From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Should not be used on node?

Also wiki page suggests that tag can be used on node, I get JOSM validation warning that it should only be used on area.

It can be used on node (if there is no way to map it as a geometry), especially when you can want to map name or some other additional properties. But area is strictly preferable Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 10:22, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
I added it to an article in Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 10:25, 13 May 2020 (UTC)

Water control

The EU has done some work on water quality in the beaches around Europe

In sweden controls are made through out the year, that data is available:

OSM should distinguish beaches between the ones that are suitable for swimming and the ones that are not (due to pollution or other causes). These datasets are a nice start. Pizzaiolo (talk) 22:29, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

Blue Flag status is popular certificate awarded to beaches meeting stringent criteria. Is there a way to tag beaches meeting this status? Jmk (talk) 15:41, 6 September 2016 (UTC)

What about beaches on lakes/rivers?

This page says a beach should always be on a coastline... but what about beaches that are on lakes or large rivers? - JasonWoof 07:45, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm also curious if there is actually a strong view that beaches on inland water bodies should be tagged as something else? Every beach I've mapped (and most that I've ever been to) is next to natural=water, not natural=coastline. Ajashton 16:06, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
The article seemed to contradict itself. I have now clarified that beaches can be both along the coast and beside lakes, rivers etc. Does anyone object to that? PeterIto 22:10, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Drivable Beaches

How should beaches that may be driven on be tagged? For example Daytona Beach in Florida, USA? -stevedorries

hazard=maniacs trying to run you over :) --NE2 17:27, 8 August 2010 (BST)

Nude beaches

How about nude=yes/no/maybe? So that prudes can avoid them, and the rest of us can find them! Many are officially designated for nude bathing, while others are unofficially used by nudists. Tongro 20:14, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

We don't need this tag, because we already have min_clothing=* and max_clothing=*. See Proposed features/Clothing --Surly 06:46, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
That "covers" it alright! Cheers! Tongro 09:16, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Between high and low water

I note that beaches should currently only be tagged down to high water. How should one tag a beach that is only visible at low water? How about using natural=beach together with tidal=yes? PeterIto 22:13, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

This seems a good tagging idea, though I note the Mapnik layer currently ignores the tidal tag and so renders the beach in the standard yellow backround with grey dots (see here), which is probably not the desired result. My personal preference would be to render this as the standard blue sea colour, maybe with the addition of the grey dots. Dmgroom 12:09, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. Nice! You are probably aware of our ITO Map VMD-coastline comparison map. If not then check it out for Bembridge here. The inclusion of the surface=mud and surface=rock tag showing how the harbour empties is neat and I agree should be presented as sea on most maps. I will adjust the above ITO Map view to show it appropriately and your data should be online in ITO Map my late tomorrow.
The best approach for beaches between high and low water may however be different.... I have been adding detail to the coast by Felixstowe and have been becoming increasingly uncomfortable at the need to split the coastline and to then use a multi-polygon to identify the beach down to the high water mark and then create another for for the section of beach below high and low water. One could of course create areas as simple ways for each 'beach' but then there are three ways on top of each other along the high water mark at it will be tedious to create on any scale. There is also the risk of breaking the coastline. Fyi, I have also noticed over the weekend that the OS 25K:1 paper maps show 'beach' down to low water which again supports this approach. For a holiday maker it is after all of great interest how much beach there is between high and low water.
This led me to wonder if we simply use a single area and beach tag for the entire beach down to low-water mark and leave it up to the relevant map rendering software to identify which is above and below the high water mark. Even if the software does not render it differently, the map user can notice the high water mark anyway (as in your example).
--PeterIto 13:56, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
Surely a crucial factor is to distinguish between above and below high tide mark (coastline) - OS maps do this clearly, so should OSM! Thus unless/until rendering copes it is misleading to have the same appearance (and polygon!) for above and below high tide coastline.
--IanLancs (talk) 09:56, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
The beach issue really needs moved on, whatever is done on topics such as wetland. If a map is to be useful it needs to show how big the beach is at high and low water. I have been mapping many beaches - and I map the beach to low water as an area. The coastline line, being mean highwater, shows the map user the high-tide mark, and the likely size of the beach when it is high tide. The problem is the low water mark has to be measured on the ground, or estimated from the sat image. The current coastline path, which is often automatically generated from some old low-res landsat images, generally needs to be realigned to the highwater mark - again easily visible on a sandy beach from the wet sand, but otherwise sometimes tricky. How do we make a proposal to change the mapping of beaches so that they can be taken down to low water? Or do we want to enter into the multi-poligon process?
--Jamesks (talk) 13:55, 16 Sept 2013 (UTC)

I've edited the page to make it clear that the beach is the sandy/rocky bit on the land side of the coast line. I've also added a suggestion that the area in the tidal zone could be mapped as a shoal. I haven't been able to find any particular guidance on this but looking through all of the currently used tags this one seem to be the closest fit. --Adavidson (talk) 22:51, 10 December 2016 (UTC)

The "land side only" rule seems rather silly to me. The example image on this page has its main focus on the part of the beach below the waterline, and I think most would describe it as a picture of a beach, not a picture of *a shoal* with a beach in the background. The splitting at the MHWS in my mind violates the one feature, one OSM element rule and gives little to no additional information as the coastline is already drawn at that point. For rendering, this could surely be handled by applying only the texture to the tidal area and having the main fill colour be "below" the ocean and aren't we supposed to avoid tagging for the renderer anyway? --InsertUser (talk) 22:33, 10 December 2018 (UTC)

The wiki page was modified in February 2019 to suppress the rule that beaches should be above the coastline. So the normal way to map beaches seems now to have a single area spanning both sides of the coastline.

