Talk:Key:protect class

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This talk page is intended for discussion of protect_class=* values.
General discussion about protected area tagging should be posted to the talk page for boundary=protected_area.

Talk page intends to "inheret" relevant discussion from boundary=protected_area

Talk:Tag:boundary=protected_area suggests that topics more-relevant to protect_class=* be discussed here. So, let's do that. I begin by outlining what protect_class=* values render now, and then ask renderer authors / contributors (especially Carto) to sketch their future plans for rendering protect_class=* values (if they have discussed or made any such plans). Yes, we want to tag (worldwide, that's difficult) in a way that is correct, robust and understandable, we also wish for these taggings to eventually render (with the understanding that it isn't strictly required that they do).

Also, there is a new proposal for re-working protected_area=* at User:ZeLonewolf/Proposal:Key:protected_area#Proposal. As it is quite new, I have not yet expressed an opinion on it as I continue to study it. I will do so there, not here, but there may be some overlap in these disucussions. I mention it as it does contain an exposition of current Carto rendering of protect_class=* values, and so can be part of a good start to this disucssion. Stevea (talk) 18:23, 14 September 2020 (UTC)

I have gone through and moved all relevant protect_class=* discussion here, with helpful infoboxes to help guide discussion to the right talk pages. ZeLonewolf (talk) 03:41, 12 October 2020 (UTC)

While it is fine to copy the relevant discussions here, I think the first several below are not actually about protect_class: the first is about protect_id (which was proposed earlier), for example. And the last is about rendering, not mentioning protect_class at all. It's rather confusing that these discussions were all deleted from Talk:Tag:boundary=protected_area and moved to here instead. --Jeisenbe (talk) 04:34, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
Yep, you're right about the protect_id discussion -- I'll put that back. I thought it would be more useful to the community to have each discussion only be in one place. ZeLonewolf (talk) 04:48, 12 October 2020 (UTC)

Misleading tag names

For me the tag name "protect_id" is misleading because for me, an ID is an identifier (see wikipedia:identifier). It should be unique and can be used to identify an unique object (like a name). Here the meaning of "protect_id" is (if I got it right) to indicate the IUCN Category. It is a classification tag. Why not rename it protect_class, protect_category, or maybe protect_level? Damouns 09:52, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

hi Damouns,
may be - its itself no "unique expression" but together with the boundary=protected_area - system it is not misleading.
no, its not to "indicate the IUCN Category" only:
Concept: for the sake of independence, don´t think the IDs coupled with the IUCN categories.
class, category, level, ... - a "non-hierarchical" key was needed ... A hierachic might only be interesting for zones inside an area.
You might use protect_id without boundary=protected_area unique ...
thanks for your comment! Best regards, --Typoshrub 11:43, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

You didn't get it. For example in the pages of each area has an ID: Etangs Vaillant, Du Crêt Et Du Fort got the ID 345899 (it is the WDPA ID, as indicated in the right panel). The ID is a tool to find an unique area, as in an url such as Two distinct areas must have different IDs. The value you suggest to enter in protected_id isn't an ID. It is a class, a category, a type, a genre... as you want but not an ID. Damouns 12:26, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
Hi Damouns. Your right. I didn´t pay enough attention for that term. I check upgrade-technics for the given tags and report here next days ... best regards, --Typoshrub 14:08, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Hi Damouns. their was been 3-4 answers on postings on and the tenor was, don´t rename given keys - at the end with the (one) closure: offer an avoid key. Therefor I set on my short-list "protect_class", "protect_type" and "protect_set". I vote for "protect_type", because its short and because "set" is too technical, "class" implies any orders or hierachies.
So the mainpage will be updated ... --Typoshrub 14:19, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
Its updated. Lastly I vote for "protect_class=*" (no other contributions) because some member-values implies more discrepancies, than "type" would suggest. And hierarchy fits too a littel: at least to keep the key open therefor. --Typoshrub 15:24, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

International consistency

I do not think is is sensible to have a different conceptual basis for different protect_class in different countries. Although the ways of legislation may differ that can be added as an information note. It is useful to have tags that convey the same information around the world.

