From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Public-images-osm logo.svg man_made = tower
A tower is a free-standing structure which is higher than it is wide. Edit or translate this description.
Rendering in OSM Carto
Tower freestanding.svg
Group: Buildings
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Useful combination
See also
Status: de facto


A tower is a free-standing structure which is higher than it is wide. It can stand alone or as a part of a bigger building. Towers are typically built from wood, steel, bricks, stone or concrete.

In comparison a man_made=mast is often a single mast of concrete or steel. A tower is accessible and provides platforms, whereas a mast only offers ladder steps to climb it.

It is distinguished by a radio tower or telecommunications tower (man_made=communications_tower), which is even larger (> 100 m) and has the transmission facilities in the tower dome.

Engineering definition

In structural engineering, towers are free-standing vertical structures, supported by own foundation only. It means, no additional external guying and anchoring structures are used for towers.

Required Tags

Note that these are tags for towers. The key tower:type is also used for masts in combination with man_made=mast, for example the communication type can occur with towers or with masts.

Key Value Comment
man_made tower A man made tower
tower:type communication Communication towers
observation Observation tower
watchtower Watch Tower
defensive Fortified defensive tower
cooling Cooling tower
bell_tower Bell tower or church tower
minaret A minaret
further see the page
service aircraft_control Aircraft control tower

Optional tags

Some general tags which are used across many other types of object are used to tag communication towers:

Key Value Comment
name * Name of the tower.
ref * Reference number of the tower.
operator * Maintainer/Operator of the tower structure.
material * Material the tower is made of.
height[1] number
in meter
Height of the top of the tower (including any antennas) from ground-level in meters. In the case where the tower is mounted on top of a building the height should include the height of the building.
ele * Elevation of the bottom of the tower above sea-level in meters.
access * Physical access to tower, most likely private but some towers have viewing platforms.
viewpoint yes The tower has a very nice view.
source * Where did the data come from?
url * URL link to a website with information about this tower.
website * Official website of this tower (if any).
mimics * Used with communication to categorize infrastructure camouflaged as a natural or built feature.
tower:construction * The construction or architectural form of the tower.
See Taginfo values of tower:construction here.
lattice The tower is constructed from steel lattice
freestanding The tower is freestanding 'heavy' construction such as concrete, steel or wood
dish The 'communication tower' is a parabolic dish
dome The 'communication tower' is a dome (or 'golf-ball') construction, with antenna elements concealed from view by a  radome.
concealed The 'communication tower' is concealed/disguised (for example: hidden inside of a church steeple). (Compare mimics.)
tower:insulated yes The 'communication tower' is insulated against ground.
building (see the page) Some historic large tower architectures no longer have their initial intended usage and may be inhabited.
  1. The height is a crucial feature of a tower and is also considered during rendering. So it is important to specify the height as much as possible.

See also

Not approved tagging

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!