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Proposal status: Abandoned (inactive)
Proposed by: User 5528
Tagging: landuse=highway
Applies to: area
Definition: To identify an area of land on which a highway together with any associated footways and verges are constructed.

Rendered as: solid color underneath all other rendered features
Draft started: 2009-10-06
RFC start: 2009-10-06, 2013-11-16 and 2013-12-04
Vote start: 2013-12-04 (suspended)


Queensland property boundaries - most of the white space in this image could be tagged with landuse=highway instead of being left blank

To identify an area of land on which a highway together with any associated footways and verges are constructed. This tag can also be used for land set aside for roads where the actual road or path may or may not have already been built.

Associated tags

An optional Key:ownership can be used to distinguish between national, state, county, municipal, or private ownership. Default ownership would be assumed public. In jurisdictions where ownership is ambiguous or irrelevant the tag should be omitted.

  • A suburban road corridor (including the road and the road reserve) which is legally owned by the residents but which is maintained and controlled by the county, would be ownership=county.
  • Within a gated community where the road is maintained by a homeowners association it should be tagged with ownership=private.
  • On the other hand, the area underneath a private driveway owned and controlled solely by the owner of the larger parcel of land would not use this tag, since the area is not "legally set aside for shared use". The area would be part of the larger parcel, tagged with landuse=residential, landuse=commercial, landuse=farmyard, etc.


There are lots of these areas that don't fall under any of the current landuse, natural, or leisure categories. It is necessary to allow generation from OSM data maps of landuse (like


like landuse=railway, the actual highways would go on top of the landuse

As with most landuse tags, this should be rendered as a solid color underneath all other rendered features. Renderers might choose to render the area a different color depending on the value of the ownership key (especially if the value is "private").

The highway itself would be drawn on top of the landuse. If the highway is drawn with the correct width there would ordinarily be a gap between the edge of the highway and the adjacent landuse area. That's the section that this landuse area would help determine how to render. For example, a federal interstate might cut between two farms. The farms would be tagged landuse=farm. The federal-owned land between the farms would be tagged landuse=highway, ownership=national. And the paved section(s) of the interstate itself would be tagged highway=motorway.

According to the Tag:landuse=grass page area with managed grass on verges beside a road, in the middle of a roundabout etc may be additionally tagged also as "landuse=grass". Renderers might choose whatever in situation like this grassy areas should be marked.

See also


Please comment.

This is an inspired move. In Queensland, Australia we've just had access to our cadastral fabric (property boundaries) opened up to us. The landuse=highway tag appears to be useful as we get more and more into micromapping. It appears your intended use of landuse=highway fits the description of the unbuilt voids between the properties in our cadastral fabric. More specifically, there will be cases where the right of way exists, and we might initially map it as highway=road (because the cadastre indicates it but the aerial photography is ambiguous), but then when you do a field survey, you work out that no road structure has actually been built. I would assume that the unbuilt area is what you intend to assign with landuse=highway. In this case it's not a park or a reserve, at best it could be described as a road reserve. Usually it's been left in its natural state. However, you may not be able to distiguish further between (for example) landuse=grass or natural=wood as you may not be in a position to tell what kind of ground cover it actually has. However I'd discourage the additional use of the ownership= tag as (at least in Queensland) all road reserves appear to be created equal. The maintenance responsibility appears to be assigned to the built roads only (in our case, federal, state or local government level). --Morb au 21:44, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

  • It looks like you have a similar file for parts of Australia to the one I have for parts of Florida. Even if there is no maintenance requirement on the unbuilt "road reserve" areas, isn't there a certain entity which has the exclusive right to build in that area? That's who I'd call the "owner". But maybe that doesn't apply in Australia. I added a note that "ownership" should not be filled out in jurisdictions where that information is "ambiguous or irrelevant". Anthony 22:18, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
  • I support this proposal, which appear to cover a glaring omission in our Landuse tagging system. PeterIto
  • I support this proposal. The existing Highway tagging is fine for navigation, but Landuse needs to gives full coverage for mapping. PealRinger
  • Unless I've misread, this would *not* apply only to the unbuilt areas, but for instance also to the space between buildings through which we currently draw only a linear road. See this discussion for more details. I support this proposal for this kind of use. -- JDub 12:07 GMT+2, 5 Sept. 2012
  • I definetely support this proposal. As there are more and more micro-mappers, this has become quite urgent. Also, landuse analysis using OSM data could then include a "transportation" category in the future. --Joschi81 (talk) 05:59, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Every day a new opinion... I think its optional for tagging large areas which are used as "highway", especially motorways with lots of lanes which take up much space in demanding, for the same reason as large rivers get an additional area "waterway=riverbank", another way is maybe to tag it as an "area-highway". It's complicated, everyday I map I learn more and more special things who put my opinion in question. --Lasstmichinruhe (talk) 14:30, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I would like to see the rationale section extended with potential applications, rather than just "it exists". I can see applications for the on-the-ground extent of an highway, i.e. area:highway=*, but currently not for landuse=highway (which is generally just an invisible zoning boundary as far as I can tell). --Tordanik 10:08, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I support this proposal - anybody tring to fill the whole area with a useful landcover/landuse will need this sometimes. Kempelen (talk) 22:42, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
  • I support this and I probably will try to start a vote Bulwersator (talk) 14:51, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
  • I support this proposal, but would not insist on visible boundaries or property recintions. I would leave out this part: "up to a boundary or barrier separating this land from private property." because it doesn't matter if there is public or private property and whether there is a barrier or not, the important part of this tag is to map the land dedicated to the highway use (not only the paved area, but also verges, ditches etc.).--Dieterdreist (talk) 21:02, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

