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For as long as I've contributed to OSM I've had a need to get a decent cheat sheet of the OSM tags. The Map features wiki page (shortlink: is great ... but reeeeally long (I think nearly 10 pages when printed!)

So, this is what is (hopefully) to become a list of the tags _I_ typically use. The list is based on Frankie Roberto's favorite tags. As Roberto notes: To make your own version of this list, copy the source to your user page and edit away...

A shortlink to this page is:

Haiti tags

Below are essentially my notes on what tags I've used in various situations so that I think they get the job done.

  • Government buildings / office areas: name=?, amenity=public_building, government=yes, office=government
    • Name gets rendered; at least with DGI [1]
    • vs. e.g. the following doesn't: name=?, landuse=commercial (for mainly offices), commercial=government_office, government=yes
      • This may be due to too long name, though... (Ministère de la santé publique et de la population (MSPP)) ... try MSPP only? [2]
      • name=?, natural=scrub seems to render the name -- at least sometimes (for Red Cross Base [3])

I'll be listing some of my tag questions here, too, with the idea of documenting the answers (in a note-pad like format not (yet) ready for the real wiki pages):

  • How to tag marche streets? highway=living_street?
    • How to tag some _super_-narrow roads? width=X (for the part that applies)??
  • How to get various shops rendered in _some_ way? (vs. Google Maps -- does a more complete job)
  • Tap-Tap routes?
  • Debris blockages???
  • Destroyed buildings that are still relevant landmark information??? (Verifiable in the sense that when you go to the place and ask _anyone_ people will know..)
  • Tagging appropriately for Garmin navigator and other routing systems????
    • Garmin tag conversion mappings (using Geofabrik's extracts as of now)
  • Tagging of (numerous!) gates. ... They very easily crowd the map
    • How to communicate the openness of a gate / permissions??
  • Roads destroyed by EQ, rains, time and lack of maintenance...
    • when the road has a base but is currently not passable ... or when it's only passable with an off-road truck / other type of off-rd vehicle?!
-> "tracktype6-7"???
  • Using "path" seems to do the "road" injustice ... and not match the reality exactly when it in fact has a base and can hold even a very heavy vehicle ... but just not be suitable for a "normal" SUV/Jeep...
  • How to tag the _numerous_ spellings of (various!) names?

General attributes

Name Tag Description Example photo
Name name=name The normal name. For multiple-name complexities see naming. Street name sign.JPG
Bridge bridge=yes Can be used on any roads, railways, canals or footpaths 100px
Tunnel tunnel=yes Can be used on any roads, railways, canals or footpaths 100px


Name Tag Description Example photo
Motorway highway=motorway Draw one way per lane. Use ref= to add reference number (eg M25). Motorway-photo.jpg
Motorway link highway=motorway_link The sliproads and ramps roads leading to and from a motorway. 100px
Trunk road highway=trunk Big main roads that aren't motorways, eg 'A' roads. Add number with ref= Dscf0444 600.jpg
Trunk road link highway=trunk_link Sliproads leading to and from trunk roads 100px
Main road highway=primary Big roads linking larger towns. eg 'B' roads? 100px
Secondary road highway=secondary Roads linking small towns. 100px
highway=tertiary 100px
highway=unclassified lowest level in the road _network_ 100px
Normal road highway=residential Small roads, often with houses either side, and a dashed line down the middle. Residential.jpg
highway=service 100px
highway=track 100px
Cycle route ncn_ref=number Add this tag to roads which form part of the National Cycle Network. In the UK, national routes have single-digit numbers and red signs, regional routes have double-digit numbers and blue signs. Use the same tag for both. Cycle route sign.jpg

Trains, tubes and trams

Name Tag Description Example photo
Railway railway=rail Remember to mark bridges, tunnel and cuttings (cutting=yes). 100px
Tram railway=tram 100px
Tube railway=subway Use for all London Underground lines. 100px
Light rail railway=light_rail Use for the DLR. 100px
Narrow-gauge railway highway=narrow_gauge Use for operating heritage narrow-gauge railways (typically rural). 100px
Station railway=station Can be used for all of the above, as a single junction at interchanges. 100px

Rivers, canals and waterways

Name Tag Description Example photo
River waterway=river 100px
Canal waterway=canal Man-made, artificial waterway. 100px
Stream waterway=stream 100px
Dock waterway=dock 100px

Parks, green spaces and footpaths

Name Tag Description Example photo
Park leisure=park Any area that calls itself a park. Example-park.jpg
Village greens landuse=village_green Any greenspace that calls itself, or is referred to as, a village green. 100px
Open green space landuse=grass Use for any other types of greenspace, eg squares. 100px
Footpath (road-style) highway=service Any footpath within a park-type area which is also occasionally used by cars/patrol vehicles. Park service road.jpg
Footpath (paved) highway=footway Use for any paved footpaths which you couldn't drive a car down Footpath-paved-1.jpg
Footpath (dirt track) unspecified Not quite sure which tag to use here... 100px
Sports pitch leisure=pitch Combine with sport= to define a specific sports pitch. 100px
Children's playground leisure=playground Can be an area or a node. Children's playground-photo.jpg

Public buildings

Name Tag Description Example photo
Pub amenity=pub 100px
Church / mosque / etc amenity=place_of_worship Use religion= to specify religion. 100px
Post Office amenity=post_office 100px
University amenity=university 100px
School amenity=school Any kind of school. Use amenity=college for sixth-form only colleges though. 100px
Hospital amenity=hospital 100px
Town Hall amenity=town_hall Historic town halls. 100px
Museum attraction=museum Any kind of museum 100px
Sports Centre leisure=sports_centre Mixed-use indoor sports centres. Add sport= to list sports available. 100px
Other public building amenity=public_building Check Map Features and Proposed features first, but if you can't find it, use this. 100px

Outdoor attractions

Name Tag Description Example photo
Zoo attraction=zoo Any kind of zoo or menagerie, big or small. Zoo.jpg
Theme Park attraction=theme_park Any kind of enclosed, ride-based attraction. Theme park.jpg
Gardens leisure=garden eg botanical gardens or the gardens of a manor house. 100px
Golf Course leisure=golf_course Golf course.jpg

Shops and commercial buildings

Name Tag Description Example photo
Music Venue leisure=music_venue Anywhere that regularly hosts live music 100px
Shopping Centre amenity=shopping_centre .. Note2self: only shopping mall uses amenity! 100px
Supermarket shop=supermarket Tescos, Sainsburys, etc. Anything except the smallest (eg 'Express') stores. 100px
Petrol station amenity=fuel 100px
Shop shop=various Value can be whatever sounds sensible (eg bakery, butcher). Probably only worth adding notable shops in rural areas. 100px