Template:Map Features:surface

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The surface tag is used in association with other tags, such as highway=* or leisure=pitch to provide additional information about the material with which the element is covered. See Landcover for a broader discussion of surfaces and landcover.

Value Comment Photo Abundance


paved A feature that is predominantly paved; i.e., it is covered with paving stones, concrete or bitumen. This value gives general description; use a more precise value if possible, like asphalt, concrete, paving_stones and other options below. Paved mosaic.png
asphalt Short for asphalt concrete - mineral aggregate bound by asphalt. Surface asphalt.jpg
chipseal Less expensive alternative to asphalt concrete, using a thin base of hot bitumen or asphalt with aggregate pushed into it. Common in many American countries and Oceania. Often hard to distinguish from asphalt concrete by laypersons, some consider it as subtype of asphalt rather separate surface. In the end vast majority of chipsealed roads are tagged as surface=asphalt instead. Chipnseal.jpg
concrete Portland cement concrete, forming a large surface, typically cast in place and may have predetermined breaking joints. For pre-fabricated plates, please use concrete:plates or concrete:lanes if you know how the concrete is laid out and one of these tags fits. Magallanes, ruta 9, 2.jpg
concrete:lanes Long, narrow concrete elements for a two-tracked vehicle (motorcars) so that the tires always hit the concrete. There might be sand, ground, grass, pavers, asphalt, etc. in between them. Note that if you tag a single-tracked way you just use concrete, since there are no lanes. Concrete lanes.png
concrete:plates Heavy duty concrete plates placed closely together. Might have tar, sand, or grass in between the connections. Bypass road made of big concrete plates.jpg
paving_stones A relatively smooth surface paved with artificial blocks (block pavers, bricks) or natural stones (specifically, flagstones), with a flat top. The gaps between individual paving stones are very narrow, either because the stones have a perfectly regular shape (rectangular, or any surface-filling shape) or because they have been carefully selected, fitted and placed in order to form an even, closed surface. Mix of paving stones IMG 20200910 163455.jpgSquare paving stones.jpg
sett Sett paving, formed from natural stones cut to have roughly a flat top, with a regular or irregular shape. The stones do not cover the surface completely, unlike paving_stones. They also may be not entirely flat. Pflastersteine 1.jpgGranite Setts.jpg
unhewn_cobblestone Raw cobblestone of natural, uncut, rounded stones. Unlike pebblestone, the stones are firmly connected to the ground. Ancient road surface.jpg
cobblestone cobblestone is an unclear value, and was widely used for sett and actual cobblestone. Please adopt a more precise value, like sett or unhewn_cobblestone (described above).
cobblestone:flattened Should not be used, as there is neither a commonplace or defined meaning. Likely use sett or unhewn_cobblestone instead.
bricks A surface paved with dried clay bricks. Note that some people use surface=paving_stones for them and treat them as subtype of paving stones. Reformierter Schulgang (7) in Leer (2023).jpg

metal Used for metal-surfaced bridges, or for temporary tracks over fields for normal road vehicles or site traffic (note that objects lasting for just a few days should not be mapped in OSM). Tread chrome metal.jpgMetal footbridge over Sand Quarry - geograph.org.uk - 1325566.jpg
wood Used for wood surfaced bridges, plank walkways, and garden decking. Bridge-path-straight-wooden (24029070260).jpg
stepping_stones Stones or plates individually arranged in a row, allowing to walk on, surrounded by an unpaved medium such as grass or water Stepping stones - geograph.org.uk - 832601.jpgRiver Rothay stepping stones 120508w.jpg


rubber Playground safety surfacing made of recycled rubber tire products such as poured rubber, rubber tiles or loose rubber mulch. These surfaces are usually made of rubber designed specifically for aesthetics, child safety, and/or ADA wheelchair accessibility. Pärnu mänguväljak.IMG 20210807 134624
user_defined All commonly used values according to Taginfo.


unpaved A feature that is predominantly unsealed (unpaved); i.e., it has a loose covering ranging from compacted stone chippings to soil. Unpaved roads may, in aerial imagery, show evidence of water along their course; in such circumstances, the waterway should not be tagged as a stream, though it might appear as such. This value gives only a rough description; use a more precise value if possible.
compacted A mixture of larger (e.g., gravel) and smaller (e.g., sand) parts, compacted (e.g., with a roller), so the surface is more stable than loose gravel. Used, for example, for park paths, better tracks, some service ways, … Best sort of ways below paving with asphalt, concrete, paving stones. Sometimes known as water-bound macadam. Mixture and compacting leads to more grip and stability. Compacted forest track no1.jpg
fine_gravel This tag is used somewhat inconsistently; see its detail page. It may be used to specify fine loose gravel (as shown in the picture) which makes it unsuitable for kick scooters and bicycles without fat tires (e.g. when loose fine gravel is just put on top of soil), but it is also sometimes used as an alias for compacted (e.g. multilayer pavement with a stone or gravel basis and a topmost surface of firm, granular grit, basalt or quartz, as invented by the Roman empire, which is easy to cycle on, and motorized vehicles will not move stones, nor will bicycles tires leave any imprints on it). If the gravel is fixed instead of loose, please consider using well-defined compacted instead. Fine gravel path in Voltino, Zagreb

