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Public-images-osm logo.svg man_made = pipeline
A major pipeline carrying gas, water, oil, etc.
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasuse on relations unspecified
Useful combination
Status: approvedPage for proposal

The pipeline key is used for major pipelines carrying liquids, gases or slurry. The pipeline may be above ground, under water or underground. Common types include gas, water, oil, slurry (mineral ore), sewage.


Way The following tags are used in combination with man_made=pipeline:

  • name=* the official name of the pipeline
  • ref=* use this tag to specify a short, unique identifier for the pipeline. This value is used to logically link pipelines and markers together. Usually, marker plates already contain such a unique identifier.
  • location=* the location of the pipeline:
List of possible location=* values
Key Value Description
location underground for pipelines under ground, not visible on the surface
overground for pipelines over ground, located close to the surface, not allowing a person or vehicle to pass underneath.
overhead for pipelines over ground, located at a height allowing persons or vehicles to pass underneath. use other tags like maxheight=* if applicable. Where the overhead pipeline might affect commercial shipping (crossing a navigational canal or river), consider the use of seamark:type=pipeline_overhead
underwater for pipelines running below the surface of land-based bodies of water, like lakes or rivers. For pipelines at sea, use the Seamark tagging scheme.

combine with layer=* if applicable.

  • diameter=* specifies the nominal diameter of the pipeline, in millimeters.
  • pressure=* specifies the nominal pressure within the pipeline, in bar.
  • count=* By design, some media require a pair (or more) of parallel pipelines, i.e. forward and return flow for heat pipelines. This tag specifies the number of pipelines running in parallel. Use this tag only if all pipelines run in parallel and have the same properties, like e.g. diameter. Otherwise, draw a separate way for each pipeline.
  • inspection_gauge=yes if the pipeline features a sender or receiver for an inspection gauge, use this tag on the section of the pipeline way where the sender/receiver is located.
  • place:origin=* specifies the place=* (town, city, ...) where the pipeline begins. If applicable, use the name as specified in the place=*'s name=* tag.
  • capacity=* specifies the capacity of the pipeline. free text, only for information, since the unit commonly used usually depends on the medium. i.e. barrels/day, m³/h, l/s
  • flow_direction=forward/backward/both use both to indicate that the medium within the pipeline may flow in both directions (loop configuration). use forward if the flow is in the direction of the pipeline way, backward otherwise.
  • substance=* the substance transported within the pipeline. If the medium is not known, do NOT specify this tag. (this tag replaces the former type=* tag).
  • usage=* closer classification of the network this pipeline belongs to:


List of possible usage=* values
Key Value Description
usage flowline pipelines delivering the medium from the well in the ground to the nearest field gathering station substation=field_gathering
gathering pipelines transporting the medium from gathering stations to the central processing station substation=central_processing
injection pipelines on oil & gas fields used to pump gas or water down the well to increase reservoir pressure
flare_header pipelines transporting gas to a flare stack
export pipelines transporting the medium from a field's central processing station to a pumping / compressor station along the main transmission network.
transmission pipelines, usually of large diameter and high pressure, transporting the medium over long distances.
facility pipeline network within a refinery or surrounding a compressor station or part of some other industrial facility
distribution network of pipes delivering the medium (usually from a substation=distribution) to customers (i.e. households), usually in municipalities
penstock pipe delivering water from a reservoir to turbines of a hydroelectric power plant

Node the following tags can be used on nodes of the pipeline:

  • pipeline=marker if the marker plate contains no position=* information, it is assumed that it is positioned directly above the pipeline. in this case, tag the appropriate node on the pipeline as pipeline=marker (see below)
  • depth=* the vertical distance from the pipeline to the surface of the ground or sea, in meters.

Pipelines at sea

use the Seamark tagging scheme for pipelines and installations at sea (over or under water), especially the CATPIP related ones. The transition between the OSM standard and the Seamark schemes takes place where the pipeline enters / leaves the sea.

This is also applicable for pipeline installations on land, which may affect commercial shipping (i.e. pipelines over canals etc.)

Related Features

Photo Primary Tag Description
IMG 1645.JPG pipeline=marker Marker indicating the path of an underground pipeline, mounted on poles, walls, pedestals etc. With different covers and colours.
Valve.jpg pipeline=valve Valves are elements located on pipelines to control the flow of the medium.
Pipeline Facility 1.jpg pipeline=substation Facilities required for pipeline operation.
Pipeline Measuring Point.jpg measurement=* Measurements taken in from pipelines.
man_made=flare A tower constructed to burn off excess gas.


Photo Tags Note
Pipeline Impressions 09.jpg man_made=pipeline
name=West 4 E1-VL Sektion 2
ref=4W 020000
(temporary) open end of the W4 pipeline during construction. already underground, but not yet buried.
TransAlaskaPipeline.jpg man_made=pipeline
name=Trans Alaska Pipeline
Trans Alaska Pipeline

See also