Sri Lanka Tagging Guidelines

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Road Classification

According to Survey Department of Sri Lanka, the major roads are divided into six main categories:

  1. Expressway (E)
  2. Main Road (A)
  3. Main Road (B)
  4. Secondary/Minor Road
  5. Jeep/Car Track
  6. Footpath


See below for details of commonly used tag values in OSM compare with Survey Department of Sri Lanka Road Classification:

Sri Lanka Road Classification OSM Tag Visual
Feature Name Implementation Entity Description Key Value Element Rendering Photo
Expressway(E) Road Development Authority (RDA) A highway especially planned for high-speed traffic, usually having few if any intersections, limited points of access or exit and A wide road (more than 30m width or less than 30m width) for high speed transportation. highway motorway way
Rendering-highway motorway neutral.png
Sri Lanka Expressway.jpg
Main Road(A) Road Development Authority (RDA) The most important roads in a country's system that aren't motorways. (Need not necessarily be a divided highway). and Inter-provincial trunk roads Connecting major cities and ports and access to link the province to province. highway trunk way
Rendering-highway trunk neutral.png
Sri Lanka A Class Road.jpg
Main Road(B) Road Development Authority (RDA) The next most important roads in a country's system. (Often link larger towns.)Intra-provincial arterial roads connecting major urban areas. highway primary way
Rendering-highway primary neutral.png
Sri Lanka B Class Road.jpg
Secondary/Minor Road (C & D) Provincial Road Development Authority (PRDA) of relevant Provincial Council The next most important roads in the country's system. (Often link smaller towns and villages.) and Minor feeder roads connecting settlements with markets and other activities places. highway secondary way
Rendering-highway secondary neutral.png
Sri Lanka Secondary and Minor Road.jpg
Jeep/Car Road In-house Road Maintenance Unit of Municipal/Urban Council or Local Authority Local roads providing access to specific location (Example: Roads access to religion places, historical places etc...) highway residential way
Rendering-highway residential.png
Sri Lanka Jeep and Car Track.jpg
Jeep/Car Track A roads providing access to plantation, forest, irrigation, etc… Usually unpaved. highway track way
Highway track.png
Jeep&Car Track.jpg
Footpath For designated footpaths; i.e., mainly/exclusively for pedestrians. This includes walking tracks and gravel paths. highway path way
Path osm.png
Sri Lanka Footpath.jpg

Road surface status

One should indicate the physical surface of the road with the surface tag:
Generically, a hard surface (asphalt, cobblestone, concrete...) is indicated with surface=paved and a soft one (ground, sand...) with surface=unpaved.

If more precise information is available, please use the following actual material instead of paved or unpaved: If available, instead of paved use:

If available, instead of paved use:

See pictures and more detailed description for each surface here: highway=*

By default, primary/secondary/tertiary/unclassified/residential and service highway=* are supposed to be paved. If it is not the case, one must mention it, especially if the surface is soft. When potholes represent more than 50% of the surface, the way may be considered as unpaved.

In opposite, highway=track are supposed to be unpaved by default.

In addition to surface material, on can indicate "viability" or "roughness" of the road with smoothness=*. This should help determining which kind of vehicle may use the road or the track.

Building Characteristics

This model has been created and used extensively for the exposure mapping project done in District of Batticaloa.

Building usage

Key Value Element Comment Photo
building residential area A general tag for a building used primarily for residential purposes. Where additional detail is available consider using one or more areas tagged as 'apartments', 'terrace' or 'house'.
Residential in Batticaloa.jpg
building commercial area A building where non-specific commercial activities take place; use office=* to describe the type of office. Consider tagging the area using landuse=commercial. Use 'retail' if the building consists primarily of shops.  Building used for retail shops, private companies, garages, food and fish markets, education institutes, computer classes, restaurant, guest houses , Bank etc...
building industrial area A building where some industrial process takes place. Use warehouse if the purpose is known to be primarily for storage/distribution. Consider using landuse=industrial for the surrounding area and the proposed industrial=* tag to describe the industrial activity.Garment factories, quarries, other factories for mass production
Eley Industrial Estate1.JPG
building hospital area A building which forms part of a hospital. Use amenity=hospital for the hospital grounds.All kind of public and private hospitals including dispensary
Teaching Hospital Batticaloa.jpg
building school area For any generic school buildings. Buildings for specific uses (sports halls etc) should be tagged for their purpose. Use amenity=school for the perimeter of the school grounds.All the government and private,Pre schools up to tertiary education
Convent School's Pippal.JPG
building place_of_worship node area A church, mosque, or temple, etc. Note that you also need religion=*, usually denomination=* and preferably name=* as well as amenity=place_of_worship. See the article for details.
Place of worship.png
building government node area All the central, provincial and local government office including Grama Niladari office at village level
Government building.jpg
building Utility node area Electricity, water, telephone, mobile telecommunication service stations,etc...
Dialog service centre.jpg
building construction area Used for buildings under construction. Use construction=* to hold the value for the completed building.
Riga, stavba.jpg
building roof_without_wall area A structure that consists of a roof with open sides, such as a rain shelter, and also gas stations
Preem Karlskrona.jpg
building abandoned area Derelict bike repair shop that can't be brought back into use easily. It's still a building, however: most of the roof's still on, and the walls are standing. The tagging reflects its former use, its state of abandonment, and the fact it's still a building.

