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Public-images-osm logo.svg place = city
The largest urban settlement or settlements within the territory. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Rendering in OSM Carto
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: de facto

Use the place=city tag to identify the largest settlement or settlements within a territory, including national, state and provincial capitals, and other major conurbations.

How to map

Place a node at the center of the city, like the central square, a central administrative or religious building or a central road junction and tag it place=city.

The following should ideally all be included for a city:

  • name=*: for the name of the city in the primary language for the territory.
  • population=*: for the population of the city or metropolitan area.
  • wikipedia=*: Link to the Wikipedia article in the primary language for the city.
  • wikidata=*: Link to the data set item in Wikidata for this city.
  • capital=yes for the capital city of the country.
  • Use name:fr=*, name:ar=* etc for the name of the city in other languages.

Consider also creating nodes for suburbs and neighbourhoods using place=suburb and place=neighbourhood.

Mapping cities as areas

Some mappers map cities with an area instead of using a node. Cities often do not have a verifiable outline though and different interpretations of the meaning of areas representing populated places exist - more details can be found on the place key page. This method also loses the information on the city center which is important for data users, in particular for routing. Data users should not expect the area geometries of cities to have a particular meaning. An administrative "city limit" boundary is often mapped separately as a boundary relation tagged with boundary=administrative + admin_level=*. Assure the admin_level=* is correct for a "city" in that country.

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!


place=city vs place=town

Historically, in England, where the settlement tags developed, a "town" had a public market (amenity=marketplace), while a "city" also had a cathedral and a royal charter from the monarchy. But some settlements which were recognised as cities in earlier times are now smaller than some towns. Since the range of city population is wide, it is helpful to add the tag population=* to describe the population of the urban area, when possible.

In some regions, the population of settlements is used to differentiate place=town and place=city, but this practice varies between countries. In sparsely populated regions, many settlements tagged place=city are less populous than in regions with high population density.

As of mid 2019, 63% of place=city have a population=* tag, of which the median value is 130,000, and 95% of place=city have a population=* value over 20,000. However, 13% have a population=* value between 20,000 and 50,000.

See also

External links