Project of the week/2010/Nov 10

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Vimy ridge ex flickr.jpg

Memorials to people killed in wars and conflicts

November 11 is the 92nd anniversary of the end of the First World War, and is marked in many countries by religious and civil ceremonies to remember those who lost their lives in this and other conflicts. It therefore seems appropriate to have a related project of the week.

Finding Memorials

In Europe and North America most towns and villages have one or more memorials: these should be easy to find. However,it might be more interesting to find more unusual memorials, or memorials in unusual locations. For instance in the UK an extensive tract of mountainous countryside in the Lake District consists of two war memorials: the summit of Scafell Pike and surrounding land is a memorial to the men of Cumberland and Westmorland, and a larger area including the summit of Gerat Gable is a memorial to members of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club who died in the First World War. Close by is a footbridge in Ennerdale, the memorial to the Club's members who died in World War Two.


In general all sites should be tagged historic=memorial whether on a node or the way bounding the site. Significant memorials which receive many visits can be tagged tourism=attraction. Note that historic=memorial is only rendered at levels 17 and 18 by mapnik.

Additional suggested possible tags are: memorial=war_memorial, dedicatee=*, memorial:conflict=*.

It is also possible to use historic=monument.

If possible please tag changesets with "PotW" so that we can evaluate how effective the project has been.

Small Memorials

Small memorials such as those consisting of a simple tablet fixed to a wall or a column should be mapped using historic=memorial possibly with a name name=*.

Larger Memorials

Memorials which include mausolea and ossuaries may deserve more elaborate tagging, if it is possible to identify the buildings.

National Memorial Sites

Air Force Memorial, Egham

Some memorials are on extensive sites with buildings, memorial gardens and other features. See for example Vimy Ridge, UK Air Force Memorial. The grounds can be tagged leisure=park leisure=garden or landuse=cemetery depending on the layout of the majority of the site. Larger sites will often by administered by a national body such as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission or the Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, operator=* is then appropriate.


Military cemeteries could also be mapped. Those in France can be mapped using the Cadastre. If possible provide as much detail as possible. Many people visiting cemeteries will be visiting the graves of relatives, adding detail on OSM can help such visitors. For an example of a large military cemetery see Arlington National Cemetery where the individual sections have been mapped and labelled.

Other War Graves

Some countries (for example the United Kingdom) designate wrecks of ships and aircraft as war graves.

Selected Examples from OSM

Here are a number of different examples already mapped on OSM. At present they have a strong bias to Great Britain, additional or alternative examples are very welcome, particularly if they extend the scope either geographically, in terms of the conflicts involved, or nationality of those commemorated.

Type OSM Image Photograph Description Notes
Simple Plaque tba Geograph-1810317-by-John-Sutton.jpg Rowers war memorial on Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Typical Village Memorial tba tba tba
Unknown Soldier tba tba Memorial to unknown soldier In some countries there is a single national monument whereas in others they are local.
Memorial Park Hiroshima peace park.png tba
Large scale memorial Denkmal ermordeten Juden.png Berlin Holocaust Memorial
Ossuary tba tba tba
War Cemetery tba tba tba

External Information and Copyright Issues

There are many sites on the web with extensive information about war memorials, aircraft crash sites etc. Please respect the copyright of the owners of these sites. However, they may be useful to locate memorials in your local area, for an on-ground survey. Examples of such sites are:

About the author

This guest Project of the Week was created by User:SK53.

Jerry Clough received a Garmin GPS as a Christmas present in 2008. Foolishly he downloaded OSM, noticed a nearby street was missing, and promptly sold his soul to mapping. Since then he has mapped large parts of Nottingham, verified about half of Maidenhead, takes a PC on holidays for mapping, and keeps thinking about getting another GPS. Further details on his wiki page User:SK53

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