My city hasn't gotten enlightened yet with respect to bicycling, and so we have a lot of storm sewers with wide openings, parallel to the street, that are dangerous to bicycles and small motorcycles.

Is there a way to tag storm sewers in general? Key:manhole doesn't seem right. Thanks!

asked 28 Jan '15, 20:14

Federico%20Mena%20Quintero's gravatar image

Federico Men...
accept rate: 0%

edited 28 Jan '15, 21:49

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦


Hi Federico Mena Quintero, what do you mean by storm sewers ? Do you have a link or specimen ?

(28 Jan '15, 21:11) Hendrikklaas

@Hendrikklaas I think this is talking about what I'd call a storm drain (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm_drain ). In places subject to cyclones such as parts of Australia, then can be quite large and quite a hazard.

(28 Jan '15, 21:19) SomeoneElse ♦

I think this is the sort of thing the questioner is talking about: http://corneliusnews.net/blog/2012/07/16/drainage-grates-on-n-main-st-are-bicycle-hazards/

(04 May '15, 14:38) neuhausr

neuhausr has it right - I'm talking about drains whose openings are larger than a bicycle wheel, so you can fall in and fly over the handlebars quite easily.

(04 May '15, 16:39) Federico Men...

The best fitting tag currently in use is:


This tag has been used 4157 times. I couldn't find a good alternative on taginfo or in the wiki.

Edit: Because of the discussion on this question and answer, I have started a proposal and would appreciate all your input.

permanent link

answered 03 May '15, 09:52

Ashley%20Laurens's gravatar image

Ashley Laurens
accept rate: 40%

edited 06 May '15, 04:21


I'm not sure that's quite the same thing. "manhole=drain" is mostly used on nodes above the drain, which might be what the questioner was asking, but might not. If you look at an example one:


you can see that the drain itself has been mapped as http://www.openstreetmap.org/way/300811530 (waterway=ditch, tunnel=culvert). In the case of the storm sewer itself, I'd probably go with waterway=drain (and appropriate layer and tunnel tags).

(03 May '15, 13:03) SomeoneElse ♦

I may very well have misunderstood what sort of object he was referring to, but from his description of the problem it made me thing of a stormwater capture pit like ones I used to work with. The old drawing I used to work from is available at http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/planning-building/planning-guidelines-and-tools/superseded-brisbane-city-plan-2000/superseded-standard-drawings just select drawing UMS-331 from the drainage pull down.

The older (stopped being installed in Brisbane around 1998) had a grate for traffic which had steel bars running n the same direction as the traffic which was disastrous for cyclists as front wheels would drop into the grate if they rode over it. Newer grate designs have bars on both directions which were still problematic but better, and the newest have much thicker metal at the top providing a safer riding surface.

The way you linked to looked to me to be an above ground drainage ditch which then flows underground through a pipe or rectangular culvert, in which case a manhole=drain would be (from my interpretation of the tags) an inlet structure to let more water into the pipe or culvert. The underground pipe in either case is not a hazard.

(03 May '15, 13:16) Ashley Laurens

Thank you, I think I'll use manhole=drain. I hadn't noticed the "drain: for removing excess rainfall (storm/rain drain)" in the wiki.

(04 May '15, 16:44) Federico Men...

In GB manholes are the access lids that can be lifted for men to get in to clean and repair water, power or telecom pipes or cables, if they are deep, such as drains they will have steps and be large enough for a man to climb down. They don't usually have grills for water get in. But can be a slip hazard for cycles. The drain holes in the road side gutter are not called manholes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhole

(05 May '15, 11:08) andy mackey

And I would not call it a manhole in other situations either, but manhole is the only current tag in either the wiki or taginfo. Does this highlight an issure where a proposal may need to be drawn up for drainage objects?

(05 May '15, 11:12) Ashley Laurens

An issue, yes Ashley and this is a drain. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm_drain as SomenoeElse pointed out, maybe drain grill is the name we need.

(05 May '15, 11:19) andy mackey

And like many things represented in OSM they are called many different things of varying levels of technicality. As a civil Draughtsperson I am familiar with stormwater inlet devices of various types admittedly this familiarity is limited to those used in Australia. Manholes are also the name given to structures used for people to access underground ducting for any type of drainage as well as other underground infrastructure.

I will choose not to be insulted that you ignored (or missed) that I also linked to a (admittedly more technical) reference document for what I thought Fredrico was concerned with and why and that he confirmed what the structure was in a comment replying to neuhauser.

(05 May '15, 11:28) Ashley Laurens

Not having the expertise of @Ashley Laurens, but it does seem that we are missing tags for something relevant. I believe these are called gullies in the UK, which might be a starting point (at least that's what the council call them if I need to report a blocked one). (Intrigued because I noticed kerbstones with circular holes in the other day and discover this is a new type).

(05 May '15, 11:44) SK53 ♦

Sorry, no insult intended. I thought another illustration would help, I have now navigated through to the technical drawings. I know that manhole was the closest tag, but think it is too wrong to use. I would like a better description/tag I suspect you may agree.

(05 May '15, 13:52) andy mackey

Did some searching, it looks like the UK term for the covering is called a gully grating. (The street gully is what we'd call a street gutter in the US) The catchbasin (or sump--small reservoir where water initially goes directly under the road that traps grit, etc) is a gully pot.

(05 May '15, 16:15) neuhausr
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question asked: 28 Jan '15, 20:14

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last updated: 06 May '15, 04:21

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