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Public-images-osm logo.svg water = lake
Blowdown Lake.JPG
A natural or semi-natural body of relatively still fresh or salt water which is surrounded by land Edit this description in the wiki page. Edit this description in the data item.
Group: Water
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: approvedPage for proposal

Lake: a natural or semi-natural body of relatively still fresh or salt water, localized in a basin that is surrounded by land. Artificially created lakes should instead be tagged as water=basin, water=reservoir or water=pond. Intermittent lakes (which disappear seasonally) should be tagged with intermittent=yes; salt lakes — with salt=yes. Also see water=lagoon for salt water bodies next to the sea and water=oxbow for lakes formed by the meanders of a river.


For  Lake Baikal area tags would be as follows:



Lakes with one or more islands in them should be mapped as multipolygons.

First, map the island(s).

  • for each island, draw the outline area of the island by tracing its shoreline
  • add place=island or if it is very small place=islet
  • optional landuse=* can be added. For example, if the island is wooded, add landuse=forest or natural=wood.
  • if the island has a name=* of its own, add it here too

Next, map the lake outline.

  • draw a closed way area following the lake's shoreline
  • do not add any tags to this way – the lake's tags will instead be put on the parent relation

Finally, create a type=multipolygon relation.

  • tag the relation as natural=water and water=lake. Other tags describing the lake (e.g. name=*, intermittent=*, etc.) should also go on the relation.
  • add the lake outline as a member with role outer
  • add the island(s) as members with role inner

See also

  • water=oxbow - a U-shaped lake that forms when a meandering river changes course
  • water=pond - a body of standing water, man-made in most cases, that is usually smaller than a lake
  • water=lagoon - a body of shallow sea water or brackish water separated from the sea by a barrier
  • landuse=basin or water=basin - An area of land artificially graded to hold water
  • water=reservoir - an artificial lake or reservoir formed by a dam across a natural water course or depression
  • OSM Inspector Water