Why isn't there a link to explain the icons on the map?

I can see this brown stain with a line under it on the map but have absolutely NO CLUE what it's supposed to be...

asked 14 Jun '12, 09:13

tt40's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

The "map key" is useful, but it doesn't show every icon that is displayed on the map. There should be a link from the map key to a complete list of all the icons that can be displayed.

The "Map Features" wiki page is not really very helpful as 1. It is organized by feature type (rather than being a browsable list of icons. 2. There are many broken image links. 3. It doesn't show the icon that prompted me to come to this page (specifically that for https://www.openstreetmap.org/node/3971689567). I have, from the node description, eventually worked out that it means "ford", but this is a really poor UI for finding this info.

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answered 14 Oct '19, 13:15

MartinBonner's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


This is an open source project driven entirely by volunteers. If you tell us what kind of help you can offer (are you a programmer, or happy to spend serious time editing the wiki, or willing to write documentation with some other tool) then we could point you in the right direction to apply your time to improve the situation.

(14 Oct '19, 13:22) Frederik Ramm ♦

There's now a map key among the icons at the right-hand side:

Crude MSPaint arrow pointing at map key icon

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answered 15 Aug '13, 16:06

SomeoneElse's gravatar image

SomeoneElse ♦
accept rate: 15%

Indeed, and that's a great improvement, but the list it displays doesn't include the icons...

(10 Mar '14, 20:54) Waldir

As Richard has said, there is indeed a map key. If you'd like more information exactly how your "brown stain" was tagged, you could also have a look at the answer to this question, and browse the map data for more information.

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answered 14 Jun '12, 11:18

SomeoneElse's gravatar image

SomeoneElse ♦
accept rate: 15%


Thanks for the answer. I have activated the edit mode and potlatch shows a rather nice icon summary. That's more or less what I meant.

But it still doesn't solve the problem: 1. This page is not available to the average user (without account). But everyone should be able to see a legend without logging in, I think. 2. The icons are completely different from the icons shown on the map. (Which really doesn't make any sense to me.) 3. The "brown stain" is show as different icon here: an amphora ("Archaeological"). Even now I cannot see any resemblance between the stain and an amphora.

(14 Jun '12, 11:34) tt40

If you click the little arrow to the right of "edit" a menu drops down and you can select "browse map data" - you don't need to be logged in to see that.

Most of the tags that you'll see there will provide more detail than the average user will be interested in - not every tag is rendered and not every rendering rule is described on the map key (it'd just get too complicated).

(14 Jun '12, 11:42) SomeoneElse ♦

Odd. If I click on that arrow, I just see three "Edit with..." options. No "browse map data". Could that be a browser issue?

(15 Aug '13, 15:12) perdido

The user interface has changed since June 2012.

(15 Aug '13, 15:26) gormo

Indeed it has. You now have to click the "layers" icon at the right, and then click the tickbox next to "Map Data".

A much more relevant change to the question, though, is the addition of a map key on the right-hand side - the "i" below layers.

(15 Aug '13, 16:01) SomeoneElse ♦

I suppose that your question is not really why there is no link to explain the icons; the answer to that question would not help you find out about the "brown stain". So why not ask the question you want answered instead of one that is worded to vent your frustration and SHOUT AT US? You don't even say which map you are talking about.

There's a wiki page that explains a lot - not all - of the features we map, and many of them also have an illustration of the icon used to represent that feature on the standard map on www.openstreetmap.org (which is by no means the only map you can make from OSM data).

That wiki page is called Map Features.

If that page does not answer your question then explain what you mean by "brown stain" and where you found it.

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answered 14 Jun '12, 10:03

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
accept rate: 23%


I suppose that your question is not really why there is no link to explain the icons

No the question IS why there is no link. Why is there no legend? Every printed map has such a legend. IMHO it's really a major drawback if you present a map without giving a summary of the symbols.

The "brown stain" is just an example to show why it's necessary it explain things.

...instead of one that is worded to vent your frustration and SHOUT AT US?

Just because I wrote 2 words in uppercase? Sorry, but I think you need to calm down...

You don't even say which map you are talking about.

I'd have thought that it's obvious. http://www.openstreetmap.org/

(14 Jun '12, 10:18) tt40

Please try and be a bit less snarky to people who are trying to help you!

There is indeed a map key. It's on the left under the link "Map key".

If the item you're looking at isn't mentioned there, you could post a 'permalink' to the area here, and we can go from there.

Feature requests should be logged at our bug-tracking system, http://trac.openstreetmap.org/, not here.

I'd have thought that it's obvious. http://www.openstreetmap.org/

Ah, but there are several maps available at osm.org - check the layer switcher in the top right.

(14 Jun '12, 10:57) Richard ♦

Thanks for the legend link. I didn't see, you can call me blind if you like ;-)

And you're right, there aren't any icons there. Ok, I'll submit it as feature request.

(14 Jun '12, 11:37) tt40
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question asked: 14 Jun '12, 09:13

question was seen: 6,941 times

last updated: 14 Oct '19, 13:22

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