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Public-images-osm logo.svg natural = sand
Kalabrien Ricadi Sandwellen 2129.jpg
An area covered by sand with no or very little vegetation Edit or translate this description.
Rendering in openstreetmap-carto area
Natural sand 100.png
Group: Natural
Used on these elements
should not 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



An area covered by loose sand with no or very little vegetation. Sand is usually understood to be fine grained loose rock material with grain sizes between 0.0625 mm and 2 mm. In nature, sand occurs mostly as either wind blown deposits (sand deserts, dunes) or deposited by water on beaches or in form of sandbanks in the sea or in rivers.

How to map

Draw an area area and add natural=sand.

Mapping caveats

This tag should not be used for:

  • beaches, i.e. stretches of sand at the coast formed by wave action from the ocean - use natural=beach + surface=sand instead.
  • flat areas with a sand surface that are water covered at high tide but exposed at low tide - use natural=wetland + wetland=tidalflat + surface=sand instead.
  • bare ground areas with a significant fraction of finer (silt, clay) or coarser material (gravel, scree, shingle) - for some of these other tags exist (natural=scree, natural=shingle)
  • underwater sandbanks - use natural=shoal instead.
  • solidified sand, i.e. sandstone - use natural=bare_rock instead.
  • coarse mapping of larger non-vegetated areas, i.e. deserts - use natural=desert instead.
  • individual dunes in a larger sand covered area - use natural=dune instead.

If used for artificial sand areas like golf courses make sure to apply the appropriate tags indicating the purpose (like golf=bunker).

See also