Types of relation

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Types of relation

These types of relation are relations that we have in wide use. See proposed relation types below.

Established relations

Type Status Members Comment Statistic Photo
multipolygon de facto closed way ( way ) For areas where the outline consists of multiple ways, or that have holes; also used for boundaries.
Multipolygon Illustration 6.svg
route de facto node way Like bus routes, cycle routes and numbered highways
route_master approved relation route_master contains (parallel, opposite, variant, …) routes only; heavily used to group route variants in public transport.
restriction de facto way node Any kind of turn restriction.
boundary de facto way node relation Political, administrative and similar boundaries not always observable on the ground. Defined in similar manner as multipolygons.
public_transport approved node way area relation Part of the OSM public transport scheme. Mainly used by public_transport=stop_area.
Bayview trstwy.jpg
destination_sign approved node way Destination signs at or before intersections.
waterway approved node way Relation to group elements of a waterway=*.
enforcement approved node way Traffic enforcement devices; speed cameras, redlight cameras, weight checks, …
Fixed speed camera.svg
connectivity approved node way Indicates how the lanes in the "from" member connect to those in the "to" member.

Uncommon relations

Type Status Members Comment Statistic Photo
associatedStreet controversial node way area House numbers related to a street. See Karlsruhe scheme proposal. Banned by community in a few countries.
superroute controversial relation Groups together a string of routes. Superroute contains (concatenable) routes only. Its usefulness is disputed.
site in use node way area Groups elements of a "site" with node members, instead of using a multipolygon. See Relations/Proposed/Site
network in use node way area relation Relations that describe networks with their members being the members of this network.
building in use way Sometimes used to group elements that form a building in simple 3D modelling, but not usually required.
Building part areas in building area.svg
street proposed node way area Bind all parts of a street together and everything else that belongs to it. See Relations/Proposed/Street
bridge proposed way area Groups together all elements of one bridge. See Relations/Proposed/Bridges and Tunnels
tunnel proposed way area Groups together all elements of one tunnel. See Relations/Proposed/Bridges and Tunnels
user defined proposed All commonly used values according to Taginfo Taginfo Statistic pictogramm.png

Proposed uses of relations

abandoned and obsoleted propositions not included

Junctions, intersections, grade separated crossings, and embankments

Relations/Proposed/Bridges and Tunnels
grouping all ways using a common bridge or tunnel
all the ways that make up a junction (such as a motorway intersection)
Relations/Proposed/Turn hints
Hints for whether a turn is a slight left, sharp left, fork, etc.
Relations/Proposed/turn lanes
which turns are allowed from a given lane

Area hierarchies and other relations for areas

to define areas between ways and lanes (linear crossover), virtual and physical dividers and crossover-possibilities, etc.
Manually placed labels or icons in areas
For floors in 3D-Objects (Subway stations, buildings, etc.).
for grouping together all relevant items of a sled run.


for grouping features with a collective name or address etc.
Karlsruhe Schema
Relations/Proposed/Postal Addresses
for grouping ways into complete streets, as well as associating other elements with it


defines a set of default values (speed limits, oneways, access) for a country, a state
Relations/Proposed/Provides feature
to associate an object such as a restaurant, hotel or museum with one or more map features such as addresses or entrances.
a relation to create groups of objects (e.g. when they have a common name as group) without requiring additional tags (they are defined through their members).
a relation to have several node objects at the same location without adding actual geometry objects (e.g. for things attached to a pole, antennas on a mast, etc.)