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Public-images-osm logo.svg power = minor_line
SSE Power Distribution 11kv power lines - geograph.org.uk - 5221535.jpg
Minor power lines forming the distribution grid, usually carried by poles. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Rendering in OSM Carto
Power minor line.png
Group: power
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Useful combination
See also
Status: de facto

Minor power lines are physically smaller than the high voltage pylons/towers and used for power distribution, are tagged as power=minor_line. Mostly supported on single poles, although sometimes the poles can have several supports, or may use towers when crossing obstacles where sufficient clearance is required.

Minor lines may be anything providing power distribution, from interconnected 20,000 volt lines powering a small suburb, to a single cable running from a street lighting pole to the next one. This tag will apply mostly on the lines that form the distribution grid.

Be careful not to mistake aerial telephone cables (or the like) for power lines.

For transmission lines, usually carried on tower, use power=line.
For underground or underwater power cables use power=cable.

How to map

Draw a way way following the path of the cables. The poles that support the minor line can be mapped using node power=pole. It is not necessary to tag power lines with a layer=* unless two lines cross over each other.

If the lines connect mid air at a crossing point without any ground support then use power=connection on the node connecting them.

Key Value Comment Recommendation
power minor_line It's a minor power line, normally mapped as a way. Mandatory
voltage <operating voltage> The voltage at which the line is operated. May be semicolon-separated if there are multiple voltages. Recommended
cables <number of conductors> The number of different phase conductors for this power line. Usually multiples of 3 (6, 9, 12) Recommended
circuits <number of circuits> The number of separate electrical circuits carried by this power line. For the common 3-phase systems, it's no. of conductors/3 Recommended if not implicit
<line operator> The name of the company which operates this power line Recommended
<line owner> The name of the organisation that owns this power line Optional
wires <wire bundle per conductor> The bundle form factor for each conductor of the power line Optional
frequency <operating frequency> The frequency in hertz at which the power line is operating. May be semicolon-separated if there are multiple frequencies. Optional
name <name> The name of this power line Optional
ref <reference> The reference of this power line Optional

Line supports

The poles that support the minor power line can be mapped using nodepower=pole and towers with nodepower=tower and you may find extensive information on each pages.

It is possible to connect power lines to power=portal inside power=substation using power=insulator on the connecting node. power=terminal is also used at the connection with buildings without a dedicated power tower or portal to support the end of the line.

The choice between towers and poles not only depends on the importance of the line but on the surrounding environnement as well. As distribution lines are very capillary, poles are preferred to support them and it also possible to find towers when necessary. You are encouraged to check the shape of support: lattice or solid metal pieces assemblies for towers and single wooden or concrete parts for poles.

Since power lines conductors are usually uninsulated, they can only be located overhead to protect them from grounding with external elements and actually insulated with air.

Additional tags

When known, you can also add at least these tags to further define the line:

  • voltage=* Nominal voltage (in volts), for example 20000 or 400.
  • cables=* Number of the cables carrying current; Likely values are 1/3/6. Ground wires are not included. Neutral is not usually counted, other than lines connecting to the end customers.
  • ref=*
  • name=*
  • operator=*



In addition to rendering on power lines on OSM Carto the following services are also available:

See also

Possibly tagging mistakes

If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!