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Hello everyone.

I've used type=site relations many times to group buildings and other elements (leisure, parkings ...) that could not be gathered to one area as they're scattered among other features. For example at a university, buildings belonging to the same department are not necessarily grouped nearby each other, they are scattered within the campus or even kilometers away.

As far as I know the attribute is still in a proposed state (?) and is not found by OSM search engine nor rendered on the map.

So I am asking if using this type of relation is still suitable or should I use type=multipolygon instead? How should I proceed?


asked 01 Nov '17, 09:03

Privatemajory's gravatar image

accept rate: 23%

edited 21 Jan '18, 13:57

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦


As an aside, I did once try and see if I could do anything useful with "type=site" relations from a rendering perspective. I found that their use was too varied to do anything useful with, unfortunately.

(01 Nov '17, 09:05) SomeoneElse ♦

An excellent question. I too have used site relations to group buildings and have been frustrated when they fail to show up. I render them in my own Garmin maps made with mkgmap so I can at least see them on my GPS. I'll be following this thread....

(01 Nov '17, 11:19) AlaskaDave

They might not be rendered it's not a great problem but the fact that they are not found by search engine is what frustrates me the most... May be I will use multipolygon relations from now on.

(21 Jan '18, 13:13) Privatemajory

In case someone falls on this, there's an interesting thread related to this in the tagging mailing list:

(03 Oct '18, 17:26) Privatemajory

Let me start with saying that I do think type=site relation do have a good usage as an administrative tool, to tie disparate and locationally disjunct stuff together administratively. This is really handy when navigating on the OpenStreetMap website, and be able to drill down or navigate up using the weblinks on the website when you choose to show data. I have used this functionality many times, and find it useful to see the site objects tied together in this way.

For this purpose, type=site relations are excellent.

However, as to rendering, I have written this before, they are a kind of "Pandora's box"... The fact that the relation type can contain anything (nodes, ways and other relations), and essentially have an unlimited nested structure of sub-sub-sub relations, makes it nearly impossible to do anything reliably with it from a rendering perspective, where clear and concise object types are generally required - not the least to be able to generate a render-able (PostGIS) geometry object of it. Nothing in the Wiki states that this is prohibited or even discouraged, quite on the contrary, type=site relations are defined as extremely broad ( Nothing wrong with that from an administrative tool perspective, but it makes rendering a daunting if not impossible task...

I therefor firmly believe type=site relations should be regarded as an administrative tool only (and there is nothing wrong with that!)

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answered 21 Jan '18, 19:03

mboeringa's gravatar image

accept rate: 9%

Very clear. Thanks! Hope we'll find a workaround with rendering in the future.

(24 Jan '18, 10:03) Privatemajory

At this moment there is a discussion about them on the tagging mailing list, it started with this thread, which continued in October and got split into this thread.

There are at least 2 renderers that uses the site relation to do something with them, the one from Yves (OpenSnowMap I think) and

(04 Oct '18, 04:17) escada

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question asked: 01 Nov '17, 09:03

question was seen: 2,495 times

last updated: 04 Oct '18, 04:17

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