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Public-images-osm logo.svg highway = street_lamp
A single pole with one or more lights to illuminate the street. Edit or translate this description.
Group: Highways
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Useful combination
See also
Status: de facto


The tag highway=street_lamp is used to map a street light, lamppost, street lamp, light standard, or lamp standard: a raised source of light above a road, which is turned on or lit at night.

How to map

Add a node at the point where the light source is actually positioned (i.e. next to the way lit).

Consider also using lit=yes on the object the lamp points at. (However, since luminous flux diminishes with distance, it's hard to say when an object should no longer receive lit=yes.)

The tag highway=street_lamp is used on node nodes only.

  • node highway=street_lamp
  • node ref=* If the street lamps carry numbers intended to help identifying points on the road. For instance, in some places you could call the police and say that there has been a major car-crash on Big Street, southbound at light pole 35, and the police will know precisely where that is. Those identifiers could also be used for reporting broken light bulbs or issuing permissions to hang posters from certain lampposts.
  • node lamp_ref_swd=* Düsseldorf city only tag for lamp numbers that are not used for navigation, see below.

Typical attributes

Note these attributes have not been voted on, but have been used

Key Values
support How the light element is placed.
  • catenary – Suspended over road/etc. and held by cables, the latter of which are attached somewhere (poles/walls).
  • ceiling – Direct attachment to a ceiling (common locations: pedestrian tunnels)
  • ground – The lamp is in a fixture installed right in the ground (common locations: event venues or parks)
  • pedestal – Something like a bollard, seldomly larger than 1.5 meter.
  • pole – Most common wooden/metal pole, almost always higher than 2 meters.
  • wall – Direct attachment to a wall
  • wall_mounted – Attached to a wall by way of a metal bar
lamp_mount If support=pole, then
  • straight_mast – The light sits atop a mast
  • bent_mast – The light is at the end of a bent mast
  • electric – undetailed electric
    • LED – Light-emitting diode(s). Be wary that a tightly-spaced LED array behind a matte screen may appear the same as a fluorescent tube behind a matte screen.
    • incandescent – Electric light with a wire filament heated until it glows
      • (key not defined) – Tungsten filament
      • halogen – Tungsten halogen
    • discharge – Unspecified discharge lamp
      • mercury – High pressure mercury vapour lamp
      • metal-halide – High pressure metal-halide vapour lamp
      • fluorescent – Low pressure mercury fluorescent tubes (includes CFL/Compact Fluorescent Light)
      • sodium – Unspecified sodium vapour lamp
        • low_pressure_sodium – Monochrome orange light
        • high_pressure_sodium - Orange with a bit of white
  • gas
light:colour Unless a lamp is specifically a decorative light, municipal street lighting will present itself almost exclusively to be either orange (sodium) or white (everything else) and any discolorations are either due to lamp aging, dirt buildup, or variations in chosen color temperature.
light:count Number of lights on a pole. (As for LED lamps, the modules are counted, not the individual diodes.)
light:lit Time of day that the light is turned on.
  • 24/7 – all the time
  • dusk-dawn – automatic based on clock or outdoor brightness sensed at some central location
  • motion – controlled by a motion sensor
  • demand – manually operated
  • or opening_hours-style syntax thereof
  • spherical – light shines in all directions (usually implies absence of light:direction)
  • cylindrical – light shines in all directions except into the sky
light:tilt -90 for pointing onto the street/pavement, 0 for sideways, 90 for pointing upwards, and anything inbetween
light:direction Numerical map direction (0=north, 90=east, etc.) the light points to

Variations (not currently tagged)

The suspending is commonly done by placing the lamp on top of a pole at the edge of a road or between lanes. Lamps may be mounted on the middle of a roadside power pole instead of a dedicated pole, although the latter may support low voltage power lines (power=minor_line) for electricity supply for the lamps. Another common scheme is to have the poles hold up a suspended carrying wire from which the lamp(s) hang.

In cities, the existing buildings sometimes replace the poles in either scheme. Occasionally, street lamps are attached to other structures of convenient height, such as bridges or road signs.

The mechanism and procedures for turning off and on street lamps vary a lot. Common schemes include turning them on/off at fixed times using a clock, turning them on/off a fixed interval from sunset/sunrise using a more complex clock, turning them on based on a light sensor (which tends to also turn them on in some weather conditions) and turning them off again late at night when there is less traffic. Some schemes also involve only turning on every second street lamp some of the time.


Street lighting in Göttingen differentiated by lamp type (sodium, CFL, LED and other)

See also

  • lit=* for tagging that a highway has some class of illumination.
  • tower:type=lighting
  • Proposed features/lamp - more flexible tagging of lamps, including street lamps
  • operator=*: "If the vast majority of a certain object in an area is operated by a certain organization and only very few by others then it may be sufficient to only tag the exceptions."

Special tags for gas lamps

Currently there is a project to map all gaslighted way streets and all gaslight node lanterns in the town of Düsseldorf. See: Düsseldorf/Projekte/Gaslaternen

To show which source of light is used the way highways are tagged with:

Special tagging used in Düsseldorf for gas lamps

(Many of these tags may also be applicable to electrical lamps, though no general scheme has been defined)

Possible tagging mistakes

If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
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