Amenity=bench should be used on areas?

I have a low-priority micro-mapping question. At the moment the wiki says that amenity=bench should be used on nodes and ways and shouldn’t be used on areas. Benches can be represented as closed ways in cases where, for instance, benches encircle a tree, as shown in this example: File:Bench and trees (1245397989).jpg - OpenStreetMap Wiki

So at the moment a closed way represents a bench with a hole in the middle. But what about cases where the imagery resolution is good enough to map big benches without a hole in the middle (see for example benches in Krakow’s Rynek where they can be seen using the 8-10cm resolution imagery)? In these cases it should be allowed to add area=yes to distinguish them in my opinion. Thoughts?

I feel that this kind of nanomapping is not really helpful and I would consider retagging them to points

We have a problem already with some things that may be mapped as either closed ways or areas - leisure=track is one such.

Telling the two apart requires an area=yes or area=no tag, and many do not have that.

I’d avoid making the problem bigger than it already is :slight_smile:

I have mapped a very small number of places to sit as closed areas with amenity=bench. My local university placed a lot of small stone podia in a new garden and I have chosen to interpret them as places to sit. A very poor picture (as I’d been in a wood earlier and forgot to change exposure):

I only mapped the smaller ones, not the very large one, and I failed to follow @SomeoneElse’s advice and forgot to add area=yes (now fixed).

Elsewhere in the campus there are similar, but much smaller stones suitable for just one person. I’ve never mapped those because I’ve not been sure if a 1-person bench makes sense.

In contrast the benches in the Rynek look much more like ordinary benches:

And the ones in the Maly Rynek nearby look very similar, but have been mapped as nodes:

So my feeling is that benches with area=yes should be reserved for special cases, such as mine, (which could possibly be tagged differently: suggestions welcome) rather than for any regular bench.

One thought occurs whilst looking at these is that adding a direction tag on benches mapped as nodes might be useful


In your specific example, SK53, I don’t think it matters much if it’s considered an area or a closed way. After all, it’s the perimeter of the block that is most suitable for sitting.

(In my local area benches seem to have a life of their own, moving around a couple of metres inside their territories every year.)

With a rendering hat on, it’d be useful to know the difference. With an area you’d want the icon in the middle; with a closed way you’d want it on the closed way, especially if it was circular around a tree.


I agree, it may have been why I didn’t add area=yes in the first place.

Certainly mapped long benches as lines e.g. a perimeter of half round pedestrian areas, one in particular is double sided, 1 side facing beach, other road / fountain area, sloped and loved by skateboarders. As area… fine with me when big enough to trace ,whatever tickles the micro mappers fancy.