User:Viper444/My Projects/Public, Protected, and Restricted Lands

From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search


There is no currently no clear defined method for tagging many public lands including parks, recreation areas, forest parks, conservation areas, nature reserves, natural areas, etc..

Depending on the size, scope, and use of the areas along with user preference, they are marked with any number of tags. This results in inconsistency, confusion, and makes it difficult to extract information about a common set of features.


I recommend we try a new method of tagging these types of things

Here are some of the main parts of this proposal

  • All parks not part of a larger park system should be tagged park=* with the exception of nature parks.
  • Nature parks and other areas with natural landscapes would be tagged landuse=nature_area
  • Larger parks and nature areas would be part of park networks
  • Protected parks and nature areas would get protected tags and/or be part of one or many protected area relationships
  • admin_level=* used for defining administrative level of operation.


Parks can be defined quite broadly. The general definition is an area designated to some specific purpose.

For our definition. Parks will generally refer to maintained/landscaped areas not dedicated or dominated to nature.

This is very similar to the way leisure=park is currently defined on the wiki.

Examples include common recreational areas in communities however it could also include business and industrial parks, theme parks, trailer parks, and so on.

The goal is to narrow down the choices and determine which type deserves it's own category.

Parks = Maintained, Landscaped, Facilities
small parks
community parks
Nature Areas = Natural features dominate
Nature Areas
Nature parks
Nature reserves
Large, often networked parks
regional and/or national parks
Most protected areas

Take a look at the proposed Key:park page to see all the different types of parks available to choose from

Key Value Description Usage Type Replaces Picture Render Current Usage
park yes Land dedicated to a particular purpose. Includes business, community, trailer, theme, and amusement parks Used for general tagging of parks. More specific values should be used if possible
Victoria Park leisure centre under construction 04.jpg


Nature Areas

Now what about nature parks, wilderness areas, forest parks, grassland areas, savannas, natures areas, reserves, refuges, and so on?

These could all be considered forms of nature areas. Some with more or less levels of protection.

Sometimes these are called parks as well which can confuse things. However these areas tend to be naturally landscaped. So we will keep nature parks under this category of nature areas instead of parks to avoid confusion.

The description is typically a form of nature and an area and/or protection type.

For example -

Term Nature type Area and/or Protection
Nature Area nature Area
Wildlife Protection Zone Wildlife Protection Zone
Spotted Newt Conservation Zone Wildlife Conservation Zone

Some of these areas have more or less protections and other uses however they are still designated nature areas so we will take care of that first.

These should be tagged with the proposed tag landuse=nature_area

landuse nature_area Designated areas used for the preservation or enjoyment of nature Nature parks, areas, reserves, preserves, conserves, nature, wildlife, and biological protected Areas, refuges, sanctuaries, management areas, forest Parks, grassland parks, wildernesses, etc leisure=nature_reserve



Next if the area is specifically a type of designated nature area, we can specify that with a nature tag

nature=(nature type)

nature forest Forest Nature Area Local, regional, and national Forested Nature areas


nature wilderness Wilderness area Local, regional, and national Wilderness Nature Areas


nature grassland Grassland Nature Areas Local, regional, and national grasslands


nature savanna Savanna Nature Area Local, regional, and national savannas


nature wildlife Wildlife Nature Area Designated Wildlife areas



Wildlife area
key value
landuse nature_area
nature wildlife
Forest Park
key value
landuse nature_area
nature forest

We'll get to adding the recreational aspect if needed later on.

We may also may want to indicate the protections an area has.

This would be done with the Key:protected=*

Protection Tags

Key Value Description Usage Type Replaces Picture Render Current Usage
protected yes Area has some form of protection
protected resource Areas contains protections for natural resources

see possible resource types considered under Proposed features/Key:protected area


protected environment Environmental protections in place


protected wildlife Wildlife protection areas, species management


protected monument National Monument areas


Protected Wildlife Area
key value What it describes
landuse nature_area nature area
nature wildlife optional
protected yes or wildlife for specificity Wildlife Protection

these could be described further with subclass tags for each kind of protected area.