Whilst it currently might be "normal" to map beaches as one area spaning both sides of the coastline I am not sure this is best practice. Splitting the beach into two areas, one above and one below the coastline, and then marking the area below the coastline with the additional tag of "tidal=yes" gives extra information which is not otherwise easy to deduce. --Dmgroom (talk)

What about all the beach equipment?

This article has a clear lack of information about all the equipment we can find in beaches, such as showers, rescue posts, catwalks, beach libraries... Does anybody know how to do so? --Schumi4ever 13:59, 24 October 2012 (BST)

I added a link to, showers are documented at not sure where best to add that link though. --Aharvey (talk) 23:56, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

"Panel" beaches (typically in Chroatia)

In many Chroatian places the "city" beach usually consist of panel road/track around the sea which is used to put your blanket and sunbed and go swimming to area marked by buoys. How to tag this? It is not "natural" sand/pebble, however it is used in the same way = it is of the same interest to tourists. --Jakubt (talk) 18:01, 6 July 2017 (UTC)

How beaches with multiple surface should be tagged?

I see many possibilities

  • splitting beach into many areas/strips
  • selecting just one surface
  • selecting just one surface if it is dominating, otherwise specifying multiple surfaces
  • selecting all surfaces that are significantly present and ignoring minorities

Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 21:29, 2 January 2019 (UTC)

For example this image: should it split into two areas, semicolon separated list in surface tag? Are both OK?

Bordeira Beach - pebbles (13463520393).jpg

Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 13:59, 3 April 2019 (UTC)

How about drawing a big natural=beach area for the beach, and a smaller areas (not tagged as a beach) for each surface? At least for a named beach, I would consider it the best option because it allows me to keep the beach itself in one piece. --Tordanik 15:41, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

Include Relations

Santa Monica State Beach (in Santa Monica) and Venice Beach (in Los Angeles) are Relations. TagInfo says there is nearly 14 000 of them (as relations). Should I change the page to allow it as a Relation? --Mark Holt 22:54, 17 October 2019 (UTC)

Those beaches are multipolygon relations which define a special type of Area. The page already allows use on areas, which can be closed ways or multipolygons. The Description box should only say "yes" for "relation" if other types of relations are allowed, like route relations or boundary relations. --Jeisenbe (talk) 23:57, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
Ah, yes. Thanks for your gracious reply to my overlooking the obvious. --Mark Holt (talk) 13:22, 18 October 2019 (UTC)

Access to the beach

Where shall the path to the beach ends? JOSM complains, if it is connected to the outline of the beach ("Way terminates on Area"). I am urged to prolong it a little bit into the beach area, although there are no paths on the beach. --GerdHH (talk) 09:57, 18 October 2019 (UTC)

I would consider reporting it as a validator bug, based on my limited experience paths often actually end where beach starts. See yellow box at for how to make a report from within JOSM. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 10:48, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
"paths often actually end where beach starts" - while that's true, it's not ideal for a landuse area and a path to share nodes. I would separate the final node of the path from the beach area. It can still be in the same place, at the edge of the beach, but that node does not need to be part of the natural=beach way. --Jeisenbe (talk) 07:27, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
  • afaics the mapping of walkable natural areas is an unsettled problem so JOSM validator should make an exception in such cases until it is somehow settled. Landuse areas share many nodes with highways in practice, whether this is good or bad has been debated many times however JOSM should not make the decision which one is right
  • where the path would visibly extend into the beach area it should be probably split at the outline of the beach and get a surface=sand (or whatever the beach is).. hence it would still have a shared node with the beach outline
  • if routing is important it should be possible to add "highway=path"+"area=yes"+"surface=.." which doesn't necessarily need to have exactly the same outline as the beach. I think there should be something more special highway=path for natural areas but don't think we have it?
RicoZ (talk) 18:24, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

supervised vs lifeguard

The current wording of the page suggests both supervised=* and lifeguard=* are used to indicate the presence of lifeguard services on the beach, the difference between these tags should be clarified. (cc @Fizzie41:) --Aharvey (talk) 03:09, 15 February 2022 (UTC)

I asked about "supervised" when I was preparing the Lifeguards proposal, but never got much response. To me personally, they would be two very different things: "supervised" would refer to what somebody does on the beach itself e.g. the person who puts out the deck-chairs & towels / provides sunscreen & drinks / maybe watches over your personal belongings / cleans up the rubbish at the end of the day, but they aren't involved with what happens in the water; while "lifeguards" are primarily concerned about the safety of swimmers in the water, & not about what happens on the beach. (Of course there are variations there, in that the lifeguard will provide first-aid if someone cuts their foot on broken glass, or has a heart attack on the beach) --Fizzie41 (talk) 01:58, 16 February 2022 (UTC)
I like the answer, I have improved the 4 pages supervised=*, lifeguard=*, emergency=lifeguard and natural=beach for a better understanding, thanks to you - Fred73000 (talk) 16:52, 19 February 2022 (UTC)

Nicely worded, thanks Fred! --Fizzie41 (talk) 21:32, 19 February 2022 (UTC)

Plastic paths over the sand

How to tag? Ah ha, I got it:


Jidanni (talk) 13:42, 5 August 2023 (UTC)

Depending on the set-up on each beach, you could / should probably also include wheelchair=yes / limited? --Fizzie41 (talk) 21:36, 5 August 2023 (UTC)