Proposed Features/totem pole

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Status: Draft (under way)
Proposed by: Jfact0ry
Tagging: man_made=totem_pole
Applies to: nodes
Definition: A monumental sculpture carved on a pole made from a large tree.
Rendered as: node
Drafted on: 2015-09-02


Totem poles are found throughout the Pacific Northwest of the United States and British Columbia, Canada. They have significant cultural, historical, and artistic value. New poles are still being constructed to this day.

Totem poles sitka.jpg


Totem poles dot the landscape of areas rich in cultural history. Each totem pole has a unique story and/or meaning. Having totem poles mapped will help people connect to the history of a place. A totem pole tag in OpenStreetMap will allow people to keep a database of totem poles and categorize different features like the name, carver, and culture.


Sitka, Alaska's National Historical Park features a totem pole collection that contain over a dozen totem poles, some of which are over 100 years old. Totem poles can be found in other areas throughout the Pacific coast of North America.


The man_made tag with a value of totem_pole for a node would be sufficient to map totem poles. A culture tag could distinguish between varying cultures that are known to carve totem poles and have unique customs for pole-carving. Eg. Tlingit, Haida, Gitxsan, et al.

Applies to



Features/Pages affected

There have been a few different tags for this feature. contains the tag "culture=totem pole". and each are tagged with historic=monument, monument=totem_pole. This is a possible alternative, but I suggest man_made=totem_pole due to its efficiency.


There was some discussion of the tag and the proposed feature in this forum thread