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Wikidata is a free knowledge base driven by a community and hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. As well as providing a repository for linked open data it aims to support Wikipedia and its sibling projects (such as Wikivoyage). Like Wikipedia, anyone can edit Wikidata. Also like Wikipedia, it is a collection of citations rather than an original source. Wikidata data is provided under a CC0 ("public domain") licence. Note that importing data from Wikidata into OSM is generally not feasible due to copyright incompatibilities (see that section for details).

Why link to Wikidata?

Sir Tim Berners-Lee devised the “Five stars of open data”, the fifth, and highest, level of which is “link your data to other data to provide context”. By including a Wikidata ID (which software understands as a URI) in an OSM object we link it to an object (called an "item") on Wikidata, and from there, directly and indirectly, to many other Wikidata items and to objects in many other systems. That makes OSM part of the Linked Open Data graph rather than an isolated system.

More pragmatically, it allows anyone querying OSM to retrieve additional data and links to other databases about an OSM object. That might, for example, be the population of a town, both current and at various periods in its history, or the birth date and place of the architect of a building, and their portrait, or a link to a system showing the last week’s rainfall in a nature reserve. In time, this may enable more complex queries like “all the scientific papers are written by people born in this village, sorted by how many other papers cite them”. (Some of this third party data is under a licence compatible with OSM and some are not, and hence may not be as reusable. Caveat emptor.)

The ability to use Wikidata as an 'ID broker' should prevent the proliferation of ref tags for external systems/databases on OSM objects and the subsequent burden of maintenance. There will often be debate whether a specific system's refs are significant enough to be part of OSM or whether it is more appropriate to rely on Wikidata.

Including Wikidata tags in OSM means that OSM objects can be retrieved and used by other systems such as the highlighted infoboxes in Wikimedia Commons, etc. (see Usage section).

Wikidata is *not* Wikipedia

Wikidata contains data from many sources other than Wikipedia, and whilst many Wikidata items were originally generated from Wikipedia pages, Wikidata has re-labelled many of the disambiguation-named Wikipedia articles to be more like a database.

Wikidata items point to multiple language Wikipedia articles, which may be rather different. The power of Wikidata is the cited data that it itself contains and not just the linked content of Wikipedia.

Linking from OSM to Wikidata


Wikidata entities can be linked to, from any kind of OSM object via the wikidata=* key. The key has a format 'Qnnnnn' (e.g. Q936 which is the Wikidata item representing OpenStreetMap). The objects are language independent, but the keys are not human-readable, unlike other things in OSM.

There is not always a 1-to-1 mapping between OSM and Wikidata. A Wikidata item may refer to several different OSM database objects, for example: a (boundary=administrative) municipality, place=neighborhood, place=city, and place=island might have the same name but be mapped differently in OSM. In this case consider splitting the Wikidata item (or ask for help if you are not sure how to do this).

Some Wikidata items represent features that are mapped as a series of several objects in OSM (e.g. long streets, streams). In such cases, the Wikidata item can be linked to from an appropriate OSM relation.

Another way to link objects is by using wikipedia=* however Wikidata is much more atomic and database-like than Wikipedia. The wikipedia=* tag has the advantage of being human-readable, although various OSM tools will display a linked Wikidata item's label alongside its QID.

Duplicate items may be created on Wikidata, discovered later, and merged. One of them (usually the younger) becomes a redirect. OSM should not point to a redirect object as this may lead to the link being ignored in some queries; such link should be updated when encountered.

As a tag qualifier

Main article: Key:wikidata#Secondary Wikidata links


Link Wikidata to OSM elements

wikidata=* item identifiers can be added to OSM elements by using:

Validation tools

  • Sophox: SPARQL query service for OSM, allows to combine data from Wikidata and validate links through federated queries
  • wdlocator: Slippy map combining data from OSM and Wikidata
  • OSM-Wikidata Map: Slippy map combining data from OSM and Wikidata

Note that in certain cases, wikidata=* should be used as a suffix of another key. For example, if you want to link an OSM shop to the Wikidata object of the brand, you can use brand:wikidata=*; a statue can be tagged artist:wikidata=* and subject:wikidata=*, etc.

Quality Assurance

Wikidata user scripts

Several user scripts on Wikidata allow to query and render an OSM-derived map for specific items in Wikidata matching OSM elements:

  • GeoHack replacement script – replaces coordinates' external links to GeoHack with direct links to a single mapping provider (for example, OSM).
  • overpass – embeds a map displaying features tagged with the current item in OpenStreetMap. Powered by Overpass Turbo
  • ClaimMaps – adds maps to "OpenStreetMap relation ID" (P402) or "geoshape" (P3896) statements
  • osm.js – adds a link to OSM in Tools section of an item page

Linking from Wikidata to OSM

OpenStreetMap-related properties at Wikidata

OSM tags and keys

For a list of OSM tags’ and keys’ equivalent items in Wikidata, see what links to Wikidata concept (12) on this wiki and what links to OpenStreetMap tag or key (P1282) on Wikidata.

