Types of relation

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

Established relations

Type Status Element Comment Statistic
multipolygon de facto area For areas where the outline consists of multiple ways, or that have holes; also used for boundaries.
route de facto relation 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 node way Any kind of turn restriction.
boundary de facto way For grouping boundaries and marking enclaves/exclaves.
public_transport approved node way Part of the OSM public transport scheme. Mainly used by public_transport=stop_area.
destination_sign approved way Destination signs at or before intersections.
waterway approved way Relation to group elements of a waterway=*.
enforcement approved node way Traffic enforcement devices; speed cameras, redlight cameras, weight checks, …
connectivity approved node way Indicates how the lanes in the "from" member connect to those in the "to" member.

Uncommon relations

Type Status Element Comment Statistic
associatedStreet controversial node way 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. Avoid, superroute contains (concatenable) routes only.
site in use way Groups elements of a "site" with node members, instead of using a multipolygon. See Relations/Proposed/Site
network in use node way 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.
street proposed node way Bind all parts of a street together and everything else that belongs to it. See Relations/Proposed/Street
bridge proposed way Groups together all elements of one bridge. See Proposed/Bridges_and_Tunnels
tunnel proposed way Groups together all elements of one tunnel. See 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.