain tags have been developed to allow features for the Bus & Cycle Map to be mapped. More

See also

  • Oxford/Archived - old plans and sections are moved here when they become no longer relevant or when the job's done.