For example, the table for Australia conflicts with the IUCN tables shown above it. It in not sensible to instruct mappers in Australia to use class 3 for Conservation Parks (which can conserve all kinds of different values). IUCN class 3 is designated for "natural monuments or features" including places that are of "cultural and archaeological" importance. Ayers rock might be a good example of a genuinely monumental protected area. IUCN class 4 is for "Habitat/Species Management Areas", which would include probably the great majority of Australian Conservation Parks. I see many examples in osm where people tagging seem to have been confused by the table for Australia, using protect_class=3 for areas that are unquestionably habitat management areas rather than monumental features.

Perhaps the protect_class=3 and 4 descriptions in the table for Australia could be corrected?

Thank you!
Ayers Rock is "IUCN Category Unknown", it should be protect_class 19. Or maybe alternativ protect_class 21.
I made a notice in the table to this discussion and researched about the australien nc-system in Protected areas value in Australia: Designations and upate the table with the main used allocations. There are 348 Conservation Parks, but always a few exceptions, e.g. a few so called Conservation Parks (39) are class 2.
If somebody is involved into the australian system, he should please update the table or post proposals here!
best regards, --Typoshrub 16:04, 5 October 2011 (BST). --Typoshrub 21:38, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

Better late than never...
It's not going to be possible to provide a tagging guide for Australia protect_class 1 to 6 based on the names given to the protected areas as there is no consistency. For example in New South Wales something called a "National Park" can be in IUCN category Ia, Ib, II, IV, or V. Something called "Nature Reserve" can be Ia, Ib, II, III, IV, or V. "State Conservation Area" can be Ia, II, IV, or V. This is just for one state, every other state will have their own system. The best we can do is to direct mappers to the CAPAD database where they can look up their particular area.
--Adavidson (talk) 02:29, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

hi Adavidson,
Thank you. I just find your name & post here, after sending a posting to your User talk
"a tagging guide ... based on the names" its sometimes hardly possible because of semantics and in debt of this global pattern.
Than look more for the content of protection. Its not beautiful, but I would insert "National Park" in all matching columns. "
... "State Conservation Area" can be Ia, II, IV, or V." you have examples on protectplanet (WDPA)? Than its like that.
Primarily give for p_a the protect_class number. This number makes the sense in this OSM-scheme, neither the prot_area- nor the name-tag.

I hope that will help a bit?
best, --Typoshrub (talk) 12:35, 26 April 2016 (UTC)

defining distinctions
The reason for tags like „leisure=nature_reserve“ are the worldwide diverse views or values about what nature-conservation is - or should be.
Some people see this term (value) more near leisure (key). But it isn´t (on my view): if you see the other leisure-terms (beach_resort, bird_hide, common, ...): they are for using the area or for running into the area – it´s a categorie (key) of consum and use by man. That is a complete different object as for what naturecare is, namely to prevend areas, to protected them from the use and „development“ by men.
Maybe some have a leisure-feeling, while tagging protected areas. Its natural, that taggers from countries with big wild areas (e.g. sweden) see this term more in a leisure light. But even there, they are not for leisure – I think, if they ask the legislative authority, they will declare that.
Grades of use are compromises and exceptions – and they make the protected_classes (at least the first seven).
And e.g. the australien term "nature reserve" is located in class 1, in germany in class 4.
„landuse=conservation“ implies a use too. The term is more compatible for people who can´t see wilderness, because theirwith, she is in use too. And conservation might imply a bit a freeze state? That doesn´t match, because you can´t catch nature, can´t fix her dynamics.
best, --Typoshrub 21:43, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

Quick ticketing / new protect_class

Relationship of public/Government and protection

some months ago a new class becomes introduced, protect_class 27, named "public land". I´m not from the United States and not very familiar with their system, but I think, it doesn´t match good: Beeing public property (Government) or beeing property of the "BLM" are no causes for protection, but an information about the owner, so select:

    + ref:BLM:source="List of BLM (2012)" 

Protect_class are based on different topics and grades, which you can find in this case among the given protect_class.

We are no longer using protect_class=27 for BLM lands in the USA; see United_States/Public_lands for current US practices. --ZeLonewolf (talk) 04:30, 17 November 2020 (UTC)

Some BLM areas seems to be with IUCN-Category and are assignable, but they are scattered in different IUCN-labels (here spec. 1 and 5). See protectedplanet: USA > More:Public Land (BLM) (2). The BLM holds probably too Natural Monuments, so these areas might be protect_class (3,) 22 or 99. For keeping "grazing land" (cattle raising) use class 15. Than, for mining, maybe class 19 (should safeguarded-areas for mining, e.g. oil, gold, coal, ..., become tagged as protected_area? There is a classification in germany to prevent constructions or buildings for a 15 years period.).

