Switzerland/Map Features

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Portal for WikiProject Switzerland
Swiss OSM topics are discussed in the Swiss forum and the Swiss mailing list. Both are multi-lingual. Please do not hesitate to pose your questions there.


Value Element Comment Example
motorway way CH-Hinweissignal-Autobahn.svg
trunk way CH-Hinweissignal-Autostrasse.svg
primary way 1st class roads (blue signs with number), transit route. RoadNumber.png
secondary way 1st class roads (blue signs without number) BlueSign.png
tertiary way 2nd class, communication roads (white signs) WhiteShield.png
unclassified way All other roads which form the lowest form of the interconnecting grid network, e. g. 3rd class roads
residential way roads within a residential area in a village/city

Note: Primary and secondary roads according to this classification are listed in Appendix 2 of SR 741.272 Durchgangsstrassenverordnung. Primary roads are listed in section A, secondary roads in sections B and C.


In Geneva, above classification criteria do not produce satisfactory results (there are no number signs at all on the main roads and several 1st class roads listed in section B are actually full length 2x2-lane roads). A specific wiki offers more insight on this problematic and explicits the categorization choices for every primary or secondary highways: Routes principales dans le canton de Genève (sorry, only in French).


State of secondary roads in Vaud

Cycle and Foot Ways

Tag Element Comment Sign
highway=cycleway way only for bicycles and mopeds (mofa=*) CH-Vorschriftssignal-Radweg.svg
highway=footway way only for pedestrians CH-Vorschriftssignal-Fussweg.svg
highway=bridleway way only for equestrians CH-Vorschriftssignal-Reitweg.svg
highway=footway, bicycle=designated way Shared way for pedestrians and cyclists. Cyclists must yield to pedestrians. CH-Vorschriftssignal-Gemeinsamer Rad- und Fussweg.svg
highway=cycleway, foot=designated, segregated=yes way The way is divided by a line into a bicycle and a pedestrian part. CH-Vorschriftssignal-Rad- und Fussweg mit getrennten Verkehrsflächen.svg
highway=path, other tags can be added way All other ways[1]. Without one of above sign.
  1. Only ways with one of the blue signs may be tagged as highway=cycleway, highway=footway or highway=bridleway. Note: there is an old, similar looking, square sign that doesn't have any legal meaning anymore, that shouldn't be tagged!

For Access Restrictions on blue signed ways see Access-Restrictions in Switzerland For tagging of bicycle, mtb and inlinke skate routes (red signs), see EN:Switzerland/CycleNetwork and EN:Switzerland/InlineNetwork.

Other common Signs

Tag Element Comment Sign
way no access for cars and motorcycle [1], mofas [2] allowed!
In combination with "Zubringerdienst erlaubt" motorcar=destination motorcycle=destination
Other common use with "Landwirtschaftlicher Verkehr gestattet" or similar motorcar=agricultural motorcycle=agricultural
CH-Vorschriftssignal-Verbot für Motorwagen und Motorräder.svg
motor_vehicle=no way no vehicles with motor allowed, mofas can be used if the motor is turned off, in combination with "Waldstrasse" (or the equivalent French or Italian term) or "Forstwirtschaft gestattet" motor_vehicle=forestry [3] CH-Vorschriftssignal-Verbot für Motorwagen, Motorräder und Motor- fahrräder.svg
mofa=no way no access for mofas CH-Vorschriftssignal-Verbot für Motorfahrräder.svg


Official languages

Value Element Comment Example
name waynode Usual spoken name name=Zürich
name:de waynode German name if not native (see: [1]) name:de=Zürich
name:fr waynode French name if not native (see: [2]) name:fr=Zurich
name:it waynode Italian name if not native (see: [3]) name:it=Zurigo
name:rm waynode Romansh name if not native (see: [4]) name:rm=Turitg


Schlüssel Element Kommentar Beispiel
name:gsw waynode Alemanisch dialect name (see: [5]) name:gsw=Züri
name:frp waynode Francoprovential dialect name name:frp=Bèrna
name:lmo waynode Lombard/Ticinese dialect name name:lmo=Cusgioeugna

Points of interest

Post boxes

Main article: Switzerland/amenity=post_box
Briefkasten info Schweizerische Post.svg
Tag Required? Comment Example (see picture)
amenity=post_box required Defines this node as a post box
collection_times=* recommended Record the collection times of this post box. Uses the same syntax as opening_hours=* but with just points in time, not time ranges. collection_times=Mo-Fr 18:00; Sa 11:00; Su 15:00
ref=* optional Each post box has a reference number in the bottom right corner. ref=2-6340-18151
post_box:location=* optional Each post box has an address in the bottom left corner. post_box:location=Bahnhof SBB, Bahnhofstrasse 4, 6340 Baar

operator=Die Post
operator=La Poste
operator=La Posta

optional Operator is not necessary as there is only one operator in Switzerland anyway

German: operator=Die Post
French: operator=La Poste
Italian: operator=La Posta

Kindergarten / Childcare

Legal situation: In Switzerland all cantons provide at least one year of Kindergarten and all with the exception GR require at least one year of mandatory attendance. After visiting Kindergarten, all children will attend primary school at the age of around 6.

