Tagging - iD editor


This image keymon shows you which buttons or wheel on a mouse has been used, and which keyboard buttons pressed.

Why Tags are needed

Without a tag an item has no meaning and maps will not show it. The tag explains to the computer what the feature actually is. If you find something where the tag has been ‘missed’, please add the tag. If an item is tagged it will have a colour, such as the red hue to the building tagged in the image above. If it’s white investigate and add the tag if it’s been missed.


The author of the project in the Tasking Manager does not know which editor the mapper will be using, so the instructions can often have a comment similar to this;

  • Buildings are generally round huts and should be tagged as Building Features / Building in iD and building=yes in JOSM.

If you need to check what tag is actually on an item, click on it, then scroll to the bottom of the tagging pane and look under All Tags

Tags - a brief explanation

If you select an item and click on All tags you will see a label such as

building yes

This is the most basic building tag, and is the recommended tag when tracing buildings from a task on the Tasking Manager.

If you know exactly what the building is, then you would use a more detailed tag such as;
building house
building school
or one of many other tags. For more detailed information on tagging buildings see https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Buildings

See the Highways section of this HOT-tips section for more information about tagging highways.

Relations - such as buildings with a courtyard or islands in a river

Some features have their tags on a Relation not on the feature itself. If you see on your screen mention of a relation, as a complete beginner the best advice is to ‘leave alone’.

For more information on relations (not a beginner subject) see;

LearnOSM - JOSM - Relations which explains relations but uses a different OSM editor, or https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Relation

See also

For a more comprehensive list of tags see https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Map_Features

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