Quick ticketing and upload

Smaller areas without IUCN, but with a nature-, cultivation-, habitat-focus, might get protect_class 7.
But generaly, if there is no matching class, as for general identifier, get a protect_class 19.
For social-protected-area is a general protect_class 29.

On my view, if you want to make it quick, the best practice would be, to upload areas in a generally class, e.g. as

    + protect_class=19(7, 29) with 
    + operator=XY ...,   (or other additional, descriptive keys, like site_ownership=, ...)

so they can become described later with suitable details and the schema stays consistent.
(but it would be nice, to watch for giving a name & title by time ...)

best, --Typoshrub 12:53, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Class of a "Geschützter Landschaftsbestandteil" (protected environmental area)


Does somebody know which class is the german "de:Geschützter Landschaftsbestandteil" (protected environmental area)? It's the same sign as nature protected area, but with the other text. --Michi 18:26, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

hi Michi,
characteristic for this "protected environmental area" are "occasional or very small scale areas for the protection of individual creations of nature or of elements of particular significance to the ecosystem and to stimulate and structure landscape" [], so its usually nature-bonded(1) and I have in mind the class

  • 7

This class should bring together all the smaller, more local validations and namings - like habitats, (small, "single") natural monuments and above-named "protected landscape component". A partition of this/a class should happen by additional taggs.

(1)if the protection-issue would be more ressources-bonded, there might be possible too

  • 14 species
  • 15 location

best regards, --Typoshrub 06:27, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for you statement, i did use class 7. --Michi 19:08, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Moving mining-affairs from the social-economic categorie

I change class 23 by moving the example term "mining planned" (to the ressources-protection-categorie), because it matches better there and class 23 seems to be not used yet. Maybe a mining-affair is something for the common class 19.
An area, protected because of mining-affairs, implies to prevent an area, for become covered by buildings or constructions.

best,--Typoshrub 09:37, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

Key:designation and equivalent protect_class

What are equivalent protect classes of the following values of Key:designation?

--MK 11:35, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

  • klick: Download All
  • than: Europe > more > United Kingdom
  • look to: DESIGNATION > more
  • here you find e.g. "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty" (49)
  • That title seems to be (mostly?) IUCN Category: V, so protect_class=5

collect your results and post them here – or add the data direct into the table of countries.
I don´t remember / havend seen an complete UK-list yet (as mentioned, there used to be any :publishing restrictions in/with UK). Maybe you find one here:
(usually you can´t be sure, that a title is placed only in one IUCN-category, probably because of :different managments. But mostly there is a clear emphasis. Once, I set secondarys into brackets, but
this mark is used for other too)
best, --Typoshrub 13:13, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

A thought on the rendering of sustainable use areas

In Brazil, there are so-called "áreas de proteção ambiental" (environmental protection areas), which are typically very large in area, and often include small towns or neighbourhoods, and often include other more strict nature reserves inside their perimeter. Their IUCN level is 5. One example can be found here. If such areas are to be rendered at all, such rendering should be very subtle in high zoom levels so as to not interfere with other map elements.

yes, any transparent or icon signature or only the borders - and too: some data from the OSM-geodata-collecting are no basic map stuff, but they are for special requests. A good work, with three different IUCN 5-areas, partly with splitted, respectively extern areas. You can see the areas here too: <> filled out e.g. with key=protect_class and value=5 (you have to klick the left button).
best, --Typoshrub (talk) 10:58, 14 January 2014 (UTC)


Why do the protect_class categories not match up with the list of categories on the IUCN website? -Valerietheblonde (talk) 12:37, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

The first six categories still match widely with the IUCN's. You see a dissonance? Ours became enhanced by non-IUCN local areas (7) and the real big, worldwide agreements (97, 98). Point for osm is, to get the (all) restiction-matters - for navigation & information.
Osm should not become forced to change his legend, if the IUCN make serious changes.
by *additional keys*, with a ref-tag, you can add a link to existing IUCN-data:
+ ref:IUCN:source=

best --Typoshrub (talk) 20:36, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