Tagging: There are unclear instructions on this wiki when to use amenity=kindergarten vs. amenity=childcare. Practice in Switzerland is to use it like this:

Tag For Description
amenity=kindergarten State-operated, mandatory (except canton GR) Kindergarten Lasting 1 or 2 years, before mandatory primary school
amenity=childcare All other forms where parents leave children for childcare (Kita, Spielgruppe, Hort, etc.) While these are are usually privately-operated, a state-operated place to stay and eat lunch between school lessons (german: Hort) would still be a case of amenity=childcare (preferably combined with lunch=yes).

Reference: E-Mail thread on talk-ch mailing list starting with message http://lists.openstreetmap.ch/pipermail/talk-ch/2021-December/011381.html .

ISCED (2011) school levels

Important: There is currently a proposal under way regarding the tagging of ISCED 2011 Education programmes: Proposed_features/ISCED_2011_Education_Programme


The International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) classifies and characterizes types/systems of schools. The ISCED level describes the level(s) of education a school is offering (e.g. primary, lower/upper secondary level, Bachelor's, Master's). This also applies to vocational schools. While school systems differ largely from country to country, ISCED levels are internationally understood, therefore making schools internationally comparable. In Switzerland they are currently (January 2022) also the only (machine-understandable) way to further clarify what is teached at a amenity=school.

ISCED 1997 vs. ISCED 2011

ISCED exists in 3 versions:

  1. ISCED 1976: First standard
  2. ISCED 1997: Second standard
  3. ISCED 2011: Third and current standard

The isced:level=* key was originally based on the ISCED 1997 standard, which had six levels. ISCED was revised in 2011 with eight levels. Level 0 was extended to include even younger programs, while the original levels 5 and 6 were distributed among the new levels 5 through 8. As a result, isced:level=5 and isced:level=6 are ambiguous.

In order to maximize clarity of a tagged ISCED level, the version of the ISCED standard should be mentioned by using isced:2011:programme=*. ISCED levels tagged with isced:level=* would probably interpreted as ISCED 1997, but are ambiguous and should therefore be avoided.

Single- and multi-digit ISCED levels

The ISCED 2011 levels can have 1, 2 or 3 digits.

  • First digit: Level of education
  • Second digit: Programme orientation
  • Third digit: Sufficiency for level completion / access to next level

Usually, longer ISCED level codes should be preferred. However, if you are unsure which one to choose, it's better to use a shorter code than a potentially wrong one.

Some Switzerland-specific notes

  • Sekundarstufe I = ISCED level 2
  • Sekundarstufe II = ISCED level 3
  • Convention for Switzerland: If a school has multiple applicable ISCED levels: separate them using semicolon.

Switzerland-specific list of schools and their ISCED 2011 levels

de: Schule fr: école it: scuola en: school ISCED 2011 1-digit ISCED 2011 multi-digit Typical/theoretical starting age
  • Kindergarten
  • erste zwei Jahre einer Primarschule mit Eingangsstufe (= Grund- oder Basisstufe)
  • École enfantine
  • cycle élémentaire (Grundstufe ou Basisstufe)
  • Scuola dell’infanzia
  • Ciclo elementare con "Eingangsstufe" (Grundstufe o Basisstufe)
  • Kindergarten
  • First two years of primary school if it has a Eingangsstufe (Grundstufe, Basisstufe)
0 020 4-6
Primarschule École primaire scuola elementare primary school 1 10 6-7
Sekundarschule, Realschule, Oberschule Cycle d'orientation Scuola media lower secondary school 2 24 11-12
Gymnasium (sofern Teil der obligatorische Schulbildung) Écoles de maturité gymnasiale / gymnase (s'il fait partie de l'enseignement obligatoire) Scuola di maturità (nel caso che è parte della scuola dell’obbligo) Baccalaureate school = school preparing for the university entrance certificate (if it's part of the compulsory education)
  • Gymnasium (nicht Teil der obligatorischen Schulbildung)
  • Fachmittelschule
  • Fachmaturitätsschule
  • Berufsmaturität (BM1, BM2)
  • Brückenangebote
  • Allgemeinbildende Schule (z.B. Rudolf-Steiner-Schulen)
  • Vorlehre
  • Écoles de maturité gymnasiale = gymnase (ne fait pas partie de l'enseignement obligatoire)
  • École technique
  • Maturité spécialisée
  • Maturité professionnelle
  • Formation de transition
  • École de culture générale
  • Préapprentissage
  • Scuola di maturità / liceo (nel caso che NON è parte della scuola dell’obbligo)
  • scuola specializzate
  • "Fachmaturitätsschule"
  • maturità professionale
  • formazione transitoria
  • "Allgemeinbildende Schule"
  • corsi preparatori
  • Baccalaureate school = school preparing for the university entrance certificate (if it's NOT part of the compulsory education)
  • specialised middle schools
  • specialised baccalaureat giving acces to univerities of applied sciences
  • vocational baccalaureat
  • bridge-year courses
  • general education programmes
  • preparatory course for vocational education
3 34 15-17

