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For the moment just a random listing of the main things I tag, are am interested in tagging. I will gradually try and make this more coherent, but its mainly for my own use, particularly to identify how I've previously tagged something, or things I haven't really worked the tagging through.

Education, Academia and Research

See also, below Campus areas.

  • Nurseries and Kindergartens. I don't really have a clue how to tag these. I record them in notes etc when mapping, but dont like tagging them amenity=school.
  • Schools. I try and map these as campus areas, with buildings, parking, paths, roads, grassy areas and sports facilities noted. Obviously not easy to do if no aerial photos present. Usual tagging: for the area amenity=school, and also usually a node with the same tag and the name centred on the building (this all a throwback from missing rendering, so I should mend my ways). Paths I usually add as plain highway=footway, ignoring likely access restrictions. I try and mark access to the school grounds usually with barrier=gate. Some differentiation of gates might be nice (narrower pedestrian vs. car-sized gates).
  • FE Colleges. More or less as for Universities. Only non-degree awarding institutions get amenity=college. Some sixth-form colleges may be tagged amenity=school, so I'm inconsistent here, as I tags I use tend to be based on historical origin of the institution.
  • Universities
  • Research Institutes. Research Institutes can be split into 5 kinds: major commercial institutes (like Bell Labs, Xerox PARC), major non-commercial institutes (like Jackson Lab, Rutherford-Appleton, CERN), independent institutes not-associated with universities (e.g., Cancer Research Lincoln Inns Field), independent institutes in universities (e.g., MRC Hearing Research Unit) and minor institutes located within other organisations (typically a university). The first two kinds I map as for other campus sites, but landuse=commercial for the former, and area tagging for the latter not yet determined. A node/area amenity=research_institution is also used. The third & fourth category usually have the their own distinct buildings so can be done with amenity=research_institution building=yes. In principle last category should just have amenity=research_institution, but haven't done this yet.
  • Museums. Usually just the [[Key:|]]=museum with name. If distinct building and aerial photos then this can be added.
  • Libraries. As for museums. Access tags are relevant for private libraries, restricted access libraries (many smaller academic/research ones), etc.
  • Learned Societies/Professional Bodies. Tagging not resolved. See Burlington House, Piccadilly.

Culture and Entertainment

  • Bingo Halls
  • Casinos
  • Amusement Arcades. Not tagged, but would if on a large scale, for instance in seaside resorts. No tagging convention.
  • Theatres
  • Concert Halls
  • Bandstands
  • Cinemas

Emergency Services

  • Fire
  • Police
  • Ambulance
  • Mountain Rescue
  • Coastguard
  • Lifeboat


Buildings and places associated with religion

  • Cathedrals
  • Churches
  • Chapels
  • Abbeys & Priories
  • Meeting Houses
  • Synagogues
  • Gudwaras
  • Hindu Temples
  • Buddhist Temples
  • Shrines
  • Wayside crosses etc.


  • War Memorials
  • Statuary
  • other Public Sculpture

Public Buildings

  • Town Halls etc.
  • Register Offices
  • Courts
  • Council Offices


  • Stadia
  • Race courses
  • Motor circuits
  • Greyhound racing
  • Playing Fields
  • Sports clubs
  • Pavilions
  • Pitches
  • Leisure Centres
  • Swimming Pools
  • Gyms
  • Ice Stadia
  • 10-pin Bowling Alleys

Green Space

  • Cemeteries.
  • Churchyards.
  • Campus areas. (Schools, Colleges, Universities, Hospitals, Businesses, Civic Centres etc).
  • Nature reserves.
  • Playgrounds.
  • Urban Parks.
  • Recreation Grounds.
  • Playing Fields.
  • Amenity Grassland.
  • Village Greens.
  • Public Gardens.
  • Private Gardens. Only mapped if significant (in cultural value, or size).
  • Allotments.

Nature & Biotopes


  • Streams. Generally easy to cross when on foot. Say upto about 1.5 m across if fast flowing and deep, probably somewhat wider if shallow and fordable. It would be nice to discriminate between obvious streams and very minor streams (runnels) which are only noticeable when one crosses them. Obviously width can do the job, but life is too short.
  • Rivers
  • Rivers (large). Mapped with a way for the flowline (centre line) and waterway=riverbank. Latter is somewhat broken as it is used to define areas and parts of the way do not define riverbanks, this leads to rendering issues (see trac). Currently no standard as to what is a large river. I would guess anything over 10m wide, but perhaps less. The OS VectorMap District data uses areas to map even watercourses which I would class as streams.
  • Canals. Really a whole separate subject area. Currently following Richard's advice and mapping locks as nodes. Once lock gates start being mapped it gets a bit involved. Abandoned canals (e.g., Grantham and Nottingham Canals) with water present another problem as I'm interested in them as places with interesting natural history, whereas canal mappers want to see them in a different way. Canals are mapped as ways, not areas.
  • Canal basins. Currently mapped with the erroneous landuse=basin (just like some open-air swimming pools). Really should be something like waterway=canal_basin. Might start using this with natural=water to keep the renders looking pretty. It also has the advantage of at least being true.
  • Irrigation canals. See also drains.
  • Drains & ditches.
  • Lakes & Ponds.
  • Reservoirs.
  • Watersheds (Drainage Basins).


Food and Drink

Retail outlets (shops etc)



Footways in Urban Areas

Public Rights of Way (PROW)

Mainly in the countryside.

Street Furniture (inc Traffic Calming)


Traffic Calming

Traffic Lights & Road Junctions

Barriers (Bollards &c)