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Public-images-osm logo.svg water = river
Volga Ulyanovsk-oliv.jpg
The water covered area of a river Edit or translate this description.
Group: Rivers
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areasshould not be used on relations
See also
Status: approvedPage for proposal


The water covered area of a river, used with natural=water. Should contain a waterway=river way inside.

Also see the more common tag waterway=riverbank

How to Map

Draw the outline area of the river and add natural=water + water=river.

For long rivers the area should be split into several segments of manageable size (Area 1 and Area 2 in the image below).

In addition a way way tagged as waterway=river, must be drawn in the direction of the river flow (way 4 in image). All tags of the river (like name=* and other supplemental tags) should go to this center line.

More information on river area mapping can be found under waterway=riverbank.


To map islands in a river you can use a multipolygon relation and the island and the main river bank should be included in the relation. The main riverbank way (way 1 in image) will have the role 'outer' and the way for the island (way 2 in image) will have the role 'inner'.

illustration of the several involved ways in river mapping


The area of the river is tagged with waterway=riverbank alone - this tagging is more common

See Also

  • waterway=riverbank - The water-covered area of a river (more common tag)
  • waterway=river - used to map the river as a line, following the main flow of the river. Required.