Principal material of construction of the walls

Key Value Element Comment Photo
building:material plaster area Plaster is a building material used for coating walls and ceilings. Plaster is manufactured as a dry powder and is mixed with water to form a paste when used. The reaction with water liberates heat through crystallization and the hydrated plaster then hardens. Plaster can be relatively easily worked with metal tools or even sandpaper. These characteristics make plaster suitable for a finishing, rather than a load-bearing material. Plaster
building:material exposed_brick area Brickwork is masonry produced by a bricklayer, using bricks and mortar. Typically, rows of bricks are laid on top of one another to build up a structure such as a brick wall. Plaster
building:material exposed_cement_ block area Plaster
building:material tin_sheet area Plaster
building:material Clay_wall/Mud area Plaster
building:material Cadjan/Palmyrah area Plaster

Principal material of construction of the roof

Key Value Element Comment Photo
roof:material Clay/Ciment_Tile area A tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, stone, metal, or even glass, generally used for covering roofs, floors, walls, showers, or other objects such as tabletops Plaster
roof:material asbestos area Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals which all have in common their eponymous asbestiform habit: long (roughly 1:20 aspect ratio), thin fibrous crystals. They are commonly known by their colors, as "blue asbestos", "brown asbestos", "white asbestos", and so on. Plaster
roof:material concrete area roof system in a building, or the deck of a bridge, which simultaneously supports gravity loads.

Diaphragms are usually constructed of plywood or oriented strand board in timber construction; metal deck or composite metal deck in steel construction; or a concrete slab in concrete construction.

roof:material permanent_Zinc_Sheet area A metal roof is a roofing system made from metal piece, or tiles. It is a component of the building envelope.

Metal roofs protect buildings

roof:material Tin_Sheet/Temporary Zinc area Plaster
roof:material Cadjan/Palmyrah/Straw area Plaster

Number of Stories

If it is more than single story building indicate number of stories by counting number of floors. Roof top will not be considered.and Given the wide range of different apartment blocks, it is useful to add some additional building tags, such as:

  • building:levels=* : the number of floors (including the ground floor) in the building

Foundation height

Key Value Comment Image
building:foundation_height Normal (1_feet_or_less) Foundation height should be 1_feet or less_than_1_feet from surface Normal.JPG
building:foundation_height Knee_high (1.5 feet) Foundation height should be 1.5_feet from surface Knee high.jpg
building:foundation_height Waist_high (3 feet) Foundation height should be 3_feet from surface Waist high.jpg
building:foundation_height Higher_than_3_feet Foundation height should be higher_than_3_feet from surface Higher than.jpg

Number of faces for the main roof

Key Value Comment Image
roof:face 1 face (lean-to) 1 face (lean-to).jpg
roof:face 2 faces (pitched)
roof:face 4 faces (hipped) 4 faces (hipped).jpg

You can characterize the building roof using a catalogue of well known roof types. Additional roof shapes may be introduced later (S3DB_Proposals), including advanced approaches for manual modelling (e.g., ProposedRoofLines or parts of OSM-4D/Roof_table).

