Photo linking

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A map showing pictures associated to retrieved features

Photo linking is a technique consisting in creating links between OSM features and external pictures. The goal of this is to make OSM data illustrated and sourced by recent pictures.


In order to make more user-friendly maps, it is interesting to illustrate our rich point of interest database with pictures, as other map providers already do. By populating the database with this kind of links, we allow developers to create easily visual maps for everyone.

Links to images are not just (potentially) useful to end users, but can also really help other mappers understand the objects we have mapped. Often experienced armchair mappers trying to validate edits can do nothing but trust that the previous mapper got it at least somewhat "right" and complete. With images attached they can often do more than that.

It matters to make the links explicit, because it allows to choose a good picture between a set of available pictures, and also make sure that the feature to illustrate is well visible on it. It could not be done properly only using nearest, more recent picture, as it could be blurry, not in the right direction, and so on.


Creating a link between an object and its picture in OSM is easy: just add the tag according to your picture source on the given object. See below to find how to associate picture according to its source.

Logo Name Tag Example Statistics
Mapillary logo Mapillary
mapillary=<mapillary picture key> mapillary=AHs0Lqp72oWW7D9TSQn1Pg
Flickr logo Flickr
flickr=<flickr full URL> flickr=
Commons-logo-en.svg Wikimedia Commons
wikimedia_commons=File:<image> wikimedia_commons=File:Eiffelturm.JPG

wikimedia_commons=Category:<category> wikimedia_commons=Category:Eiffel Tower
Spherical pano icon.svg Bing Streetside bubbleid=<nine digit numeric identifier> bubbleid=508168307 taken from
Panoramax.svg Panoramax panoramax=<identifier> panoramax=cbc0f10b-c98b-4ac0-aaf8-cc9f281aaac1
Picture icon BLACK.svg Any website image=<full URL> image=

Note that wikipedia=* and wikidata=* are also a good source of images, which can generally be added through the wikimedia_commons=* tag.



  • WikiShootMe - Designed for linking photos from multiple sources to wikidata items, but also useful for finding pictures to add to OSM.


You can use any OpenStreetMap editor to add pictures tags on objects. However, there are a few dedicated editors to do so.

  • Flickr4OSM - Link your personal Flickr pictures to OSM features.
  • Pic4Review - Easy editor to contribute using pictures, creates links between OSM and pictures.


Some map renderers supports showing pictures associated to OSM features.

Quality assurance

See also

  • Photo mapping - Technique for creating OSM data according to what is shown on a picture