Can anyone tell me why this slipway doesn't show up on the map?

Hi, all. I put in a slipway (boat ramp) for a small, community beach several days ago, and it simply won’t show up on the map. It’s there in edit mode, but doesn’t appear in the Mapnik viewer. Any ideas why, or how to fix it?

Way: Boat Ramp (414318850)
A couple of changes to Sea Cliff beach park
Edited 5 days ago by GnuUser
Version #2 · Changeset #38973554
leisure slipway
name Boat Ramp

4154812078 (part of way 414318851)

I don’t think that the “standard” map style renders leisure=slipway on (unclosed) ways, does it? Other map styles may, but I’m not aware of any that do.

Just to look at a couple of random other examples, is rendered on the standard style but is not. The wiki page suggests “A typical mapping might be to make a short highway=service way to the water’s edge and make the final node a leisure=slipway”. Taginfo suggests that most are just mapped as nodes: .

Interestingly, I read the wiki page explanation you mentioned (which is where I got the tag from), but I would never have read that to mean that the slipway wouldn’t actually show up on the map. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, considering that a very similar structure (piers) is recommended to be done precisely as I did with the slipway, and shows up on the map as you would expect. Most people would expect a boat ramp to show up on a standard map, I think. Anyway, that answers my question. Thank you!

So, here’s what I did with it, in case anyone’s interested. I tagged it as BOTH a highway=service and leisure=slipway, and labeled it “Boat Ramp”. That way, it shows up on the map as a roughly 15-meter-long driveable structure, rather than just an invisible node at the end of a road, and is labeled according to what everyone around here calls it. However, it retains the slipway tag, so it will show up on other layers, as appropriate.

Way: Boat Ramp (414318850)
Updates to Sea Cliff Country & Riding Club roads/driveways
Edited 3 minutes ago by GnuUser
Version #3 · Changeset #39084736
highway service
leisure slipway
name Boat Ramp

4154812078 (part of way 414318851)

Please, do not change the tagging to let it show on the standard map.
Highway=service is perhaps acceptable, but giving it a name (Boat ramp) is not (unless the name is Boat ramp). E.g. we do not tag every house as name=house.

OSM is in the first place a database with geographic information. There are many different maps out there based on this data, you might not like all renderings, but that is no reason to change the tagging. Please read Tagging for the renderer and drop the name from the boat ramp.

It would be better to ask the maintainers of the carto-css style (the standard map on to render slipways. You can request this at

It looks like it’s already logged as an issue with OSM Carto (the “standard” map): .

I wouldn’t get too hung up on just that one map style though - it’s used on, but almost no-one who encounters OpenStreetMap data will see that. Most will see it on their phone in third-party software, or on other third-party websites, and most of these don’t use OSM’s “standard” style at all.

Creating “your own map style” for use in a web map is actually possible with relatively minimal hardware - the size of the OSM data for the average US state means that you could set up a “switch2osm” ( server based on your corner of the US in a virtual machine taking up a small part of a desktop PC*, and tweaking a map style for use by e.g. OsmAnd on a phone should be similarly doable.

You might have better luck seeing slipways and other nautical facilities on specialized maps like

OpenSeaMap doesn’t actually show the example way that I mentioned above. To an outsider it looks like essentially an entirely separate project using the OpenStreetMap database for storage; see for example the “seamark” tags on, which get it rendered there.

SomeoneElse, thanks very much for your advice. It’s quite helpful in understanding how this mapping system works. I feel more comfortable that the tag is accurate, knowing that someone has flagged this as a problem. I’m enjoying mapping my local area, but occasionally run into an odd quirk like this that doesn’t seem to make sense.

In addition to the non-name “Boat ramp”, I see there are a number of other non-names in the same area, like “Beach”, “Basketball Court”, “Playground”, etc. These are all tagged with the correct tags to describe them (e.g. natural=beach, leisure=pitch + sport=basketball, leisure=playground), so there’s no need to add extraneous labels in the name tag. The name tag should only be used when the object has an actual name, like “Venice Beach”, “Michael Jordan Memorial Basketball Court”, or “Barney’s Playground”.

OK, so I removed all of the redundancies where the name was identical to the tag.

The issue with the boat ramp is that the term “slipway” has different meanings in American versus British usage. In British usage, it refers to a boat ramp of any size, from rowboats to cruise ships. In American usage, it refers only to launches for ships and other large commercial vessels. The term “boat ramp” is used to refer to launches for smaller vessels. So, labeling this a “slipway” here in the US would indicate to anyone looking at the map that large ships can be launched from our little, private community beach. If you asked for directions to the “slipway” around here, you’d either get blank stares or directions to the Port of Tacoma. The wiki gives no guidance on how to resolve this discrepancy.

