|waterway = river|
|The linear flow of a river, in flow direction.|
|Rendering in OSM Carto|
|Used on these elements|
|Status: de facto|
|Tools for this tag|
Consider if other waterway values are a better match:
- waterway=stream for small waterways that can be jumped across by a fit adult.
- waterway=tidal_channel for natural tidal waterways within the coastal marine environment with bi-directional flow of water, depending on the tides.
- waterway=canal for a man-made waterway used to carry useful water for transportation, hydro-power generation or irrigation purposes
- waterway=ditch for smaller man-made waterways used for field drainage
- waterway=drain for larger artificial waterways used for the drainage purposes, typically lined with concrete or similar.
For rivers drawn with segments sharing multiple attributes (like names in different languages, Wikipedia/Wikidata entries, distance etc) a relation:waterway should be additionally used to avoid data fragmentation and inconsistencies.
How to map
- Main article: River
Just as with highways, it is important that the topology of rivers is correct. That means, if you can go from one part of the river to an other part of the river via the water, there has to be a piece of waterway=* between them. This implies that a way tagged as waterway=river should not stop on the riverbank of another river, but should proceed to the central way of the other river.
- name=* for the name of the watercourse in the local language if known. For example 'River Thames', 'River Nile', 'Wisła' (note that this should be 'River Thames', rather than simply 'Thames' but 'Wisła' rather than 'Rzeka Wisła'. Both follow locally used name).
- Use the name:xx tag format to add the name of the watercourse in another language, for example name:fr=La Tamise for The Thames.
- width=* to indicate the width in meters. This is an approximate average width of the river throughout most of length of that bit of river. You can use width=5 or width=5 m to tag a river with a width of 5 meters.
- CEMT=* - CEMT is a classification for European inland waterways
- draft=* - Fairway depth
- intermittent=yes - Indicates that waterway or water body is intermittent
- tidal=yes - indicates that the river is in the tidal range
- maxwidth=* - maximum width of boat permitted
- maxheight=* - maximum height of boat permitted
- maxlength=* - maximum length of boat permitted
- maxspeed=* - maximum speed permitted for boats
When the river is longer, it's common to include its ways in a waterway relation. It may help to keep data synchronized. Use relation:waterway, where all the common values (like names in different languages, Wikipedia/Wikidata entries, known length=*, destination=* etc.) can be stored.
Possible tagging mistakes
- Relation:waterway - for drawing long rivers in a relation where you would need several ways connected
- natural=water + water=river - for water body areas
- waterway=stream - A naturally-forming waterway that is too narrow to be classed as a river
- waterway=tidal_channel - A natural intertidal waterway in mangroves, salt marshes and tidal flats with water flow in the direction of the tide
- natural=water + water=river + intermittent=yes - Used to indicate a water body does not permanently contain water
- natural=shingle - An accumulation of rounded rock fragments on a beach or riverbed
- natural=sand - An area covered by sand with no or very little vegetation
- man_made=dyke - man_made=embankment built to restrict the flow of water