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Public-images-osm logo.svg natural = spring
A place where ground water flows naturally from the ground Edit or translate this description.
Rendering in openstreetmap-carto
Group: Natural
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 spring is a locally limited area where groundwater discharges at the surface from an underground aquifer.

Springs are features located in a rural or mountainous environment, with different flow magnitudes, ranging from millilitres to several cubical meters per second. Some have major importance as the headwaters of streams and rivers.

A few of them may have a man made stone structure or fountain to gather the water for drinking purpose; such spring should be tagged refitted=yes, to model these human-made modifications.

Some springs are impressive due to their high discharge, like the fontaine du Vaucluse. Especially in dry areas, springs are traditionally prominently marked on topographic maps.

How to Map

Add a node node at the centre and tag it with natural=spring. The area area can be drawn for large springs.

Use natural=water if there is a significant water pool around the spring.

Hot Springs

natural=hot_spring has been proposed for hot springs and although not approved the feature description has been marked as "de facto" since December 2015. According to Wikipedia there is no universally accepted definition of a hot spring[1], instead it should be mapped as hot_spring if it is locally known as hot or thermal spring.

Another documented tagging scheme for hot springs for recreational use is a public bath with bath:type=hot_spring.

Tags to use in combination

  • name=*
  • drinking_water=yes/no Indication whether a feature provides drinking water.
  • drinking_water:legal=yes/no the water is checked and approved by public authorities
  • seasonal=no/yes/winter/wet_season/... Indication whether the spring is active only in a certain season.

Karstic springs

A spring can be part of a karst system: its water may come from ponors or estavelles, and from several of them. If so, tag the spring also with karst=yes; that would model the spring as karstic, meaning that it throughput and the quality of its water may greatly vary. You may also want to map the relation between it and the other members of the karst system; if so, please read sinkhole=* to know how.

Proposed additions

Use water_characteristic=* to specify mineral, gas or other content if notable. This could be multivalued, but usually there is a main name giving characteristic which should the first value. See Proposed features/Hot Spring for details. Main values (please amend):

  • mineral - mineral salts
  • sulfuric
  • radon
  • mud
  • mineral, hot water, salty spring
  • intermittent or perennial
  • discharge
  • chalybeate - iron salts

See also

  • natural=hot_spring
  • natural=cave_entrance Some spring, especially resurgence are also caves.
  • amenity=drinking_water Place to get "drinking water" in smaller amounts for personal usage (hiking, spa, ...).
  • amenity=fountain A fountain for cultural / decorational / recreational purposes.
  • man_made=water_well A man made excavation in the ground to gain water from an aquifer.
  • sinkhole=* A spring may be part of a karst system, made of several sinkholes and spring interconnected by underground water flows.