From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Public-images-osm logo.svg natural = wetland
Cepkeliu marsh.jpg
A natural area subject to inundation or with waterlogged ground Edit or translate this description.
Rendering in openstreetmap-carto
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: approvedPage for proposal


A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally. Primarily, the factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation that is adapted to its unique soil conditions.

The water found in wetlands can be saltwater, freshwater, or brackish. Main wetland types include swamps, marshes, bogs and fens. Sub-types include mangrove, carr, pocosin, and varzea.

Wetlands are also typically found at the fringes of rivers, lakes or along the coastline.

See wetland on Wikipedia

How to map

ElementArea.png Add natural=wetland to an area.

Use wetland=* to describe the type of wetland. Some examples:

  • Extended subclassification tags for wetlands with clear water:
    • wetland=wet_meadow - A semi-wet meadow that is saturated with water much of the year. Can be caused by poor drainage or receiving large amounts of rain water or melted snow.
    • wetland=bog - Peat-filled depressions that receive their water and nutrients from rainfall. They are frequently covered in shrubs rooted in the sphagnum moss and peat.
    • wetland=fen - Groundwater-fed peatforming wetlands covered by grasses, sedges, reeds, and wildflowers.
    • wetland=marsh - Replaces natural=marsh. A Waterlogged soil and water with portions of open water (ice or vegetation), normally non-forested and more open than a swamp. Different types of low grasses, or herbaceous (graminaceous, rushes). Similar to a reedbed but with small vegetation and easier to walk through with good visibility.
    • wetland=reedbed - A flooded area dominated by some tall non-woody plants (reeds, bulrushes). Similar to a marsh but with tall vegetation and difficult to walk through.
    • wetland=swamp - An area of waterlogged forest with dense vegetation. Similar to a mangrove, but with non-salted water.
  • Extended subclassification tags for wetlands with salted water:
    • wetland=tidalflat - An area flooded by tides, composed of bare mud, sand or similar sediments.
    • wetland=saltmarsh - A coastal marsh exposed to flood tides, therefore characterized by herbaceous particularly adapted to saline environments.
      • Note: Grid-like ditches/channels in these marshes should be tagged with waterway=ditch.
    • wetland=mangrove - A salt-tolerant forest, forming along tropical coasts. Similar to a swamp, but with seawater. Generally extends over the sea beyond the coastline.

Other useful generic tags:

  • tidal=yes/no Indicates if the wetland is subject to temporary inundation based on the tide.
  • managed=* indicates if the wetland is managed in any form.
  • seasonal=* indicates if the wetland is seasonal.

See also