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I was just wondering if there is a way to simply change an set of points that are actually closed (for example someone who traced the boundary of a lake) using a line and closing it as opposed to creating it as an area from the beginning. I find a number of lakes for instance that are not "areas" so cannot be tagged as a lake.

The only way around it that I can see is to delete the whole line and start again from scratch by tracing it again as an area then tagging it.

Is there a way that exists to simply convert the closed line to an area. And if not, where can I make the suggestion?

Thanks M

asked 28 Oct '13, 20:16

Azzitizz's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 29 Oct '13, 06:25

scai's gravatar image

scai ♦


One additional point, if other tags imply that the closed way is a linear feature, you can add "area=yes" to specify that it is an area feature.

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answered 29 Oct '13, 14:45

neuhausr's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%

What is a linear feature and how would other tags imply that?

(01 Feb '15, 04:51) mapgenius323

For example highway=pedestrian is by default a linear feature. If you add area=yes then it becomes an area feature.

(01 Feb '15, 16:50) scai ♦

this is my personal solution to this problem which worked fine especially if you click another area and then come back the menu is set for areas you can then pick the right tagging and id probably might get rid of some unessary area=yes taggs in the process. but most things if you left them there by ignorance when area implied by other tags like landuse for instance.

(02 Nov '15, 19:59) Govanus

The "area" tool only provides a simplified means to create a closed shape. A "line" which has closed, beginning and end points are the same, is what produces an area, with the appropriate tags. Thus if you tag the lake as such, it will show up correctly as a lake.

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answered 29 Oct '13, 01:55

he_the_great's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%

edited 29 Oct '13, 01:56

I mapped a closed line as a building. Within iD (and also potlatch) such a "building" looks like a closed line but not like a building.

(22 Nov '13, 21:36) hfst

"... with the appropriate tags". Can you outline what are the "appropriate" tags please? Is it just area=yes? What other tags might be appropriate if any?

(01 Feb '15, 04:53) mapgenius323

@mapgenius323, it depends on what you are tagging. Tags are defined by convention to be areas, you need to check the wiki to see if the tag is an area, line, or point.

(01 Feb '15, 07:07) he_the_great

There isn't an easy way to do this in iD yet. We are tracking this issue on

As other commenters have mentioned, the best way to do this currently is to just edit the tags. Add an area=yes tag and you'll be offered all of the "area" types of feature presets.

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answered 15 Oct '17, 17:10

bhousel's gravatar image

accept rate: 38%

Inside OSM, there is no proper "area" type. Areas are just represented by a closed line, like you have there. So if you tag it the same, then it will all be the same for rendering and working with it.

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answered 02 Feb '15, 10:42

rorym's gravatar image

accept rate: 11%

I use to switch between "area=yes" and "area=no" in the id editor (using the "show tags". It's the only way to fix things such as two buildings and a construction site rendered as one building. And no, changing the line to "building" does not work (unless you remove the "area=n8", of course.

A way to make this simpler would be fantastic!

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answered 02 Sep '17, 12:59

jos%C3%A9%20M's gravatar image

josé M
accept rate: 0%

I sort of figured they cant be so different (closed line and an area) its simply connected nodes. However trying to make the tags in iD isnt as straightforward (at least for me) if its not appearing on the tag menu on the left.

If I click to edit a "closed line" tag in iD, the option to tag or label it as a lake doesnt appear. The only options that appear are ones that are normally associated with lines, like roads, streams paths etc...

Well it sounds like Ill just have to gte used to switching back and forth from Id and potlatch. It would be nice to stick to a single editor, but im sure as time goes on the software will become more and more adept. So much work it must be to create programs foe people to create maps... amazing work so far i must say.

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answered 29 Oct '13, 02:40

Azzitizz's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

hmm, yeah iD is probably keying off the tags already on the way to decide it is an area. iD does allow you to do raw editing of the tags, but that isn't an excuse.

(29 Oct '13, 05:22) he_the_great

But how does iD know which tags to show? I think it is because a closed line is stored in a different way than an area. With this the question remains how to change a closed line to an area.

(30 Oct '13, 18:08) hfst

If you have a closed line, simply give it the tag you'd like - for example building = yes (or whatever), it will be rendered as a building area. If you just want an area, just add the tag area=yes.

(14 Nov '13, 09:20) GreenWaveSurfer

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question asked: 28 Oct '13, 20:16

question was seen: 17,842 times

last updated: 15 Oct '17, 17:10

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum