US National Park Service Tagging: Points of Interest

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POI Names

National Park Service employees are only authorized to use the OFFICIAL POI name when publishing ANY mapping data for park POI. This has created some lively discussion within the OSM community, many of whom feel that other POI names should be used. OSM mappers should note that: Many, if not most, Park Service road are not signed. It is NPS policy to minimize the use of signs in parks in keeping with wilderness character; Official park road names are what is used when sharing POI data with neighboring emergency response jurisdictions. Consider a consumer of OSM data, stuck in park with an injury! If, when on the phone with E911 services, they communicate the wrong POI information, the potential for delay of life-saving services is very real, and this scenario has occurred in parks due to erroneous GPS data. Therefore, NPS Points of Interest should be tagged with "Name".

There are many permutations of tag combinations that can be used with a NPS Point of Interest and we are unable to cover them all here! Most common and recommended are covered here.

When editing in NPS Places be sure to use the nps:fcat=* tag for the feature as well as the OSM tag! This will ensure that your feature displays correctly in numerous systems.

Please note that the recommended method of tagging a point of interest that is on a linear feature (e.g. a parking lot on a service road line or a campsite on a trail is to tag a node on that segment and not create a new node that is not part of the line.


All POI's should be tagged with an official name.

and "Official Name"

This allows government agency rendering of OSM Park Maps to keep with NPS policy for POI names, yet allow OSM mappers to modify "common" or "aka" park POI names. However, the NPS prefers that name and official name remain the same, as to minimize any potential hazardous situtions based on POI name mis-labelling.


[or some campgrounds are for tents and RV's]

Most campgrounds are fee-based

[Some allow horses]

Backcountry Campsites

and maybe

[Sometimes there is a shelter] or a [primitive campsite]

Most backpackers want to know how high it is!

  • ele=414 note that elevation can only be given in meters!

Some NPS campsites are fee-based


Some are...[just out there]

or [associated with a church]

nps:fcat=cemetery should be used when editing in NPS Places

Certain cemeteries may have their location protected from disclosure under federal law. A park archaeologist should confirm the location of any cemeteries uploaded to OSM or Places.


[Scenic views]

Picnic Areas

National parks have lots of these!]


RV Dumpstations

[It has to go somewhere!]


[Falling water]


Parking Areas

[Parking areas are an important visitor destination in parks], and emphasis should be placed on capturing them so that OSM data consumers can create rich, interactive maps showing visitors where, and how to get to, points of interest. We recommend that parking lots include a "routable" way through the parking lot. This allows GPS to route travellers from a road, to or through a parking lot, to a point of interest (trailhead, overlook). We do not recommend using parking aisle or parking spot tags, rather, tag the way as "service". Tagging each parking space in a parking lot can clutter up any map products using these data, and is not necessary to convey that the location in general is where people can park.

In this example, note also that we have tagged a ["node"] along the "way" as

There is no need to also add the parking area name to the parking node. This serves to create a parking "Icon".

NPS parking.svg

Mile Markers

In many National Parks, visitors are unfamiliar with local features when attempting to reference their location. Some parks may have established signed and monumented [mile posts]. Mile markers should only be captured if they are physically present. Adding "measured" mile markers to NPS roads where they are not monumented in the ground may be confusing. Using "MM" in the name emphasizes the notion that this label, when rendered, is a mile marker.

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