You could put this in “description” tag, and/or use seamark tagging.

A problem throughout if you are that literal. I’d hate to ask some local here where the northbound motorway link was instead of the freeway on ramp.

Just think of the tagging as an arbitrary set of words that need to be translated into local language by the data consumer that is generating the map, figuring out a route or giving you driving instructions. In this case the local language would be en_US which is not quite the same as en_OSM (made up identifier).

This is true, but in all other cases I’ve encountered thus far, the object in question has a name that displays on the map which is recognizable by the local populace. For example, while Washington State Route 16 is tagged as a motorway, it displays on the map as WA 16, which anyone here using OSM would recognize as a freeway. I didn’t give it a second thought.

Here, I’ve been told (twice) that I can’t name the thing what everyone actually calls it, so it will appear to local users as something they don’t recognize. I think that’s being overly pedantic. I could well have named it “Sea Cliff Country & Riding Club Community Boat Ramp”, which is its official name, but thought that would be just silly. Compliant with the rules, no doubt, but silly.

The thing is, most renderings won’t present to the end-user that the object is a “slipway”; rather, it will render it in a specific way such that it represents a slipway/boat ramp, but it won’t actually say “slipway”. For example, a leisure=slipway node renders with a typical boat ramp symbol and no text label. While the standard rendering doesn’t do anything special with leisure=slipway ways, I’m sure there are some maps and other software that render them differently. A US-specific map rendering is free to render all leisure=slipway ways with the text label “Boat ramp” to make things more clear, but that’s a decision that should be left to the renderer.

FWIW, I see no problem with naming the boat ramp “Sea Cliff Country & Riding Club Community Boat Ramp” if that is its name. That’s exactly what the name tag is there for. Don’t worry about how it looks on any one map rendering. The most important thing is to have the most correct data in the database, and then it’s up to each renderer to do what they want with the data.

“WA 18” should, almost certainly be, ref=, not name=. (That is, indeed, the case for )

If there is a sign by the ramp saying “Sea Cliff Country & Riding Club Community Boat Ramp” with all the words being given the same weight, then that is the correct name to use for name=. If it is also known, locally, by a shorter name that is still a proper noun or proper noun phase, then enter that, additionally, as short_name=.

However, if there is no name, it is quite possible that there should be no name tag at all. It is quite possible that the correct tagging is:

operator=Sea Cliff Country & Riding Club

(operator= is a perfectly valid tag to add, even if it only repeats part of the name.)

That is not the same as saying no sign means no name. There can be local knowledge justifications for names, even without signs. More of a problem can be if the only name appears on another map, as OSM may not be able to use that name for copyright reasons. Only a few maps can legally be used as a source for OSM.

If you want a rendered map that puts the words “boat ramp” against leisure=slipway objects, you should create your own map renderer.

If you want an editor that allows you to enter the feature as a boat ramp, you should encourage the creation of a localised version of one the high level editors. In advance mode, you will still need to enter the standard names for the tags (although tags can have country specific meanings, e.g. in another thread, the differences between German and British bridleways is discussed (whether bicycle=yes or bicycle=no is the default).

Actually, with a long and descriptive name, like that, even the existence of a sign is not proof that it is a name. You really have to decide whether local people use it as a proper or just a common noun phrase. A test that will often work is that, if you would normally add “the” in front of it, it is almost certainly a common noun phrase and should not be used as a name in OSM.

There are exceptions. Brand names on businesses are almost always treated as names, even when, for example, in the UK, we would say the “The Odeon cinema”, or “the Odeon”. In this case, it would still be mapped with name=Odeon.

This is what I have been trying to do. I thought my solution of naming it “boat ramp” for clarification was the way to go, but it clearly wasn’t. I think I’ll just put “small, private boat ramp” in the description field and leave it at that.

I appreciate everyone’s answers on this, but it’s really way beyond the point of my original question, which is why that object wasn’t showing up on the map. I understand, now, that what shows up on the map depends entirely on the map renderer being used. So, with that in mind, I’ll move on to other things.

Hadw, yes, the WA 16 is in the ref= field, not the name= field. My mistake.

You could also add access=private if the boat ramp is not available for the general public to use.

Flosm just released a new water sports map which renders slip ways. For the moment only nodes, but the flosm folks are quite quick in adding features. So it is worth asking them for the rendering of ways.

Unfortunately, the menus seem to be in German only.

Edit: They already included the slipways mapped as a way. I said, they are quick.