West Virginia

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Flag of United States Part of United States mapping project.
Not to be confused with Virginia.
West Virginia, United States, North America

latitude: 38.5, longitude: -80.5
Browse map of West Virginia 38°30′00.00″ N, 80°30′00.00″ W
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West Virginia
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West Virginia is a state in United States, North America at latitude 38°30′00.00″ North, longitude 80°30′00.00″ West.

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Getting started

Publicly available resources useful for mapping in West Virginia:

For help with mapping in West Virginia, check out #local-west-virginia in the OSMUS Slack.

Current projects

Road tagging guidelines

A general road tagging guideline can be found under United States roads tagging. Read carefully before touching any elements!

Interstate Highways

I-79 (WV).svg
Main article: Interstate Highway relations

Interstate highways should be tagged as highway=motorway and ref=I num (without a hyphen), and their route relations with network=US:I. Interstate ramps onto or from a motorway should be tagged as highway=motorway_link; destination=* tags should be added according to signage.

US Highways

US 50.svg
Main article: United States roads tagging § U.S. Highways

Most US highways in West Virginia will be tagged highway=primary, though this is not a hard and fast rule; some non-motorway divided highways (such as US 50 between Parkersburg and Clarksburg) are more appropriately tagged as highway=trunk. Controlled-access highways occasionally exist near (relatively) major cities, and should be tagged in the same fashion as an Interstate Highway. Tag all US highways as ref=US num, and their route relations with network=US:US.

State Routes


Most state highways in West Virginia can be either tagged highway=primary or highway=secondary, depending on the usage; occasional exceptions do exist, such as highway=trunk. Tag all state routes with ref=WV num, and their route relations with network=US:WV.

Do note that the WV Department of Transportation uses the term “trunk” in a different way than OSM does[1]. For example, WV 5 between Glenville and I-79 is considered a trunk road by the WVDOT, but would only be considered highway=primary by OSM standards as it is (relatively) low-volume.

County Routes

Circle sign 220-7.svg

Most county highways—technically secondary state highways as they are managed by the WVDOT[2]—are most often tagged as highway=unclassified, highway=residential, or highway=tertiary. Tag all county routes with either ref=CR num for “whole number” routes, or ref=CR numerator/denominator for “fractional” (spur) routes (e.g. ref=CR 220/7 for the sign displayed on the right); tag their route relations with network=US:WV:County[3].

Do NOT tag county highways as highway=track; instead, use highway=residential or highway=unclassified, and some combination of surface=*, smoothness=* and/or tracktype=*.

Beware that TIGER can be notoriously inaccurate for county routes, especially small spur roads. Real-world examples[note 1] of such inexactitude include (but are assuredly not limited to): a ten-meter driveway being displayed as “State Route 47” on the latest TIGER overlay; ref=CR 7/3 being erroneously tagged name=County Route 73 in the original TIGER import; and three roads with identical names intersecting each other in the 2016 shapefiles.

Home Access Road Program (HARP)

WV HARP 908.svg

HARP roads are almost always highway=residential. Tag all HARP roads with either ref=HARP num for “whole number” routes, or ref=HARP numerator/denominator for “fractional” routes, similar to the county route scheme; tag their route relations with network=US:WV:HARP.

Delta Roads

Delta road 71 shield.svg

Delta roads are entirely defunct[4] despite the rare sightings of remaining signage. Do not tag delta roads in ref=*; instead, use old_ref=*.

Park and forest routes

WV PFR 803 mockup.svg
Main article: United States roads tagging § Tagging Forest Roads

Roads in nature reserves (i.e. parks) can generally be tagged as highway=unclassified or highway=path; use discretion as appropriate. National Forest Roads will use either ref=NF num for primary forest routes, or ref=FR num for secondary forest routes[5]. State Park and Forest roads (depicted right, though generally unsigned on-the-ground) are notated as ref=PFR num[6].

Officially labelled trails, meanwhile, are to be tagged as ref=TR num[5].

Other mapping information

Please follow OSM Good practices, especially by avoiding using wrong tags to “improve” rendering.


Imagery layer comparison as of April 2022
Imagery layer Coverage Resolution Age in years Alignment Tree leaves
Bing aerial imagery Statewide Medium to High 1–11[note 2] Depends Depends
Esri Statewide Medium 2–7[note 3] Good Depends
Esri Clarity Beta Statewide 30 cm 11[note 4] Good On
Mapbox Satellite Charleston, Huntington and surrounding areas High 5 Good Off
Outside Charleston and Huntington Medium 2–7 Depends Depends
Maxar Standard Statewide Medium 2–7 Depends Depends
Maxar Premium Statewide Medium 2–7 Depends Depends
National Agricultural Imagery Program Statewide Low 2[note 5] Good On
WVGISTC Best Leaf-off[note 6] Statewide (by county) High 1–6 Good Off

Note that Mapbox and Esri take the imagery mostly from Maxar.

Deciphering signs

A key for deciphering weight limit signs.

See also

Surrounding states


  1. As spotted by Sterling.
  2. The age can be found by the metadata on the particular tile. This applies to the metro area as well.
  3. The Esri map viewer is useful for checking the age of a given tile.
  4. The Esri Clarity map viewer is useful for checking the age of a given tile.
  5. As of May 13, 2021, 2020 imagery in West Virginia imagery is now available, according to the USDA Geospatial Data Giveaway.
  6. The legality of using Dataset 442 imagery on OpenStreetMap is uncertain, at best[7]; proceed with caution.


  1. West Virginia Code §17-4-1.
  2. West Virginia Department of Highways. “As a Matter of Fact…”. p. II-1. 
  3. The value of network=* should be US:WV:County verbatim, not replaced with the name of the county (such as US:WV:Kanawha). "County roads" in West Virginia are actually a state-maintained, state-signed system of secondary roads. Shields are identical in all counties.
  4. Turnbull, Andrew. “West Virginia Highway Classifications and Route Markers”. Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Monongahela National Forest GIS Staff (2010). “Dolly Sods Wilderness”. 
  6. Unnamed desk clerk at Cedar Creek State Park (2020). Personal conversation.
  7. Meng, Christopher. “Add West Virginia high resolution imagery”. Retrieved 2021-05-17.