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Should tag page replace the conceptual page ?

This is a tag page, for power=substation, and pretty all the content of Substation refinement was included into it.
It's actually the case for power=transformer which do already have its own page.
Shouldn't we split content in more than one page ?
Nevertheless I agree that "subkeys" like substation=* or transformer=* can be in power=substation or power=transformer. It contribute to get content easily.
This question is especially for transformers which can be encountered standalone worldwide. It's not so true for converters, compensators, etc... Fanfouer (talk) 21:19, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

I think it gets confusing if we split up the page to much. An own page for power=transformer is ok and necessary, I think. For the other subkeys, which don't stand alone you can make redirects which link to the correspondent part of this page. --hendrik-17(talk) 16:40, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Ok for confusion in case of too big splitting. A page for power=transformer is enough, thus I will replace content by a link to that tag page. Fanfouer (talk) 17:22, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
I would prefer to discuss such things before the single proposal is/was cut into multiple pieces! For transformers it may be ok, definitely not for the other features of substations. Otherwise it will just cause confusion as those features are intimidely related to substations and you probably would like to consult the main substation page for the context. I have created redirect pages for all the new power=* features, but not yet for all the auxiliary tags. --polderrunner (talk) 20:25, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Are kiosks only transformers or complete substation ?

When adding proposal example in this tag page, I moved the kiosk example to power=substation since I thought using power=transformer was a mistake.
It seems it wasn't.
My point is that I saw kiosks with all the stuff a standard substation has : switches, control equipment and a transformer obviously.
Should we use power=transformer for such a configuration ? Fanfouer (talk) 18:26, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

In Germany most kiosks have the standard substation equipment. Therefore I don't think that power=transformer does really fit, because in my opinion this only refers to the transformer itself (a device transfering energy). This kiosks are called "Ortsnetzstation" in Germany. In my region the old tag power=sub_station was used to distinguish them from the bigger substations ("Umspannwerke"), which wher mostly tagged as power=station.
It may have been a mistake not to reserve a "substation" value just for the minor distribution substations. Now substation=distributed is defined as suitable for substations handling voltages less than 100 kv and not just substations at the last level of voltage transforming before the consumer. This interpretation is consistent with the IEC definitions. However, I may be tempted to modify the scheme a bit "post vote". Either we should introduce a new substation value for minor substation or restrict the value "distribution" to only mean the last level transformation (typically with a high voltage of about 10 kV). Then such small substations can be unambiguously identified as such. However, that would mean that a lot of 'my' 60/10 kV substations are now wrongly tagged! What do you think? It is still time to change that. --polderrunner (talk) 20:17, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
In France, both kiosk and "house" minor substation handle the same voltage : 20 kV. There's no reason to distinguish them for me. I use to tag > 40 kV substations with substation=transmission and <= 40 kV with substation=distribution.
In all network models you'll find only two layers : transmission and distribution, no need for me to introduce substation=distributed IMHO.
The kiosk example should be tagged with power=substation + substation=distribution + voltage=10000. Sounds good ? Fanfouer (talk) 21:11, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
The problem is that it requires the mapper to know the voltage (which is often not indicated on the building). Don't expect mappers to know the medium voltage level in the area. Using the 'distribution' value would make it much easier for mappers. Then you can remap those "Trafohäuschen" with power=substation + substation=distribution without knowing more than that it is a "Trafohäuschen". Actually I can't see the value of using it on the second level substations (50-90 kV) as we are much more likely to know the voltage of those. At least for rendering I don't need the 'distribution' value. But I will await opinions from others. --polderrunner (talk) 21:38, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
We mainly agree about that.
To say what I explained about > 40 kV and < 40 kV in other words : > 40 kV substations are often outdoor with massive high voltage stuff, whereas < 40 kV are indoor with pretty small surfaces. Biggest exception are substations with gas insulation... but "common mappers" won't deal with it. Fanfouer (talk) 11:16, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

I have introduced the new attribute substation=minor_distribution which hopefully fully solves this problem. At the same time I have removed the recommendation to tag small substations as 'transformers' (except for pole mounted transformers). --polderrunner (talk) 21:21, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

This sounds very good for me --hendrik-17(talk) 21:38, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

Substation Wateringen near The Hague

Why is that tagged power=substation (ok) ... location=indoor (?)

but not

power=substation ... building=yes

? --Hfst (talk) 21:09, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

In this case the substation covers a larger area than the building itself (you will notice a fence around the building on the photo). The location=indoor tag does not imply that the substation object is just a building although this will often be the case. The tag defines the substation as being substantially indoor but certain components, in particular transformers, may be outside. In the present case no building has actually been mapped which should be improved. --polderrunner (talk) 21:54, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Tagging of this