See also a query to identify OSM wiki data items not yet linked to Wikidata: items that do not have wikidata concept

Usage by web sites, etc.

Wikimedia Foundation

Wikimedia Foundation projects, including each language’s Wikipedia, display maps using OSM data. If an entity in OSM has been tagged with a Wikidata ID, its outline can be highlighted on the map. At the moment, there is no POI support. Only shapes and lines can be shown this way. See w:mw:Help:Extension:Kartographer#External_data.

OSM areas (not points or lines) with wikidata tags are highlighted in infoboxes in Commons etc.

The Kartographer extension binds OSM objects to their Wikipedia article when the object has a wikidata=* tag, see for example this article map in the infobox.

If the Wikidata ID tagged on an OSM object is to a redirect then the object will not be highlighted on Wikimedia maps.



Reasonator, which puts a human-friendly front end on Wikidata, is now showing two links for geotagged entries, to TagInfo and Overpass turbo, querying these tags.

For example, the Reasonator page:

has links to:

You’ll see them just below the map images.


OSM elements tagged with Wikidata item unique identifiers can be displayed in Wikipedia pages, as overlays on OSM-based maps, using the Kartographer Extension. See also Kartographer/OSM.

OSM wiki

Templates to create links to Wikidata pages:

  • {{Q}} – display a link to a Wikidata item by its unique (hopefully stable) identifier.
  • {{Property}} – display a link to a Wikidata property by its unique (hopefully stable) identifier.

Querying Wikidata and OSM

Wikidata data can be retrieved in a number of ways, one of which is SPARQL. Since OSM data can also be queried using SPARQL, Wikidata “federates” the two, allowing them to be queried jointly.

Specific OSM-based services which Wikidata federates with include:

Importing data

Importing data from OSM into Wikidata

Copying data from OSM to Wikidata (or even from other Wikimedia projects) is not allowed because Wikidata uses the public-domain style Creative Commons CC0 license which does not contain any attribution or share-alike provisions. Obviously, this does not apply to original data which you have generated yourself, for example by your own surveys.

Note Wikimedia legal team advice confirms this: For EU databases, bots or other automated ways of extracting data should also be avoided because of the Directive’s prohibition on “repeated and systematic extraction” of even insubstantial amounts of data. (from w:m:Wikilegal/Database Rights#Conclusion).

Importing data from Wikidata into OSM

Wikidata is using the CC0 license, which on first sight allows imports into OSM. However, OSM does not, generally, accept imports of data from Wikidata due to the sources often used to contribute to Wikidata. A significant part of Wikidata data was harvested from Wikipedia, in which for example most coordinates are produced using/copied from products with licenses conflicting with OSM.

Note that CC0 license "only extends to the material the licensor actually has rights in and specifically avoids making a statement on the status of any third party material included. For use in OpenStreetMap, the licences of all the data that is included in the dataset need to be determined and compatibility verified."[1]

For example, copying from Google Maps to OpenStreetMap (even indirectly) is not OK, and copying Wikidata coordinates (that were copied to Wikipedia from Google Maps) is also not OK. Note that Wikipedia allows and encourages to use Google Maps to obtain coordinate data[2] and other sources that are not OK to be used in OSM[3].

The same applies to any other data present in Wikidata.

Import is OK only for Wikidata content that was imported from sources compatible with OSM - what excludes for example coordinates obtained from Wikipedia.

OpenStreetMap tries to be whiter than white, and data should be legally used in any country[4]. Therefore OpenStreetMap acknowledges sui generis database right. As a conclusion, an import of information from Wikidata into OSM is generally not permitted because Wikidata has lower standards in terms of copyright than OSM. In addition, Wikidata contains some data from sources we are not allowed to use[5].

In rare situations, when it is possible to verify that data has acceptable copyright status it is possible to use part of Wikidata data.

Past activities

  • 2013-09-12: There was a proposal to automatically add Wikidata IDs to a number of OSM objects.
  • 2016-10-27: Mapbox has proposed a procedure for importing, but has yet to get community feedback on it and thus reverted in the meantime.
  • 2016-11-17: There has been a Mapbox inspired mass-edit but has also been put on hold until further community discussion.

Academic papers about OSM

Wikidata has details of academic papers about OSM. They can be seen at Scholia.

Notes and references

See also

Wikidata has a page on OpenStreetMap.