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


In many countries police checkpoints are a common feature, and citizens and/or foreigners are stopped and required to show National ID or Passport/Visa before proceeding. Baggage may be checked.

I have come across them in China, India, Iran, Turkey, Mexico and I'm sure other countries that I'm forgetting. These are permanent structures, usually with a gate to control traffic, often connected with a small police station.

It seems worth mapping these, as they may effect a traveler's travel time, and indicate a certain political climate in the area. I know I would have found knowledge of their location useful at times.

I see the military=checkpoint but this is inaccurate if it is the civilian police running the post. There is the checkpoint tag, but it is intended for completely different usage.

I'm surprised not to find a useful tag on the wiki or in taginfo, possibly I'm just not doing a good job of searching. Can anyone point me to a good tag, or is the consensus to start a new tag?

Edit: here is an example of how another editor solved this problem, just by using the name tag. It doesn't seem like an ideal solution to me, but useful none the less. I've added some additional details to the area.

I've realized that I've been overlooking something obvious, that the check points (at least here in India) all have gates to control the flow of traffic, so I've been adding barrier=gate tags to relevant locations. Additionally, I've been adding the highway=checkpoint tag, as I think it's a useful tag, and doesn't deserve to die. I've only added two or three at this point, but taginfo tells me that their are 90 instances at present.

As has been noted by others below there are many potential usages of this tag, related to the one I brought up. I think that mapping these features, and extending this tag to do so would be a good thing.

asked 26 Aug '16, 04:43

keithonearth's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

edited 11 Sep '16, 05:46

There was a thread on this in the OSM mailing list:

If you read though the messages I think you'll see that the final decision related to the temporariness of these checkpoints. So unless you're referring to a permanent checkpoint I don't believe it is something OSM considers relevant.

permanent link

answered 26 Aug '16, 05:56

logrady's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 26 Aug '16, 06:26


I am referring to permanent checkpoints, I'll edit my original post to make this more clear. I agree that temporary ones would not be worth mapping.

(26 Aug '16, 06:06) keithonearth

There's a thread here: indicating highway=checkpoint is no longer in use.

And there's another thread here: indicating man_made=Checkpoint has been abandoned.

(26 Aug '16, 06:31) logrady

Seems like there ought to be some way to tag those. Here are three US Border Patrol permanent check points that aren't obviously shown as things that might slow you down when traveling (middle one is approximate as there is nothing on the map there at all):

And here are three California agricultural inspection stations. Which, fortunately, seldom cause long traffic backups.

On all of the above, expect to come to a complete stop. And on the California located border patrol checks you can often expect a 15 minute to 30 minute backup during busy times.

None are military (though some might argue that for the border patrol).

And we have no uniform way to tag these?

(26 Aug '16, 16:41) n76

Also related are weigh stations for trucks.

So there are

  • border crossings
  • border crossings for commercial vehicles
  • police inspections
  • agricultural inspections
  • heavy goods vehicle inspections
(26 Aug '16, 17:15) maxerickson

Throw barrier=toll_booth on it and call it a day. The fee is your liberty, I suppose. Not exact, but a driver will know that there is a requirement to stop. To me, barrier=gate implies something that is unmanned and regularly impassable, so that seems more incorrect than a toll booth that is manned and routinely opened.

(11 Sep '16, 07:13) mtc

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:


question asked: 26 Aug '16, 04:43

question was seen: 2,736 times

last updated: 10 Feb '17, 12:40

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