Proposed features/Network

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The proposal Network was built without a vote and the tagging is widely established based on this proposal. The Feature Page for the proposal Network is located at Key:network.

Proposal status: Proposals with undefined or invalid status (inactive)
Proposed by: Hawke
Tagging: network=*

Rendered as: n/a
Drafted on: 2007-06-10


Provide a generic way to show an entire named route network. While it's currently possible to show "all cycleways" or "all subways", it's less easy to show all of a particular system.

Applies to

  • Ways



network=name of network

network_ref=reference for section of network

Deprecates keys/values



National Cycle Network, BART, Docklands Light Railway, Green Circle Trail


No special rendering, this would only provide a way to filter routes so as to produce maps of a particular system.


The last example is my personal interest in this feature. --Hawke 22:29, 11 June 2007 (BST)

Example of the sort of map that could be created with the aid of this key. --Hawke 22:29, 11 June 2007 (BST)

  • I like this. I mapped the M7 Cycleway in Sydney (a dedicated cycleway built in conjunction with a new motorway). It has a main route (easy to tag) but also lots of short feeder paths to get on or off it. It would certainly be nice to make a map emphasizing both and that is not possible at the moment. It could also be used to tag informal networks, for example "Long distance footpaths in the UK", "short walks suitable for children". MikeCollinson 10:49, 11 June 2007 (BST)
Glad you like it. I see a problem with using it for informal networks as you describe though, since a way easily could be part of multiple informal networks. Of course, that can happen on "formal" networks as well; anyone have suggestions?

--Hawke 23:25, 21 June 2007 (BST)

The problem with multiple network is which network_ref referes to which network, since the meaning here is not display but filtering, wouldn't it possible to put the network_ref inside the network ?? example : network=network#ref ??? The # can be parsed when filtering.--PhilippeP 09:43, 18 August 2007 (BST)

I think thi is a good idea. I don't see problem in repeating tags (one way can be set in multiple networks). --Kubajz 12:51, 2 July 2007 (BST)

Great idea. I think it will fit a whole range of networks. For instance the long distance hiking network in Europe could fit into it. One question. Please explain the relation with Map_Features#Route in the Map_features.--rvanderh 09:56, 15 August 2007 (BST)

Is this still alive? I think it would be great for subways, which I am interested in currently. --Ebrelsford 05:00, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

The name "network" conflicts with the existing use of network and needs to be changed. --Nop 07:11, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
This should not be object of a proposal, because it is just a rendering issue. See XAPI for instructions how to see networks. --Lulu-Ann 14:07, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

I don't think this should deprecate route=* as this should have a different function than the route tag. If route=road than network=* can be used to determine what type of road it is, and that way let the renderer know how references should be rendered. At the moment renderers only renders the ref according to a few countries, and does not take into account for shapes, multiple colors, multi-colored text, symbols, etc. I would prefer a tag that can tell the renderer what rules to apply, and network is one such tag. Bear in mind that a road with one ref=* can belong to various networks, so there must be a logical way to solve this. I would also suggest that relations is the best place to use this. Remember that some routing software are rendering signs that can be used to guide the drivers, these ref numbers must be linked correctly to be rendered correctly in such software. I would like to see somebody come up with some sort of table of the various render rules we need, and how they can link to a network tag. I am more than willing to fill in the rules for the signs I know. --Skippern 11:40, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

Abandonned/Inactive ? No !

This proposal has been incorrectly marked as inactive, when it is in fact very active, and used now de facto (it has even been approved for use in several mailing lists and talk pages for various countries and in several languages; many pages on this wiki about local projects are describing networks and trying to complete them); it really helps managing collection of routes or route that form a network from a wellknown local operators (most often municipalities or urban areas, sometimes entire countries for long distance railway networks)...

In large cities (and their urban areas with which they share lines) with many lines, it is difficult to complete and maintain the full network accurately (and notably for their many bus lines when there are regular changes in routes with variants grouped in route_master's, plus many interconnection platforms with various transport systems), and make sure that it is still complete and accurate in OSM, so that we can really create usable transport guides. Bus lines notably are frequently broekn when streets are modified and no longer connect correctly, and it's no longer possible to find accurate routes.

These relations help performing various consistency, completeness and connectivity checks, notably because most public transport network operators are now releasing open data about them, which are now being integrated in OSM. The goal is not necessriloy to render them on map, but people are really searching for them in Nominatim and attempt to navigate in the listed lines (route_masters) and routes, to find their way. Various applications are also now developed to use them. Note that a single network may use several transport modes (buses, subways, trams, trains, high speed trains, ships/ferries, airways...) and they frequently cooperate with other transport services or locally with other operators (with whom they cooperate either on shared lines, or via interconnection platforms such as taxis, car sharing, car&bike renting...).

The relation-based scheme also allows several networks to share the same route's/route_master's, for which it is not possible to tag a single operator. Some networks also include several operators working mostly for the same single network (depending on lines or transport modes): public networks are frequently regulated by law, which may delegate the operation to several competing private operators (that operate on over several networks), so there are official websites for the networks (integrating all lines from multiple operators), and separate websites for operators (integrating lines and offers for several public networks, or their own private offers). — Verdy_p (talk) 15:12, 19 October 2016 (UTC)