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Public-images-osm logo.svg water
Nowitna river.jpg
Specification of a water body
Group: Natural
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Documented values: 4
Useful combination
Status: approvedPage for proposal

This tag is used to specify what type of water body is tagged with natural=water, and must be used only in conjunction with it (see obsolete uses). When the latter tag is omitted, it's up to a renderer to decide whether natural=water is assumed.

Possible values

Tagging Description Sample photo
A lake: a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin that is surrounded by land. Artificially created lakes are ponds or reservoirs. Intermittent lakes (which disappear seasonally) should be tagged with intermittent=yes; salt lakes — with salt=yes.

This value should be considered default for natural=water, when no water or other descriptive tags are specified.

Blowdown Lake.JPG
A lagoon: a body of shallow sea water or brackish water separated from the sea by some form of barrier. It's better to specify saltness of water with salt=yes/no. GlenrockLagoonFromLeichhardtLookout.JPG
A pond: a body of standing water, man-made in most cases, that is usually smaller than a lake. Salt evaporation ponds should be tagged with landuse=salt_pond, open-air swimming pools — with leisure=swimming_pool. Branddam-Beder.jpg
A reflecting pool: a water feature found in gardens, parks, and at memorial sites. It usually consists of a shallow pool of water, undisturbed by fountain jets, for a calm reflective surface. USA 09562 Boston Luca Galuzzi 2007.jpg
A reservoir or an artificial lake is used to store water. Lakevyrnwysummer.jpg
An area of land artificially graded to hold water. For more details you can use basin=*. Linz regenrückhaltebecken.jpg
A body of a canal, a man-made channel for water. Should contain waterway=canal way inside. MurtfaltalrDanubeChannel.JPG
A body of river. Should contain waterway=river way inside. Volga Ulyanovsk-oliv.jpg
The body of a fish pass for the fish to pass waterway dams or weirs. Should contain waterway=fish_pass way inside. Fischtreppe Isar bei Pullach.jpg
An oxbow lake: U-shaped body of water formed when a wide meander from the main stem of a river is cut off to create a lake. Nowitna river.jpg
A lock chamber outline: a part of river, canal or lake system, level of which can be manipulated. The mapping of a lock and its parts is described on wiki-site lock=*. HeidelbergLock2.jpg
A deep, wide defensive ditch, normally filled with water, surrounding a fortified habitation. Naarden kl.JPG
A clarifier/settling basin of a wastewater treatment plant. Maybe a landuse=basin should also be added. The whole area of the plant should get a man_made=wastewater_plant, BTW. Sewage.jpg
A stream pool; a small and usually deep collection of fresh water, supplied by a spring, or occurring along a stream or river. Water velocity in the pool is typically much lower than the watercourse. Frequently found below a waterfall. Stream Pool "Jump Rock" along Macquarie Rivulet, Macquarie Pass, NSW, Australia.


For Lake Baikal area tags would be as follows:


Rivers and reservoirs

This tag implies that all water bodies are tagged uniformly, with natural=water and water=*. There were several cases when this pattern was broken: river bodies, reservoirs and, occasionaly, ponds. Now all those features can be tagged with natural=water, but the original tags may be preserved for legacy renderers (although there's not many cases when their processing is different from natural=water).

So, those are equivalent, while natural=water scheme is preferred:

Obsolete uses

See also

Possible Tagging Mistakes

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!

Attention: relations with type=lake are also used to map lake depth lines, so the relation is completely unrelated to multipolygons

Not rendered

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!