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Public-images-osm logo.svg border_type
Marks the difference between different types of borders, such as maritime boundaries or imported borders. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: boundaries
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasmay be used on relations
Documented values: 2
See also
Status: approvedPage for proposal

border_type=* is a key which has frequently been filled by automated data imports, and has also been approved to specify the type of maritime boundary.

Most often it specifies the type of border the import describes. Since the imports themselves were not consistent with one another in their use of the tag, its use among mappers is also inconsistent. Like TIGER imported tags in the United States, border_type=* is generally not consumed by map data providers, and only provides guidance to mappers for creating appropriate boundary relations.

With boundary=maritime, the tag border_type=* was approved to specify 4 types of maritime borders, including the Baseline (border_type=baseline), Contiguous Zone (border_type=contiguous) and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) (border_type=eez)

border_type=* is not used by Nominatim to determine a boundary's named type. Nominatim only uses admin_level=* and place=* for classifying administrative boundaries.

Maritime borders

See page of boundary=maritime for usage of the following values:


Country specific


An import in China used the values:

  • province
  • prefecture
  • county
  • township


Used admin level values in Lithuania:


Admin level values for Portugal (as approved in this proposal):

Tag Use
admin_level=2 border_type=nation
admin_level=4 border_type=região_autónoma
admin_level=6 border_type=distrito
admin_level=7 border_type=município
admin_level=8 border_type=freguesia

United States

An import of US states used the tag border_type=* to give the name of the boundary's type. Currently-known values are:

  • territorial (including Commonwealths and the District of Columbia) corresponds to admin_level=4, though when it is on maritime boundaries (United States Minor Outlying Islands), the corresponding tag is admin_level=2
  • state corresponds to admin_level=4
  • county (in states), municipality (in territories) correspond to admin_level=6
  • township usually corresponds to admin_level=7, though there are exceptions
  • city, town usually correspond to admin_level=8, though there are exceptions
  • village corresponds to admin_level=8 or 9, depending on the state (or territory: admin_level=6 in Guam)
  • unincorporated_place corresponds to admin_level=8 emerging (2024-Q1) in New England; see our community forum.

These should give the legal status of the boundary. This may be different from the place=* value or the admin_level=*. The values "territorial" and "municipality" (specific to territories, not states) have been added after the above-noted import. "Municipality" is included on the same line as county to indicate that in territories, Municipality is assigned admin_level=6, the same as county, regardless of its name ("island group," "district," "municipio," "village," "unorganized atoll," et cetera).

See also

  • place=* - Defines the center or outline of a named place.