County Parks in the USA

Regarding user:Jeisenbe's recent removal of "County Parks" from protect_class=5, he says "many county parks are leisure=park." Um, WHICH? I'd like to see this value (5) remain in the United States for County Parks, as it very much remains "wet paint" how USA mappers will fully resolve the leisure=park controversy (parks larger than "urban, in a city..." aren't leisure=park). In the meantime, (we do make steady progress on United_States/Public_lands), having this value available for county parks in the USA eases the continuing resolution. Please restore this value (at least for now) in the table. We'll get these tags tightened up, but it's a lot of consensus work to be at the finish line right now: that's in some hazy future. Stevea (talk) 22:10, 11 September 2020 (UTC)

Many urban/suburban parks in Oregon are managed by the counties: e.g. - for example is leisure=park. In Coos County, all the county parks are camp sites or caravan sites: - but of course many county parks can be mapped as boundary=protected_area. I just don't think the term "County Park" should be listed specifically under protect_class=5 because some should be tourism=camp_site, some are leisure=golf_course, some are leisure=park and probably there are examples that are different protect_class=* levels - there isn't a general rule. --Jeisenbe (talk) 23:30, 12 September 2020 (UTC)
It seems we make some progress, I appreciate the insight into your reasoning process. As there seems "little else to use as a handhold" for county parks (as they become better categorized) besides 5 for clearly SOME county parks, AND as we in the USA have been using it for many county parks (and documenting as such, e.g. in United States/Public_lands), let's say we enter to the table cell for 5 "Some County Parks." This identifies a descriptive placeholder of actual tagging with what is in the table entry. Strategies to continue to improve this are welcome, and I agree with you that SOME county parks are also golf courses (though, when it exists, I delineate these WITHIN a greater park boundary) or tourism=camp_site (the whole park?) and other not-so-subtle distinctions. Otherwise, please suggest how I (and many) tag county parks that are, simply put, "county parks." They are a wide variety of things, protect_class=5 isn't wholly wrong and it is used to some extent exactly like this. We should say so, and here, as the reality is "some County Parks." Stevea (talk) 23:40, 12 September 2020 (UTC)
It's not necessary to list every possible name of a protect_class=5 feature in the USA. Most countries only have a couple examples listed for each class. I think it should not be listed here, on the global page. --Jeisenbe (talk) 07:48, 13 September 2020 (UTC)
Ah, that's a concern, that the way things are doesn't look "good." Things simply are. This seems to me OSM's presently best place to put these values as we know them. Don't purges such as this make OSM dumber? If anyone here has a better place for us to remember this so I can tell fellow mappers or use a value besides 5 and lists it here and why, I'd be grateful. There is more than one sane proposal which improve things (e.g. clever tagging syntax namespace usage) afoot right now. I consider what "most countries do" and say "we have this system (admin_level, et al)..." and use it as intended as best I can. Really, it's pretty rough now (though 24 works, a good early choice). So, yeah, in the USA, we do and will tag (some) county parks as 5, at least for the foreseeable future. I say we reflect that reality here, Joseph says "not necessary." What IS necessary? This is messy, it changes, it improves. But it is often messy, even as sausage is made. It does make sense to both sign and date a post like this!
Thanks for injections of sanity about protect_class on this page recently among good-meaning volunteers working together. I support 100% migration of Discussion of protect_class issues (here) to a preferred protect_class-specific editing area (there; see below). Stevea (talk) 00:07, 14 September 2020 (UTC)


I recommend the fill shade be determined by nature type (default green, forest/dark green/ beach/sand colored, etc.)
The overlay be small icons indicating the kind of protection (animals, birds, reptiles, resource, etc.)
The border rendered according to admin_level
Viper444 (talk) 00:37, 15 September 2020 (UTC)

Note that rendering is better discussed in specific projects rendering such things (some of them have public issue trackers) Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 01:46, 15 September 2020 (UTC)

Streamlining documentation of protect_class=97 and protect_class=98

I have been researching all of the country-specific entries in the table for protect_class=97, protect_class=98, and protect_class=99. I found that all of the class 99 entries were different translations of "not yet classified", so I removed that column and updated the entry for class 99 in the main table. For class 98, I found that all of the entries were the same five international compacts, so I removed that column and listed the five treaties in the main entry for class 98.

I just finished researching the various entries for class 97, and I have again found that this is only a small list (below). Any objections to pulling out the class 97 column and populating the main entry in the table with the list below? Since these are international agreements, it doesn't make sense to have them in country-specific rows in the table.

--ZeLonewolf (talk) 02:35, 16 November 2020 (UTC)