Is this also power=substation? --Hfst (talk) 21:14, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Bad link, could you please fix it? --polderrunner (talk) 21:55, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

done--Hfst (talk) 08:53, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

For me it looks like a power=substation. I would aditionally add the tag substation=distribution, the operator and maybe location=indoor (?). --hendrik-17(talk) 19:33, 15 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes, definitely tag it as power=substation. The Danger, high voltage sign on the door is the give-away. Considering the substation=distribution attribute: I'm considering introducing a new value substation=minor_distribution for small substations supplying low voltage to households (a similar tag was suggested on the Tagging mailing list some time ago, see [1]). You may see it appear on the feature page soon. Until then use substation=distribution. (the substation=minor_distribution attribute is now recommended) --polderrunner (talk) 20:06, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

Should it also be tagged with "building=yes"?--Hfst (talk) 19:11, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

In this case yes. For a small 'kiosk' type substation in a prefab metal/wood/concrete enclosure I probably wouldn't use the building tag. However, in the Netherlands such substations actually have addresses so tagging them as buildings seems reasonable. I will leave it to the discretion of the mapper whether a given minor substation is tagged as a building or not. --polderrunner (talk) 21:30, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

This (2007-06_Bernburg_03.jpg which was discussed here) type of minor_distribution substation is quite common in Germany – at least in the area of Frankfurt am Main. Since its size is a considerable amount bigger that File:10kV trafo kiosk.jpg, could be please also add it as an example to the Tag:power=substation#Examples list? What I am interested in is especially the suitable location=* tag for it. From the discussion here it seems that polderrunner classifies it as location=indoor . I myself would (and always have) used location=indoor, too. I think that it differs from the location=kiosk ones essentially due to being not "prefabricated" as a whole. Likely the walls and roof are, but I guess not all parts. And it is a building=* which has a real door and likely some free space inside where a technician could walk. All in all, I would suggest to add the following entries to the list of examples. The second one shows a newer, currently used type of station.

Suggested additions:

Photo Tagging Mapnik Note
Transformer in a small building areapower=substation
Transformer in a small walk-in building.
compact transformer, Germany nodepower=substation
An example of a small kiosk type substation. It is a prefabricated enclosure (about 1.5 m high) – not possible to walk in for a technician.

By the way: The example list's last entry (File:Service_building.png) should get a location=indoor tag, too.

Do you agree? Comments please!

--Aseerel4c26 (talk) 11:09, 25 September 2016 (UTC)

I agree with these additions. Especially as File:2007-06_Bernburg_03.jpg is in between the current examples of indoor / kiosk this helps to distinguish them. I used to tag it as location=kiosk as there was no good example, but the previous discussion with Aseerel4c26 convinced me otherwise --Athalis (talk) 11:45, 25 September 2016 (UTC)

Status of support in various tools

Please keep this part of the discussion page up to date with the status of support for this tagging scheme in the various OSM tools.


JOSM 6502 (2013-12-19) has an icon for the old sub_station and transformer tags, but none for the new tags. There are no presets for either the old or the new tagging scheme. Jbohmdk 22:51, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

JOSM 6657 (2014-01-09) has an icon for power=substation. There are new presets since JOSM 6662. For more progress on the new tags see Aceman444 (talk) 17:22, 10 January 2014 (UTC)



HTML editor on



I guess it has what the page itself shows, for now.



Frequency - yes or no?

I've noticed that frequency=*, while not being listed on this page, is included in the JOSM-preset for substations. If you take a look at taginfo, there are about 15k cases of this tag being used in combination with power=substation, which is not exactly rare. So the question is, what to do? Does it make sense to tag the frequency on the substation itself? I think, if there is no undeniable counterargument, frequency=* should probably get listed as it's de facto in use, for comparison the combination of power=substation & voltage=* can be found about 35k times (see link to taginfo above).

So, what do you think? --TOGA (talk) 21:20, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
IMHO, frequency is related to devices operating inside the substation (transformers). Sometimes, several frequencies may be used in a single substation (both 50Hz and 16.7Hz in Swiss traction substations, both 50Hz and 0 in conversion substations), then no frequency=* should be added to substations objects. I prefer to improve description of transformers/converters inside Fanfouer (talk) 23:01, 4 November 2017 (UTC)

Kiosk substations in street cabinets

man_made=street_cabinet is suitable to tag substations in cabinets where technician can't enter to work.
For now, reviewed tagging encourage the use of location=kiosk.
Since man_made=street_cabinet is more general and includes many kind of cabinets, it would be great to move location=kiosk to man_made=street_cabinet + street_cabinet=power.
location=* become available to tag the actual location of the cabinet (like fire hydrants: green, pavement, underground...).
There are about 7k objects to move manually. Does anyone have any concern about this ? Fanfouer (talk) 22:57, 4 November 2017 (UTC)

