Proposed features/advertising

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Status: De facto (active)
Proposed by: dieterdreist
Tagging: advertising=*
Applies to: node,way,area,relation
Definition: for advertising elements like billboards and advertising columns (morris columns)

Drafted on:
Proposed on: 2011-05-07
RFC start: 2011-05-07
Vote start: *
Vote end: *
This tag being a De Facto standard, this page is not maintained any more, and readers should refer from now on to advertising=* or its localized translations. Please make additions on the feature page and not on this proposal page.

Proposed key

This is a proposal for a new key advertising=* to tag advertising objects.

As of 2016-04, the proposed key has reached over 20000 uses. The feature pages have been marked as De Facto usage.


Advertising signs, screens and other objects are often landmarks and used by people to orientate in the landscape or used as waypoints when they describe directions to other people. They often play an important role in defining what a particular site or area really looks like, so omitting them would be a pity.

Proposed Tagging

Applies to nodes Mf node.svg, ways Mf way.svg, areas Mf area.svg and maybe relations Mf Relation.svg.

Tag Values


Used to describe advertising

Key Value Comment Icon Photo
advertising billboard billboard
A billboard advertising=billboard, which is lit (lit=yes)
advertising column Advertising columns
Morris Column
advertising flag Flagpole

man_made=flagpole and advertising=flag

Banners of XXXV Polish Film Festival in Gdynia 2010 - 2.jpg
advertising sign Advertising signs, also neon signs (use luminous) and logos
When Does the Match Start^ - - 1193161.jpg
advertising screen Advertising Screens
Advertising Sign, Piccadilly Circus, London W1 - - 1098037.jpg
advertising sculpture Advertising sculptures
Old Street Landmark.jpg
advertising wall_painting Advertising wall paintings
Levi Strauss sign.JPG

This table is a wiki template with a default description in English. Editable here.


  • luminous=* - the object is light emitting, e.g. neon lights
  • animated=* - the object is animated
  • display_type=led/lcd/plasma
  • revolving=* - the object is turning. Interesting for columns, but probably for other objects, too.

Suggested combinations

In some cases it might be useful to have one or more of the following tags attached to further describe the advertising object.

  • brand=*
  • faces=* - amount of "front faces", default is 1 (see also amenity=clock
  • lit=* - the object is lit
  • direction=* - to define the orientation of the billboard (exposure to the ad depends on this)
  • height=* - the height of the advertising object.
  • width=* - the width of the advertising object.
  • ref=* - can be used to add a (e.g. registration) number, useful in some areas where a formal permit is required to set up advertising.
  • informal=yes - can be added for advertising in areas where formal permit would be required but the object was mounted without this permit.
  • operator=* - the company that operates the billboard
  • landmark=*
  • visibility=* - see amenity=clock
  • billboard_count=* - number of billboards when using advertising=small_billboards
  • level=* - to define if the billboard is underground use -1 (eg. for subway advertising)
  • support=wall_mounted - can be added for billboard fixed on the wall.

advertising=yes can be added for bus stops (amenity=bus_station) that have advertising on them (or with benches amenity=bench)


Software support

OSM2World renders billboards (with direction=*), columns and man_made=flagpole.