From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search


What about adding natural=sand? There are several places with sand dune formations, some of which can be used as land marks, other might be interesting places to go on holidays. Anyway most of them are dominant land features. --Skippern 19:34, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

natural=sand is something I would more easily associate with a desert, rather than dunes. On the other hand I'm missing a clear distinction between beach and dunes, so if you ask me I'd like to have both natural=sand and natural=dunes. --Tesche 09:36, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

The terms, beach, desert, and dunes are not mutually exclusive. Beach: a sandy area along a shoreline. Desert: a very dry expanse of terrain, usually with hot daytime weather, and sometimes covered with sand. Dunes: small or large hills of sand formed by wind. Large, drifting dunes usually dominate sandy desert terrain. Small dunes are sometimes found on beaches, often loosely anchored by vegetation. (This is my understanding of the terms, anyway.) Vid the Kid 00:42, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, my comment about "a clear distinction" was (more than a bit) misleading. What I meant is that I have a very clear distinction between them in my mind, but am not able to tag it without natural=dunes. That's why I would like to see all possible tags. Actually, I've meanwhile started using it on the german north sea island and am now waiting for it to become popular enough to be rendered. Is there a more promising way to do that and express ones interest than writing in these discussion pages? --Tesche 18:28, 1 November 2010 (UTC+1)
When mapping desert terrain it may be useful to have tags for loose shifting sand as in sand dune areas (and silt?) or dry river beds such as wadis. Maybe wadi and sand beach could use the same signiture as both are more easily drivable than dunes. Besides what about saltpans and the somewhat wetter sabkas or lava flows and harrats? --T.woelk 09:13, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

Ridge crest

What is the convention for a ridge crest ? I'm french, and we have the term "ligne de crête" (litt. crest line). It seems that this notion is not very clear in english wording. For a clear picture, seeête. Of course, this should be a way ; some nodes would be peaks, but the most numerous would be "ordinary" nodes. Gall 18:15, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

I think "natural=ridge" would make sense to me. Maybe someone should officially propose it.
This could be interesting (someday) for watersheds and drain bassins besides from giving a better idea of mountain terrain.--T.woelk 09:02, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree. There is no need for separate rendering of ridges apart from contour lines. But we need to map the names of the ridges. Therefore we need to draw a line along each ridge and tag it with natural=ridge + name=*. Similarly, we need a tag natural=valley in order to map valley names. --Fkv 03:29, 5 October 2011 (BST)

Sparse Trees

Is there a designation for an area that has too many trees to be a heath, but too few to be a wood? (See here for an example.) There are way to many to to set it to a heath and tag individual trees. — Val42 00:27, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

The area in your example does not seem natural. Maybe landuse=orchard? --Fkv 03:11, 5 October 2011 (BST)


Are they forests *not* be owned by someone anywhere?? (King, Government, commune?)

This description need some more work. Also, it's not up to the pictures in the linked page. These don't show primeval forest but just some woods which lacks some thinning work (De:Durchforstung) and can be kindof lazy managed subnatural forest nonethless. It's always the question how to tagg it: natural=wood or landuse=forest. Two mappers may tagg it different and by these examples or descriptions, both may be right and noone wrong! --Taunide 12:33, 7 September 2011 (BST)

In many places in the world forests aren't necessarily owned/or leased; and even if they are, it's difficult to verify. My impression is that natural=wood refers to a normal forest and landuse=forest refers to a tree-farm, or perhaps a garden. (Actually, I think the concept of landuse=forest is a mistake, probably a result of someone trying to match some government's taxonomy). -Alan Trick (talk) 15:12, 15 April 2015 (UTC)


'A narrow channel of water between two larger bodies of water'. Does this belong here or waterway=* ?


Any thought on how to tag "flats"? In mountainous areas there may be small areas that are atypically flat -- perhaps 5-100 acres in size. These come to be natural sites for parking lots, small population centers, ... See (not on OSM) Manker Flats in the Angeles National Forest of California.

Proposal "tundra"

About 5% of the world belongs to the vegetation zone "tundra". Especially every alpine mountain has a zone above the treeline, which is called 'alpine tundra'.

In physical geography, a tundra is a region where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. There are three types of tundra: arctic tundra, alpine tundra and Antarctic tundra. In a tundra, the vegetation is composed of dwarf shrubs, sedges and grasses, mosses, and lichens. Scattered trees grow in some tundras. Alpine tundra occurs in mountains worldwide. The flora of the alpine tundra is characterized by dwarf shrubs close to the ground. The cold climate of the alpine tundra is caused by the low air pressure, and is similar to polar climate. tundra on Wikipedia. In opposite to fell tundra occurs worldwide.