Image Roof0 0.jpg Roof1 0.jpg Roof2 0.jpg Roof2 3.jpg Roof2 4.jpg Roof2 5.jpg Roof4 0.jpg Roof4 2.jpg Roof5 6.jpg Roof8.jpg Roof5 0.jpg Roof3 1.jpg
roof:shape flat skillion gabled half-hipped hipped pyramidal gambrel mansard dome onion round saltbox

Land Use Classification


See below for details of commonly used tag values in OSM compare with Survey Department of Sri Lanka Land Use Classification:

Sri Lanka Land Use Classification OSM Tag Visual
Feature Name Description Symbol Key Value Element Rendering Photo
Park A large open space with grass and trees, especially in a city,where people can walk, play games etc.
Symbol -park.jpg
landuse=* park node area
Arena Roundhay 07.JPG
Forest A field in which trees are grown.
Symbol Forest.jpg
landuse=* forest node area
Fort Nelson Forestry.JPG
Paddy A field in which rice is grown in water.
Symbol -Paddy.jpg
landuse=* farmland


node area
Paddy field2.jpg
Coconut A field in which coconut trees are grown.
Symbol -Coconut.jpg




node area
Chena A field in which chena are grown.
Symbol -Chena.jpg
landuse=* meadow node area
Landuse Meadow.png
Scrub A field in which low trees are grown.
Symbol -Scrub.jpg
natural=* scrub node area
Starr 010831-0015 Morella faya.jpg
Grass land A field in which grasses are grown. See also landuse=meadow, landcover=grass, natural=grassland.
Symbol -Grass land.jpg
landuse grass node area
Mapnik landuse grass .png
084 Green grass lawn background, green mowed grass free photo.jpg
Rock A areas where a lot of rocks are scattered.
Symbol -Rock.jpg
natural=* rock node area
Gainfarn froschstein.jpg
Sand A areas where are covered by sand.
Symbol -Sand.jpg
natural=* sand node area
Kalabrien Ricadi Sandwellen 2129.jpg
Canals, Rivers and Streams A canal is a long narrow stream to transport water. A river is a natural and continuous flow of water in a long line across a country into

an ocean, lake etc. A stream is a small scaled natural water flow. It is narrower than a river.

Symbol -Canals and stream.jpg
waterway=* Canals, Rivers and Streams node area
Nau im Langenauer Ried 600x450.jpg
Lake A large area of water surrounded by land.
Symbol Lake.jpg
waterway=* natural=water node area
Natural water.jpg
Tank A reservoir that is associated with a dam.
Symbol -Tank.jpg
waterway=* natural=water node area
[[Image:| 100px|center]]
Reservoir Area A lake, especially an artificial one, where water is stored before it is supplied to people's houses.
Symbol -Reservoir.jpg
waterway=* reservoir Area node area
[[Image:| 100px|center]]
Lagoon Area An area of ocean that is not very deep, and that is almost completely separated from the ocean by rocks, sand, etc.
Symbol -Lagoon.jpg
waterway=* natural=water node area
[[Image:| 100px|center]]

Drain and Ditch

All rivers, canals and streams should normally be represented as a linear ways. The main types are waterway=river, waterway=canal or waterway=stream, waterway=drain and waterway=ditch. This way used should point in the direction of water flow and connect with other linked waterway features to create a routable network.

Tidal sections of a waterway can be tagged with tidal=yes and if it is intermittent use intermittent=yes. If a stream starts as as spring, the node can be tagged with natural=spring. The name=* tag is used to hold the name to the watercourse, and wikipedia=* for a link to a related Wikipedia page.

Point features used along to watercourses include waterway=weir, waterway=dam and ford=*. A section of waterway within a lock between the lock gates can be tagged with lock=* with node tagged waterway=lock_gate at each end. The name of the lock can be added using lock_name=* and/or lock_ref=*. boat=*, ship=* and CEMT=* tags can be used to specify if boats are allowed to use the watercourse.

Man-made structures

see also Water management

Where a river or stream goes under a road, railway or similar the upper way should be tagged with bridge=yes and layer=1, or alternatively tag the watercourse with layer=-1 and tunnel=yes or tunnel=culvert (used for streams and drains). Where a canal is carried over an aqueduct the way should be tagged with bridge=aqueduct.

Use man_made=pier for structures projecting out over the water and add a mooring=yes tag if boats can be moored alongside.

Tag water towers using man_made=water_tower and pipelines with man_made=pipeline and also type=water, type=drain or type=sewer as appropriate. For sewage treatment plant use man_made=wastewater_plant. Hydro plants should be tagged with power=generator and generator:source=hydro. For hydrometric measurements of the elevation and the volume use man_made=monitoring_station in combination with monitoring:water_level=*.