gravel This tag has very large meaning range. Used for cases ranging from huge gravel pieces like track ballast used as surface, through small pieces of gravel to compacted surface. Štěrková cesta u Pláštíku.jpg
shells Describes the surface of a feature as covered in small (parts of) seashells; commonly seen on footways and cycleways in the Netherlands.
rock Big pieces of rock used to improve path quality or exposed bare rock, including trails across natural=bare_rock. Typically in mountainous areas. Cascade canyon trail teton 20190713 095423 1.jpgTrail in Tatra mountains paved with local rocks.jpg
pebblestone Pebbles are stones rounded by waves or river flow. Typical size range from 2 to 8 cm. Describing a surface in OSM they are loosely arranged. Like gravel pebbles can be used as a building part of compacted. Dscf1781-800.jpgDscf1829-800.jpgDscf1831-800.jpg
ground No special surface, the ground itself has marks of human or animal usage. This value gives only a rough description; if possible, use a more precise value such as grass, clay, sand, dirt, gravel or pebblestone. Gfp-florida-big-shaols-state-park-forest-trail.jpg
dirt Used for where surface is exposed soil, also commonly referred to as earth or dirt, but it is not sand, gravel, or rock. Gravel is sometimes mistakenly called dirt. Some compacted surfaces are sometimes called "dirt" too, please consider the definition of compacted. Rainy dirt road on the Tibetan Plateau.jpg
earth The same meaning as dirt. Use the more common dirt instead. Rainy dirt road on the Tibetan Plateau.jpg
grass Grass covered ground. Mostly nice to walk. May turn into surface=dirt or become overgrown and disappear. Grass path on field 20160719.jpg
grass_paver A sort of permeable paving using regular cell structure, where the voids in this structure enable rainwater to drain into the ground and the structure itself increases the load bearing capability. Often used for parking lots or infrequent used ways like for emergency-vehicles. Dscf1611-800.jpgDscf1614-800.jpg
metal_grid Metal grids are often used as a surface on industrial-style bridges or stairs. When wet, the surface can become very slippery, especially for bikes. The surface can also be unsuitable for dogs, due to the sharp edges and the look-through effect. This surface is sometimes known as metal grate, metal grating, steel grate/grating, or open grate. Detern - Arnold-Goudschaal-Weg - Schöpfwerk Holte 08 ies.jpg
mud Similar to ground but most of the year wet which gives a soft ground with low carrying capacity. Mostly found on wetland like swamps or in tidal areas. Sometimes also found on slopes draining onto a way. Muddy Path - geograph.org.uk - 3017448.jpg
sand Small to very small fractions (less than 2 mm) of rock. Sand Way.jpg
woodchips Woodchips as a surface, perhaps for a playground or walking trail. Can consist of either chips of actual wood, or of bark only. Sometimes written as wood chips. Tanner Moor 2 (DFdB).jpg
snow Winter roads surfaced with compacted snow.
ice Ice roads, winter roads Jaatee2003.jpg
salt Dry salt lakes 2012.10.02.155200 Bonneville Salt Flats Utah.jpg
user_defined All commonly used values according to Taginfo.

Special (sports, etc.)

clay Most common on tennis courts. Sometimes used for other sports: soccer, athletic tracks, boules, etc. EVD-tenis-212.jpg
tartan A synthetic, all-weather surface typically used in running and other sport tracks. Although Tartan is a trademark, it is used as a generic term due to its widespread usage. Athletics track.jpg
artificial_turf An all-weather surface made from synthetic fibres to look and feel like natural grass. Often used for tracks and pitches of sports such as football, baseball, etc. Kunstgress.JPG
acrylic An artificial surface covered with acrylic resin-bound coating. Often used for tennis courts, basketball courts, etc. Prominent brands include: DecoTurf, GreenSet and so on. Court Arthur Ashe.jpg
carpet Carpet may be used for some sport courts such as indoor tennis courts and appear on some highway=corridor. Korty power game.jpg
plastic An artificial surface made from plastic, can be used on pitches and playgrounds. Plastic pitch surface.jpg
user_defined All commonly used values according to Taginfo.

This table is a wiki template with a default description in English. Editable here.

[Edit] [Purge] Template-info.svg Template documentation

Template for the Surface table in the Map Features page. Use the default English text or use the template arguments for your translations


All parameters are optional. By default, text is in English. English writers shall write their comments in the template itself (avoiding double edition). Other languages are translated in template arguments, not in the template itself.

== Section header ==
|name=        (section header line)
|description= (displayed before and/or after the table; optional)

== One key/value row ==
|surface:key=   |paved:value=   |pavimentada:desc=   |paved:render=   |paved:photo=

Template for copy/paste...

{{Template:Map Features:surface



|concrete:lanes:desc =
|concrete:plates:desc =