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Shouldn't a riverbank be tagged with waterway=riverbank instead of natural=water and water=river?! /al 14:04, 1-Sept-2013 (UTC)

No. See proposal discussion. --Zverik (talk) 14:11, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
People have, and will likely continue, tagging just waterway=riverbank. There was a time when mappers went around removing natural=water from riverbank polygons they came across, when the "main" stylesheets of that time no longer needed natural=water for them to render. Luckily, these tags don't clash, so "vote by usage" does no harm. Alv (talk) 14:51, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

intermittent ?

I whould propose to remove water=intermittent from this proposal as it makes it impossible to tag an intermittent river, lake or whatever. I propose to use an other tag for that like intermittent=yes sletuffe 22:57, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Suggest following up difficult conversations going on about how to tag causeways, tidal coverage paths/tracks, low-water islands, and so on first. Also note that water=intermittent is already in use. My suggestion for sorting out the confusion would be to convert water=intermittent to water_coverage=intermittent if we really want to clarify things. That would also sort out potential confusion with the use of water=tidal... as this is proposed for use as an alternative for water=intermittent, but is confusing for people wanting to label tidal water as tidal (meaning a property of the water body generally rather than the bit of land it covers with the tide). I've spent the morning following up the confusion about this whole issue and putting comments in various places. See conversations about tidal roads, tidal paths, causeways, wetland. Rostranimin 12:42, 2 March 2012 (UTC)


Has the idea taken hold? I don't know, so let's find out:

vs natural=water (catch-all)
vs landuse=pond
vs waterway=canal (but not way)
vs waterway=riverbank
vs landuse=reservoir

In the case of "lake", the classic tagging of natural=water could cover many other things too, but 99.8% of lakes in OSM are tagged as natural=water. natural=lake is also rendered by Mapnik, but is hardly used at all (only 105 features at time of writing).

In the case of water=pond it seems to be the most common.

In the case of canals, waterway=canal is very common for ways, but there doesn't seem to be much guidance at all about area features. One might argue that waterway=*, highway=*, aeroway=* etc. are all reserved for way features only, not areas, but then we have waterway=riverbank which is already violating that. So maybe waterway=canal is ok for areas after all? Then let the rendering rules, routing, Xapi extracts figure out what to do based on the feature type??

-- Hamish 27 August 2012

Objects with water=* tags must have natural=water tag on them. This proposal does not replace natural=water tag. Please read it again.
Your confusion with waterway=canal/riberbank is exactly why water=river tag was introduced: to differentiate water ways (waterways) and water cover (natural=water). So the only waterway that is not linear was recommended to be mapped as natural=water + water=river. This eliminates any discrepancies: when you see a mass of water on a satellite imagery, you map it as natural=water and if you can, detail the type of water body with water=*. Riverbanks were broken from the start, but it's too late to fix them, so the alternative was introduced. The same with landuses: they were meant to be virtual entities, "the purpose for this piece of land". But in time, since this information cannot be derived from satellite imagery, it became the same with natural=*. Hence the greatest trouble with landuse=forest/natural=wood. So in this proposal landuses that are water bodies are to be mapped as natural=water as well, not deprecating current tags (it's too late), but so that renderers can accept both old and new notation.
--Zverik 20:46, 27 August 2012 (BST)
waterway=riverbank is widely used, and should (at least for time being) remain untouched. Making a taging rule to leave waterway=canal as way and allow for area tagging of same in an un-interfaring way allows for more detailed maps while maintaining simple routing. Replacing area tags such as landuse=reservoir, landuse=pond etc. is not really necessary. I also think salt=* is a bad or weak idea for identifying salinity of a body of water for two reasons: 1) There should be at least 3 different levels no/brakish/yes maybe, but the it still doesn't seem right, a value of salinity in the form of specific gravity or specific solution (kg/l or mg/l for example?) 2) for some bodies of water, such as lagoons, river estuaries, salt marches, etc salinity can vary depending on season, accumulated percipation, flow rate, or other weather factors. Some fresh water areas might also be subject to "century flooding", and thus making any such detail extremely difficult to handle correctly. --Skippern 22:34, 27 August 2012 (BST)

How to tag a lock?

Currently, the waterway=lock_gate page advises you to tag the outline of a lock with landuse=basin. With this tagging schema, it would be replaced by natural=water+water=reservoir. But if I look at the description of a reservoir: "used to store water", this doesn't count for a lock.

As a lock has a very specific purpose, I used natural=water+water=lock. If this makes some sense, it could be added to the page. --Sanderd17 08:28, 3 September 2012 (BST)

That's a very sensible proposal, I've added water=lock to the list. Thanks. --Zverik 16:03, 4 September 2012 (BST)

pond | reservior

difference? - User:Kr12 Revision as of 16:15, 8 April 2013

Well they're pretty different. A typical pond is a little green muddy water pool in a garden, with ducks and frogs in it. A typical reservoir is a big lake full of fresh drinking water. The page has photos and these definitions "A pond: a body of standing water, man-made in most cases, that is usually smaller than a lake" ... and .... "A reservoir or an artificial lake is used to store water". -- Harry Wood (talk) 17:58, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

waterway=riverbank polygons overlap natural=coastline polygon

As far as I know one simple rule is to not overlap polygons of the same type. Now there are waterway=riverbanks to overlap with coastline. When changing waterway=riverbank to natural=water,water=river natural=water and natural=coastline areas overlap. Any suggestions how to resolve this best?