Exception Berufsmaturität nach der Lehre (BM2): 18-20

  • Berufliche Grundbildung (Berufsfachschule) (3-4 jährig -> Eidg. Fähigkeitszeugnis (EFZ); 2 jährig -> Eidg. Berufsattest (EBA))
  • Handels(mittel)schule (HMS) = Wirtschaftsmittelschule
  • Informatikmittelschule
  • Formation professionnelle initiale (école professionnelle)
  • Écoles de commerce
  • École d'informatique
  • Formazione professionale di base (scuola professionale)
  • Scuole medie di commercio
  • "Informatikmittelschule"
  • Vocational education and training (=VET) (vocational school = VET school)
  • Trade school Education and Training (Federal VET Diploma)
  • "Informatikmittelschule"
35 15-17
  • Passerelle (= Passerelle 2) = Ergänzung(sprüfung) um mit einer Berufs- oder Fachmaturität eine universitäte Hochschule besuchen zu können)
  • Andere Übergangsausbildungen Sek. II- Tertiärstufe (z.B. Maturität für Erwachsene)
  • Passerelle
  • Autres formations transitoires sec. II – degré tertiaire
  • passerella
  • "Andere Übergangsausbildungen Sek. II- Tertiärstufe (z.B. Maturität für Erwachsene)"
  • preparatory course for University for persons with vocational baccalaureate or specialised baccalaureate for university aptitude test
  • Other preparatory programmes giving acces to the tertiary level
4 44 19-20
(berufliche) Zusatzausbildung Autres formations complémentaires "(berufliche) Zusatzausbildung" Other complementary programmes for people having attained a upper secondary qualification 45
Nicht vom Berufsbildungsgesetz (BBG) reglementierte höhere Berufsbildung Formation professionnelle supérieure non réglementée par la loi sur la formation professionnelle (BBG). higher vocational education, stage I (no regulation on the federal level) 5 55 20-25
  • Bachelorstudiengänge an Hochschulen (universitär, FH, PH)
  • Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) @Fachhochschule
  • Bachelor des hautes écoles (universitaires, spécialisée, pédagogique)
  • Master of Advances Studies (MAS) @Hautes écoles spécialisées
  • Bachelor diploma (università, universitarie professionali, alte scuole pedagogiche)
  • Master of Advances Studies (MAS) @Scuole universitarie professionali
  • Bachelor diploma (universities, universities of applied sciences, universities of teacher education)
  • Master of Advanced Studies@university of applied science (post-graduate)
6 64 PH: 19-23

FH/Univ.: 19-20

MAS: 23-26

  • Eidgenössische Berufsprüfungen (BP) (eidgenössischer Fachausweis)
  • Abschluss/Nachdiplom an höheren Fachschulen (HF)
  • Examen professionnel fédéral
  • Diplôme/Diplôme postgrade d'une école supérieure
  • Esami federali di professione
  • Diploma e diploma postgraduate di scuole specializzate/professionali superiori
  • Federal PET Diploma examination / higher vocational education, stage I
  • Diploma and postgraduate course at PET College/technical school = Colleges of higher education
65 HF Abschluss: 18-20

BP: 20-25

HF Nachdiplom: 24-28

  • Masterstudien an Hochschulen (universitär, FH, PH)
  • Master of Advanced Studies (MAS)@Universität
  • Master des hautes écoles (universitaires, spécialisée, pédagogique)
  • Master of Advanced Studies (MAS)@université
  • Master diploma (università, universitarie professionali, alte scuole pedagogiche)
  • Master of Advanced Studies (MAS)@università
  • Master diploma (universities, universities of applied sciences, universities of teacher education)
  • Master of Advanced Studies (MAS)@university
7 74 Master: 22-23

MAS: 24-28

Höhere Fachprüfungen (HFP) (eidgenössisches Diplom oder Meisterprüfung) Examen professionnel fédéral supérieur esami professionali federali superiori Advanced Federal PET diploma examination / higher vocational education, stage II 75 23-26
Doktorate, Habilitationen Doctorat Dottorato university doctorate 8 84 24-28



Primary author

Primary author of this section is User icon 2.svgskorbut (on osm, edits, contrib, heatmap, chngset com.). If you have suggestions, questions, criticism, contact me per email at ltoggenburger at swissonline ch.