A fell natural=fell (from Old Norse fell, fjall, "mountain") is a high and barren landscape feature, such as a mountain range or moor-covered hills. The term is most often employed in Scandinavia, the Isle of Man, parts of northern England, and Scotland. fell on Wikipedia. In particular this term don't refer to alpine mountains.

Heathland natural=heath is favoured where climatic conditions are typically warm and dry, particularly in summer, and soils acidic, of low fertility, and often sandy and very free-draining. Heaths are dominated by low shrubs. heath on Wikipedia. In particular this term don't refer to alpine mountains.

I propose the new value natural=tundra. --Rudolf (talk) 12:48, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

OK it makes sense. But why don't you create a regular proposal page for it as it is common? Chrabros (talk) 15:24, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
I do regular proposals for new keys, not do add a new value to an existing key. --Rudolf (talk) 20:10, 31 March 2014 (UTC)


How are hills tagged? I am not referring to peaks or summits, but a area below the summit or mountain ridge. In Norway we often have lots of named hills, often several within a bigger nature reserve. Any thoughts?

--Ascaaear (talk) 10:54, 11 October 2015 (UTC)

As far as I know, there is not really a distinction between hills and their summits: The hill is mapped by placing a node with its name and natural=peak at its summit. Of course this is not an ideal solution and fails to solve cases where peaks and hills/mountains have different names, but it stems from the difficulty of defining the borders of the hill (which would be necessary for drawing an area). --Tordanik 15:50, 14 October 2015 (UTC)


Add some word (terrace?) to describe a flat place in the middle of a slope.

E.g., we are climbing up the face of a slope, and discover this flat place where we can lay down to take a rest. Jidanni (talk) 14:25, 12 February 2018 (UTC)

The best I could find was calling it a "grassland" . But that is ground cover, not a landform. Jidanni (talk) 14:36, 12 February 2018 (UTC)

There's natural=plateau for flat, elevated area. But I would map that as a node, not as an area, and it's mainly useful if the feature has a name. If the flat area is surrounded by cliffs, then you could verifiably map it as an area with natural=mesa. Mapping the area as a grassland is fine if that's what the landcover is, since the shape of the terrain is available from other sources. --Jeisenbe (talk) 04:36, 21 October 2019 (UTC)

Natural ???

NATURAL = NOT ARTIFICIAL ... meaning ; as found in nature and NOT involving anything made or done by people

  • so... natural=wood should only be used on old-growth forests
  • also ; natural=tree_row , are 'artificial planted in a row' by people and so NOT natural ...
  • also ; natural=water is often used for mapping on waterways/ponds/etc... , digged/made by people , so, NOT 'natural' should be better with landcover=water, which is all-encompassing , 'natural' water AND 'artificial' water ... --Henke54 (talk) 11:14, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
OSM tags rarely follow strict dictionary definitions, especially for keys. Note highway=path or landuse=forest (used for tree-covered areas). Attempting to take definition of word used as key and apply it as main meaning of tags is not useful "should be better with landcover=water" - I am pretty sure that vast majority of people see no overall benefit in changing key name in cases like this. But feel free to (for example) make use of a proposal process. Maybe I am mistaken and overall people will like this idea. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 15:01, 26 August 2019 (UTC)

See Also Talk:Tag:natural=peak#Man-made_hills_and_peaks. Jidanni (talk) 22:27, 22 January 2020 (UTC)


Mention how to tag a typical w:Badlands area. Jidanni (talk) 23:30, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

I asked about this on the Tagging list. The tag natural=badlands has been used a few times. You could use that on a node at the center of the badlands, or you could map the boundary of the heavily eroded, exposed soil as an area. --Jeisenbe (talk) 04:41, 21 October 2019 (UTC)

Seasonal: Scrub / Grassland / Dry earth

How would you map something like the following area. Seems to have seasonal different vegetation: Scrub or grassland or something like "dry earth" which does not even exist here.

Compare Bing (very old, more green/wet) and Maxar (newer, dry, probably summer). (I have to admit that I have not been to that location, only using aerial imagery, so maybe I should just keep it empty and focus on more obvious areas) --SLMapper1 (talk) 19:50, 24 October 2020 (UTC)

The old imagery shows some bushes or small trees, which have been cut down in the newer imagery. I suspect this is now meadow, pasture or fallow farmland, but it's hard to guess from aerial imagery without local knowledge of the area. --Jeisenbe (talk) 05:51, 25 October 2020 (UTC)
Thanks Jeisenbe. I agree that it is much better if someone with local knowledge maps this and will just leave it as is. --SLMapper1 (talk) 08:49, 25 October 2020 (UTC)