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Hello, there.

How do I map parts of a stream or river which have tree-filled banks? They are not really forests nor woods, and they growed naturally and irregularly, so natural=tree_row, which seems mistagged under natural as it models a man_made tree row, doesn't seem to make it either. Maybe tree_lined=*, like roads, for streams, but what about rivers? On rivers, I assume I should draw these along the banks rather than along the river itself; am I wrong on that? If so, how to do it? If not, which tag should I use?

Hoping someone can help me,


asked 13 Nov '15, 12:52

Penegal's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

I’ve been using "natural=tree_row" in this context for the last couple of years. Lines of trees randomly spaced along rivers, streams and railways are quite common where I map. The wiki is a bit confusing as the only picture examples are for “man made” lines of trees. I suspect that the “natural” version wasn’t thought about when the tag was developed. I did ask the community via a mail group at the time and the general response was to use natural=tree_row.

Initially, I only used a single way but if you do decide to use the above tag I would draw ways on either side which is what I now do as it fits better with other features. There is no requirement in the wiki for nodes to be where the trees are, it only suggest doing this if you want to map the individual trees which is quite problematic when they are randomly spaced. I guess an additional tag would enable you to distinguish between the random (natural) and the fixed width (man made) version, so people could render them differently.

Other practical issues I have found are distinguishing between a hedge and a tree row along streams. Quite a few hedges where I live haven’t been cut for many years so they can look like rows of trees. Looking at any historic maps available can be helpful in this respect. If there is a field boundary on the historic map then it is more likely to be a hedge. Occasionally I also find hedges that are in a poor state and look like a row of trees. Again, historic maps can help.

The best way to determine whether the feature is a wood or a line of trees to survey it. The decision can be a bit subjective but when the width of the random row of trees at the base is much more than about 5 meters I would probably map it as a wood.

Using “tree_lined” is probably easier but using a separate way enables you to connect other features (barriers etc) to the way. Something you wouldn’t do with the river way as it is supposed to represent the centre line of the river as far as I understand.

In short "natural=tree_row" and "tree_lined=*" are both likely to be acceptable, at this time.

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answered 17 Nov '15, 19:59

dud1's gravatar image

accept rate: 30%

edited 17 Nov '15, 19:59

Hello, I would tag it as natural = tree_row. The natural tag can also be applied to man-made features of natural terrain.

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answered 14 Nov '15, 22:53

Longhorn256's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


But natural=tree_row is supposed to be drawed as a way with nodes on trees, but, along a tree-filled waterway, trees are irregularly established, sometimes in groups, sometimes with scrubs... Isn't natural=tree_row too far from regularly established, clearly defined tree row?

(16 Nov '15, 19:43) Penegal

the tree_lined=yes|left|right|both tag isn't perfect, but I think is pretty clear for this situation.

(16 Nov '15, 21:00) SK53 ♦

Taginfo for "tree_lined", for completeness:

(16 Nov '15, 23:08) SomeoneElse ♦

Well, tree_lined seems more accurate to me, so I'll go with that. Thanks for your answers.

(17 Nov '15, 19:07) Penegal

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question asked: 13 Nov '15, 12:52

question was seen: 4,292 times

last updated: 17 Nov '15, 19:59

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