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Public-images-osm logo.svg place = town
0.2014 Sanok, von Kościuszkistrasse aus gesehen.JPG
An important urban centre, between a village and a city in size. 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: de facto

Use place=town to identify an important urban centre that is larger than a place=village, smaller than a place=city, and not a place=suburb. Towns normally have a good range of shops and facilities which are used by people from nearby villages.

How to map

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

Additional tags:

  • name=*: for the name of the town in the primary language for the territory.
  • population=*: for the population of the town, perferably including the whole urban area, if known.

Mapping towns as areas

The most common method of mapping towns is with a node placed at the center. Some mappers however map towns with an area instead of using a node. Towns 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 town center which is important for data users, in particular for routing. Data users should not expect the area geometries of towns to have a particular meaning.



place=town vs. other settlements

Historically, in England, where the settlement tags developed, a "town" had a public market (amenity=marketplace). This is no longer the main distinguishing feature, but in general most place=town have more shops and services than smaller settlements such as place=village. It can be helpful to add the tag population=* to describe the population of the settled area, when known.

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

As of mid-2019, 34% of place=town have a population=* tag, and the median (average) value in the database varies by country, from as low as 3000 to as high as 35,000. But 95% of place=town have a population=* value between 1000 and 70,000.

See also

  • place=suburb - A part of a town or city with a well-known name and often a distinct identity.
  • place=hamlet - A smaller rural community, typically with fewer than 100-200 inhabitants, and little infrastructure.
  • place=village - A smaller distinct settlement, smaller than a town with few facilities available with people traveling to nearby towns to access these.
  • place=city - The largest urban settlement or settlements within the territory, larger than a place=town
  • capital=* - for the capitals of countries (capital=yes), provincial/state capitals (capital=4).