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This page is a rewrite/restructure of the existing United Kingdom Tagging Guidelines page to make it more friendly to new users, with more imagery and less focus on the footway/path rift.

Welcome! This page aims to help you find the best tag to use for a feature you may have come across, with specific advice relating to features in the United Kingdom.


The majority of the UK's major roads are already mapped, but it may be that they need updating from time to time. The majority of roads you will be mapping will be those further down the table.

Image Description Tags/Comments
M25 looking south - - 62063.jpg Motorway highway=motorway

highway=motorway_link for connections to the motorway

A12 Trunk Road, Brentwood, Essex - - 37909.jpg A roads with primary status (green signage) highway=trunk

highway=trunk_link for connections to the road

The A1114 - - 48306.jpg A roads (white signage) highway=primaryhighway=primary_link for connections to the road
The B1018 driving away from Maldon - - 287167.jpg B roads highway=secondary
Road to Battlesbridge Station - - 959848.jpg Busy unclassified roads which are wide enough for two cars to pass safely highway=tertiary
Tinkers Hole - - 172443.jpg Country lanes highway=unclassified
Luton, Whipperley Way, Farley Hill - - 804811.jpg Residential roads: roads only used for accessing residences highway=residential
Private Road, Salle - - 304266.jpg Private roads highway=*


Lusby farm track - - 817435.jpg Tracks highway=track

tracktype=* to specify what the surface of the track is like

Baker House - Driveway.JPG Driveways highway=service


access=private if the driveway is only used to access private property

Prestonhall industrial estate - - 639124.jpg Other service roads such as parking isles, roads in industrial estates, etc. highway=service

service=* if an appropriate value exists

Byway to Feltwell - - 397513.jpg Byways Previously used highway=byway but should now be tagged as a track

Road numbers

For roads which are signposted with an official number, add ref=* with the number and its letter prefix. These roads are motorways, A roads, B roads and a limited number of local authority C roads.

Road signs

A lot of information can be obtained from road signs such as access restrictions, hazards and speed limits. Refer to Road signs in the United Kingdom for details on how to tag information found in road signs.

Road relations

You may also wish to add the entirety of a road to a route relation. For a (not very) complete list of route relations in the United Kingdom, see United Kingdom road relations.


Image Description Tags/Comments
Urban Walkway - - 814916.jpg A path for pedestrians. highway=footway


Public footpath sign, Alvechurch.JPG A designated public footpath. Ensure that the sign explicitly states this is a public footpath before tagging. As for any other footpath, but add designation=public_footpath
Path across field - - 173991.jpg 'Desire' paths and paths across private land. These are unsignposted and likely have no legal status. Do not use this if the path is signposted. highway=path


cycle=yes if the path is suitable for cyclists


There are two fundamental types of cycle paths that you will come across when mapping: those that form part of a road (cycle lanes) and those that are separate from a road (cycle tracks).

Cycle lanes

Tagging cycle lanes can be quite complicated and there are a couple of ways of doing it. See the Bicycle page for more information.

Cycle tracks

Image Description Tags/Comments
UK traffic sign 956.svg Shared cycle and pedestrian path. highway=cycleway
UK traffic sign 957.svg Segregated cycle and pedestrian path. highway=cycleway


UK traffic sign 955.svg Cycle only path. Use is not intended for pedestrians, but it is also not prohibited. highway=cycleway

If a nearby alternative route exists for pedestrians, add foot=no


Image Description Tags/Comments
Public Bridleway - - 217551.jpg A path intended for horseriders. In England and Wales, pedestrians and cycles are permitted. highway=bridleway

Retail outlets

Some retail outlets in the United Kingdom are tagged inconsistently. If you are unsure how to tag a shop, see if it appears on United Kingdom retail chains for recommendations on how to tag it.

See also