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Public-images-osm logo.svg place = locality
A named place that has no population. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: places
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areas (and multipolygon relations)may be used on relations
Useful combination
See also
Status: approvedPage for proposal

The place=locality tag is used to name an unpopulated location for which there is no extant feature to which the tag could be associated.

How to map

Place a node at the appropriate location and add a place=locality tag together with name=*. wikipedia=*, note=*, source=*, and similar tags are strongly encouraged to explain the use of place=locality.

Examples of use

French-speaking regions

In French-speaking regions, this tag is often used for Lieu-dit, eg a vineyard, a meadow, field, part of a woodland, or several hills. Many of these could instead be mapped with a specific natural feature. Examples:


place=locality is used in Germany to record, among other things, “Flurnamen”, these are traditional place names in the countryside. They would have originally referred to something specific such as a field, a group of trees or the side of a hill. The feature they originally referred to may have been forgotten or no longer exist but the name is still in use. Many of these names are only known to locals, and sometimes it is only older people who still use them, but they should only be added if they are still in use. See also the German-language page and, as an example, this area.


place=locality has been used extensively in Ireland to map townlands and subtownlands, which are small geographical divisions of land. The tag is used on boundary relations alongside locality=townland and locality=subtownland (for details, see those pages).

United States

place=locality is used in the United States to describe locations of former human settlements for which all taggable features are gone, but which still see use (and/or have value) as named locations. This is most frequent in the case of former hamlets, or for historical railroad stations or railroad junction locations. There may or may not be contemporary road signs which indicate the existence of the location. There may be other named and taggable elements near its location, such as a cemetery. GNIS is a common source of such locations, as are USGS topo maps and historical plat maps.

  • Consider using abandoned:place=* for formerly inhabited places that still have some physical traces, eg abandoned buildings
  • Consider using railway=junction for railway junctions and junction=yes for highway junctions

Other uses

This tag sometimes is used in addition to rarely used or unusual tagging scheme (for example natural=dune + place=locality + name=*), as an example of tagging for the renderer.

When not to use this tag

To define any feature that already has a suitable tag schema in OpenStreetMap. For example:

For some of these tags, however, there exist possible exceptions:

  • A continuous, named, wooded area can be broken up into multiple connected areas tagged landuse=forest or natural=wood. One then has to choose between three options with different tradeoffs:
    • If the continuous area is small enough, it can be tempting to create a single overlapping multipolygon, covering the full wooded area, in order to tag it with name=*. One can then choose to tag the area either as:
      • landuse=forest or natural=wood, creating overlapping landuse/landcover, which is considered by some as bad practice.
      • place=locality, breaking with the above prescription, but avoiding landcover overlap.
    • For larger areas, on may use as of yet unsupported group or cluster relations.
  • The same issue occurs for wetlands with subdivisions.
  • ...and for subdivided reservoirs, like Lake Mead.

For populated places, including farms and isolated dwellings, see place=*. For a name that is associated with a natural or physical feature it is better to add a name=* to the element that describes that feature.

Also consider creating a new tag if you would like to map a specific feature that does not yet have an established tag. Searching Taginfo is a good way to find tags that may be in use but not yet documented on this wiki. If you have the time, you can document your idea for a new tag with a Proposal page.

If a name isn't rendered for the populated place or named feature, this is a problem with the map renderer itself, as described below.

Don't use place=locality just to force a name to appear on a feature

Although place=locality will always show a locality's name in Openstreetmap-carto, this does not justify tagging for the renderer when a taggable feature doesn't show its name on the map. In these cases, the renderers themselves should be fixed/upgraded, along lines of "please render the name=* on this tagged feature".

Examples, current and former