Further detail on the protected object could be provided with additional tags



This could be used in combination with protection class if there is not a specific tag.

Military areas can be tagged using the landuse=military and the military=* tags if allowed.

There are also areas the public is generally not allowed to be. These areas imply public access is not allowed.

These are restricted areas, and these restrictions deserve their own tag.

Restricted areas include anywhere that poses a safety, legal, or other hazard.

Areas would include water protection areas, and the like.

Chemical spill cleanup area
restricted hazard_area
Area military equals danger area.png
Hazard area


Parks and other natural areas that have recreational activities would be tagged with the following keys

recreation yes Feature has recreational activities available Recreational areas Note: this is not the same as marking an area of land as a dedicated recreation area. This describes whether recreational activities are available within any number of features.
Swimming area in Lake Somerset at The Spit recreation area, Somerset Dam (locality), 2020.jpg
Landuse-recreation ground.png


Key Value Description Usage Replaces comments Picture Render Current Usage
recreation single_use Single purpose recreation area (ATV, Sandrails, etc) Single-use recreation areas


recreation fishing Fishing recreation available (potential for fishing site relationships) .
recreation hiking Hiking trails available (potential for trail relationship)

Administrative Level, Owner, Operator

Now that we can describe these areas effectively we can look at how to describe who owns and operates these areas and how they can be classified This is done using


With the amount of work that has gone into describing the rank of each area's administrative rankings it seems that there is no reason to reinvent the wheel.

Owner and operator can be used to describe the owner and operator.

Park Networks

Parks part of a larger network of parks should be added to a Park Network Relationship (park_network)

park_network values
Key Value Description Usage Replaces comments Picture Render Current Usage
type park_network


name Name of Park Network
admin_level OSM Admin level of operator


Type:park_network relation roles
Role Description Usage
park park area within the network
boundary boundary of the park
admin node/way of the entity/place that administers the park network
owner node/way of the entity/place that owns the park network
support node/way of entities/places that support or maintain the park network

Protected Areas

Larger protected areas should be added to a protected area relationship as shown below

protected_area relationship values
Key Value Description Usage
type protected_area
name Name of protected area
admin_level OSM Admin level of operator
protected protection type
Type:park_network relation roles
Role Description
area A protected area members
boundary Boundary of protected area
admin node/way of the entity/place that administers the protected area

Complicated example:

Large County Park part of a larger park network with a protected water power resource that that allows recreational access, has recreational areas, and is owned by federal government. The protected water resource being part of a larger Water storage basin.

Key Value Description
landuse nature_area Nature area
recreation yes with recreational activities
ownership national owned by federal government
Park Network Relationship
Key Value Description
name this County Parks and Recreation Name of park network
operator this County owned by federal government
admin_level 6 Operates at county level in US
Protected relationship
Key Value Description
name Name of protected area Name of protected area
admin_level 2 Managed at national level in US
protected resource Protection type
resource water


Using this method allows us to break things into render layers

key value combo layer render
park yes parks grey outline
park residential residential parks same as leisure=park
landuse nature_area nature areas could be based on nature type otherwise should be similar to nature reserve
landuse nature_area admin_level Administered nature area same as boundary=national park perhaps with nature type defining fill shade or a shade of green
recreation Recreational activities could overlay with a recreation themed symbol
landuse recreation_area Recreational areas Same as current
protected Protected areas minor dashed red outline perhaps?
restricted Restricted areas Red outline, bars, etc

parks (Different depending on the type) defaults to grey border outline with park=yes

park=residential - same as leisure=park now

nature areas - same as nature reserves

nature areas in park networks - same as national park

protected nature areas - could have red dashed outline

Areas with recreation -

Designated recreation areas - same as current recreation area rendering

Similar Projects

United States/Public lands

User:ZeLonewolf/Proposal:Key:protected area

Proposed features/Key:protected area


External discussions


This is the beginning draft - more is being added

Please use the talk page to discuss this proposal by clicking the talk link at the top of the article

Please comment on the discussion page.