User:Jeffdameth 19:15, 30 April 2013‎

Where the wide river meets the coastline, there should be two areas (closed ways) up against eachother, overlapping and sharing the same nodes for a few way segments going across the mouth of the river. One is tagged natural=coastline. One is tagged natural=water. Same key. That's not a problem. In fact I don't think that is a rule at all. I mean people put different landuse=* tagged areas up against eachother all the time. -- Harry Wood (talk) 18:05, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Reservoirs and Wastewater ponds

It's suggested in the wastewater section to "also" tag these features with landuse=basin. (note: it used to say man_made=basin, which I changed as it's incorrect) When these features are man-made, wouldn't landuse=basin describe them more accurately, and thus be a better tag than natural=water? Neuhausr (talk) 20:53, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

The key "natural" may be misleading, but it does not indicate that something is natural (as in "not man-made"). --Tordanik 13:03, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
Yeah. Use natural=water for all types of water. But it's for the area of the water itself, so I imagine you might have a smaller area of natural=water within a larger landuse=basin -- Harry Wood (talk) 16:40, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

'oxbow' tag overly detailed

For me the water=oxbow tag stands out as seeming a bit overly detailed for this level. We talk about "oxbow lakes". It's really just at type of lake. It's an interesting thing we learn about in high school geography lessons related to how it is formed. But they're just lakes. So I kind of feel like these should be tagged as something like natural=water + water=lake + lake=oxbow ....or maybe geological_formation=oxbow

-- Harry Wood (talk) 18:03, 16 April 2015 (UTC)


Stumbled upon this and assume this should be added to this table? RicoZ (talk) 14:18, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

Must be used only in conjunction with natural=water

Taginfo shows only 90% uses are together with natural=water: . What is the rest - all tagging errors? RicoZ (talk) 14:13, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

I think it's mostly CanVec that used (uses?) water=intermittent + waterway=* (example: way 191017627). Mrwojo (talk) 22:04, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, I have clarified it in the page. RicoZ (talk) 13:14, 23 May 2015 (UTC)
What about water=pond which is not natural, but man-made? --Zcapw15 (talk) 18:47, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
You could use the deprecated and perhaps obsolete landuse=pond. However *if* you use water=pond, you also have to tag it with natural=water, that is the technical convention. It has been argued many times that many waterbodies tagged as natural=water aren't natural at all and we might try to introduce another tagging schemes like man_made=water+water=pond or make the natural=water optional but that has not been done yet and a lone water=* tag is an error right now. RicoZ (talk) 08:22, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

Remembered that there is also the proposal for landcover=water which would help those cases where the water is not considered natural.

RicoZ (talk) 12:00, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

Flood retaining basins

On the upper courses of some waterways there are flood retaining basins.

Different from reservoirs, normally they are empty. Their ordinary landuse mostly are meadows.

Only in cases of extraordinary rainfall the lock of their dam is closed and they are flooded, in order to prevent desastrous floods from inhabited areas downstream.

I've not found any apprpriate tag.--Ulamm (talk) 19:21, 19 December 2016 (UTC)

See basin=detention with landuse=basin. --sperlingskauz 23:06, 04 February 2017 (UTC)

Redundant tag water=cove

It already exist the much more common tag natural=bay for tagging any type of bay (as cove, gulf, fjord, inlet and others). water=cove only appears 131 times in Taginfo. It's better a tagging like bay=cove for specifying the type of a bay. --19jp87 (talk) 01:31, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

So, nothing as far as inlets go? Any tagging suggestions? Valerietheblonde (talk) 19:49, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

natural=bay is the approved tag used by the users in these cases. No matter the shape or size. At present doesn't exist a tag for specify the type of a bay. My suggestion is remove water=cove from the table and creation of a new tag bay=* for classify the type of a bay. 19jp87 (talk) 03:16, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
I agree with this. Better to tag it as a bay and improve the type of bay tagging. Aharvey (talk) 23:12, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
I removed water=cove since there seems to be agreement and linked to natural=bay as alternative.--Imagico (talk) 11:58, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

Regulated lakes (reservoirs) min/max elevation

How to tag these elevations? There seem to be no agreed way to tag this that I can find on the wiki.
All lakes used for hydro power will normally have a minimum and maximum elevation.
Taginfo found ele:min and ele:max used around 130 times, which I think are good keys, but should be documented.--Gazer75 (talk) 16:04, 18 August 2018 (UTC)