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A super-relation is a relation that contains other relations. Relations have initially been created to contain nodes, ways or areas and combinations thereof. From a technical point of view, relations are limited to 32,000 members to help facilitate processing by external tools.

A super-relation is referred to as a 'parent' in Osmosis. The hierarchical structure of super- and sub-relations is also called a 'nested relation'.


Nested relations are virtually undocumented and rarely used because the good practice "Relations are not categories" limits their use cases. However, there is an effort to process them.

  • Routes, especially national and international cycling and hiking routes should be rendered by Waymarked Trails
  • boundaries are used to build a hierarchy tree by
  • bi-directional linking to Wikidata on Property P402

An example of a super-relation is the EuroVelo Route 15 - Rhin bicycle way relation 2171555. It contains four members for each of the countries it passes plus one connection between countries. Each member is itself a super-relation and has many bicycle route relations as members each for a small part of this very long bicycle route.

See also