I used man_made=street_cabinet+street_cabinet=power for tagging low voltage cable distribution cabinets (as a replacement for power=cable_distribution_cabinet). As a first thought I don't like the idea that these objects have the same tagging as a substation. When processing OSM-Data I also would need to check whether a man_made=street_cabinet+street_cabinet=power has a power=substation to filter them out. Need to think about this. (I also read your message on tagging which contains some more details) --hendrik-17(talk) 00:59, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
Regarding filtering between former cable_distribution_cabinet and cabinet substations, looking for power=substation sounds to be the best solution. Let me know Fanfouer (talk) 01:58, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
If you say "Street cabinet is the container while substation is the function", wouldn't we have to re-introduce power=cable_distribution_cabinet (added to man_made=street_cabinet+street_cabinet=power objects) for tagging an cable distribution cabinet? At the moment the Wiki page for power=cable_distribution_cabinet recommends to instead use man_made=street_cabinet+street_cabinet=power. --hendrik-17(talk) 21:29, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
Your idea sounds good but power=cable_distribution_cabinet meaning is not clear. We will surely need of (maybe several) power=* value(s) for local distribution cabinets. There are fuse boxes, connexion and even switching cabinets. They all are cabinets, but the function is different and maybe hard to determine without open them. That's why it was recommended to move cable_distribution_cabinet to street_cabinet Fanfouer (talk) 21:57, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
@Fanfouer: Though I came here too lat, those "kiosk" substations with no space for line workers to enter them is rather a kind of transformer placed on the surface. I will prefer tagging them as normal power=transformer. Plus, those are called "pad-mount" transformers, which are mounted on a concrete pad where a connection to the underground cables is found. Sometimes, such kind of transformers may be placed inside buildings, with cables entering the walls into the unit, but that looks more of a substation, as doors with high voltage warnings prevent access to the equipment. Such substations are used to power a large building, such as towering condominiums, office buildings, or large shopping malls, or places occupying a large space, such as a big school or university (though the latter may have multiple units, as one may have limited capacity, depending on the highest allowable capacity per unit). -TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 10:31, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
Hi. Moving to man_made=street_cabinet doesn't prevent users to choose between power=substation or power=transformer. The same move has been done on power=transformer page.
In France, all cabinets with transformer inside have switches or other devices than single transformer, then it will always be power=substation. Fanfouer (talk) 10:54, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

Dead or alive?

How do you tag the difference between dead tank and live tank circuit breakers? -- T99 (talk) 07:15, 13 April 2020 (UTC)

Currently all circuit breakers are described with switch=circuit_breaker. Even if dead/alive is a common property, we didn't reviewed any tagging for it. Any suggestion? Fanfouer (talk) 20:52, 13 April 2020 (UTC)

New description

The description was just shortened to "Facility to control the flow of electricity in a power network". Previously it was "A facility to step up and down voltage and transform power to suit transmission or distribution needs over an electrical network".

The problem with the new description is that it seems like it could describe facilities that are not substations. Could we add some more details, so that this tag will make sense when translated into other languages and cultures? Perhaps it is enough to add "for example, step up and down voltage and transform power to suit transmission or distribution needs"? --Jeisenbe (talk) 01:26, 18 April 2020 (UTC)

I agree. A substation doesn't necessarily need to have a transformer. I know one that has only switchgear at a single voltage level. -- T99 (talk) 01:40, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
I see no problems with the current description. Any example of something tagged wrong due to this? Gazer75 (talk) 12:25, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
I'm not sure, but "control the flow" sounds to me a bit abstract. IMHO would be better "Facility to switch or transform voltage in an electrical power network". --Chris2map (talk) 12:55, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
Substations do not always have transformers, they can be simple switching and/or compensation stations. Reading the whole description should make it pretty clear IMO. Gazer75 (talk) 13:01, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
I find the new description clear but I'm not against adding a simple mention for instance with switches or step-up/down voltage. Fanfouer (talk) 22:58, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
I've changed the description to "A facility which controls the flow of electricity in a power network with transformers, switchgear or compensators." Please edit this further if it can be improved.
The issue is that we need to define the meaning of the term "substation" in a way that non-experts can understand. The wikipedia description is rather vague: "A substation is a part of an electrical generation, transmission, and distribution system. Substations transform voltage from high to low, or the reverse, or perform any of several other important functions..." but it makes more sense when you understand the history: "The word 'substation' comes from the days before the distribution system became a grid. As central generation stations became larger, smaller generating plants were converted to distribution stations, receiving their energy supply from a larger plant instead of using their own generators. The first substations were connected to only one power station, where the generators were housed, and were subsidiaries of that power station." So it makes perfect sense for a substation to contain transformers, while the switching and compensating substations seem to be an extention of this terminology. --Jeisenbe (talk) 23:22, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
Wiktionary defines substation as "A site where electricity supplied by long-distance (high-voltage) transmission lines is transformed and/or regulated for local (low-voltage) distribution." --Jeisenbe (talk) 23:25, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
To be slightly pedantic here, a non-expert is going to have no idea what a compensator is, and "switchgear" is also jargon. I don't strongly object to your change but I'd question whether it makes it more understandable for non-experts (which was also my original intention when I edited it). Russss (talk) 09:57, 22 April 2020 (UTC)