Voting - suspended for clarification

Please use {{vote|yes}} or {{vote|no}} and give your reasons to oppose. Use --~~~~ to sign your user name & date:

  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. Bigfatfrog67 (talk) 18:39, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. --Dieterdreist (talk) 18:44, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. I like to be able to tag any used land with at least one landuse tag, and roads currently don't have one. Math1985 (talk) 18:55, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. Marek Kleciak I strongly oppose this idea! I´m sure, the most of people understand wrong the idea behind this proposal. Suggested area is in a lot of cases difficult to define and often identical with the street area which is real needed for navigation and rendering. I used as scientifical consultant of cadastrial offices in Germany such areas for visualization. It looks simply wrong and often false. There was no practical usecase for this areas except of cadastrial definition of ownership.
    • "Suggested area is in a lot of cases difficult to define" - can you give examples? I agree that it requires both survey on the ground and high quality aerial images - but I never had trouble with this Bulwersator (talk) 20:23, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
    • "There was no practical usecase for this areas except of cadastrial definition of ownership." - see for map that is using this kind of data. Moreover I am quite interested in how land is used in my city - and I see no better way to obtain data like "area used for highways" Bulwersator (talk) 20:23, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
      • That example doesn't even list roads in its map key, unless I'm mistaken. And because e.g. landuse=residential includes many residential roads, this won't tell you the total area used for highways - unless you intend to change the definition of the existing landuse tags, too. --Tordanik 11:38, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. Poppei82 It is necesary for the aerial images are very good and we in OSM are mapping the real world... and between landuses and highways there are no white spaces. That doesn't mean that every road should have a landuse=highway, but for great roads this is absolutely welcome --Poppei82 (talk) 19:18, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. lasstmichinruhe --Lasstmichinruhe (talk) 19:31, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. Oli-Wan (talk) 20:06, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. Aighes (talk) 20:07, 4 December 2013 (UTC) There is already a more detailed (inofficial) tag for mapping highways as areas, area:highway. An official tagging shouldn't be less detailed then an inofficial one.
    • landuse=highway to area:highway is like landuse=residential to building=*. And anyway, voting was suspended Bulwersator (talk) 20:10, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. streckenkundler (talk) 21:21, 4 December 2013 (UTC) A distinction between road, footpath, crossing and etc. is urgently needed.
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. Nop
    • What is the point of voting without explanation, after suspension of voting? Bulwersator (talk) 21:05, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I propose to stop the voting. For the future of OSM the mapping of the street-geometry is very important (e.g. for autonomic car). The mapping of this should be defined better and should be more dicussed. I think it is to early for a voting.--LordOfMaps (talk) 19:07, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I propose to stop the voting. --L30 (talk) 19:43, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I propose to stop the voting. --MarekKleciak (talk) 19:45, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
    • Street_area and Proposed_features/area:highway are not opposing. landuse=highway is about mapping area used for highway infrastructure: carriageway, sidewalks, associated cycleways, grass along road, ditches, embankments etc etc. Street_area and Proposed_features/area:highway map only area of carriageways. Bulwersator (talk) 19:47, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
      • But due to confusion I agree with suspension of voting Bulwersator (talk) 19:48, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
        • I added links and some explanation of differences, I would welcome more suggestions. Bulwersator (talk) 19:53, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
          • I also added area:highway to place tagged with landuse=highway to show difference I hope that it is enough to explain that it is only a related proposal, not opposing one Bulwersator (talk) 20:09, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
            • There should be only one proposal for the mapping of the street-geometry including the whole area (like landuse=railway) and the carriageway-geometry. Due to the importance there should be a extensive dicussion before a voting. --LordOfMaps (talk) 20:25, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
              • Why there must be one proposal for mapping two different things? And I really would welcome suggestions for attracting feedback before starting discussion. Bulwersator (talk) 20:28, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I propose to stop the voting. It is completely unclear on how highway= mapping should continue beyond mapping the single road and a collection making up the full street e.g. sidewalks, cycleways etc. It is clear that mapping the extent of the street in addition the the mittle of the road/way with a line will become reality. How will this proposal fit into this. Tagging the middle of the road to get a network or routable streets. Mapping the extent of the street to get zoom/proportional correct street withs, and mapping the full road including all additional ways. --Flohoff (talk) 20:45, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
    • This proposal is about mapping how land is used (landuse=highway), not about mapping exact geometry of roads Bulwersator (talk) 21:08, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. --miklobit (talk) 21:44, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
    • What is the point of vote without explanation, after suspension of voting? Bulwersator (talk) 21:20, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. --Madeco (talk) 22:42, 4 December 2013 (UTC) this is just a way to make the map uselessly complex with a new tag

Current Taginfo