Categorizing OSM keys


I am new to OpenStreetMap.

I have always been amazed by the number of keys OpenStreetMap contains. I tried googling, and found this website, which lists 4778 number of them. Which is both amazing, and scary.

My question is: is there some sort of categorization of these keys?

For example, it would be preferable that if one is checking a hotel building, then the following keys are useful:


Or what are the useful keys for a highway. Or a hospital. And so on.

Does such list exist for specific types of buildings?

If not, how can a person decide which key from 4778 keys is important for which kind of building, structural, map element?

As a beginner it would be very difficult for me to read all of those 4778 keys, and write down those that may seem interesting for some particular building. And then the next time, read all of the again if I am looking for different type of building.

Thank you for the reply in advance.

I apologize if I broke any kind of rule with this topic. This is my first post here.

I often do a google search: openstreetmap hotel tag
and that gives a link to the osm wiki and at the right side of that page select the ‘taginfo’ link and then the ‘combinations’ tab
You shouldn’t miss much by checking those.
If using JOSM you can set up your own presets for things you may commonly tag and in the ‘preferences’>‘Map Settings’ there is a tab for tagging presets that others have provided. Customising JOSM presets

Hi Nevw,

Thank you for the quick reply!

Thank you.

I’ve never used JOSM editor. I have just download it.
Is this the “tagging presets” you mentioned:


There does not seem to be that many of them, and they are highly specific (traffic signs in France, Earthquake in Nepal…). For example, there are not presets for “hotel”, “hospital”, “bank”, “school” and so on.

Is this because they are downloaded from

Whilst I think the suggestion was to create your own custom presets, JOSM has presents for:

hotel: Presets | Facilities | Accommodation | Hotel
hospital: Presets | Facilities | Health | Hospital
bank: Presets | Shops | Cash | Bank
school: Presets | Facilities | Education | School

in the basic isntallation.

Yes, as hadw said, there are many presets in Josm as normally used plus the extra special presets you linked to and also you can design your own.
There is a query on the help forum with an example of custom presets at the moment.
I haven’t had a go at designing my own yet as those already provided suit me fine.
I would become familiar with the Josm editor and all it has to offer and then add some of your own if you feel they might help.
A tip for a new Josm user: It has 2 modes you need to remember -
‘select’ mode and ‘add a node’ mode. Get used to knowing which one you are in at all times.

Thank you for the replies, both hadw and nevw.

Am I using the right JOSM editor? I downloaded the:

version 11223
Last change at 2016-11-06
Java Version 1.8.0_111

from here:

It does not contain the “tagging presents” hadw mentioned:

How do I get those?

When I click on “Reload the list of available presets”, nothing changes.

Here is a screenshot of the “tagging presets”:

Those are additional presets. We are talking about he basic ones, accessed from the Presets menu at the top of the main screen.

I used the package included with Debian Jessie, but they were there when I directly installed on Windows, as well.

Thank you for the reply hadw.

How can I access those basic Presets?
If I choose “Presets → Preset preferences” it takes me back to the additional presents.

If I try to choose any preset (for example: “Presets → Facilities → Accommodation → Hostel” ):

I get the following error message:

How can I see the keys for the presets you mentioned in your upper reply, regardless of whether that preset can be found in the opened .osm file or not:

hotel: Presets | Facilities | Accommodation | Hotel
hospital: Presets | Facilities | Health  | Hospital
bank: Presets | Shops | Cash | Bank
school: Presets | Facilities | Education | School


The best thing is to press F3, then start typing e.g. hotel. The preset for hotel should show up then.
But of course you first have to select a node or a closed way to which you want to apply the preset for hotel.

Some presents can only applied to non-closed ways (e.g. everything related to roads: motorways, primary roads, etc.)
others only to nodes (e.g. maxspeed sign), others to relations (e.g. turn restrictions)

That being said, I think the iD editor you were using first also have presets. The difference is that you cannot develop your own presets.

Thank you for the reply Escada.

So are these the specific presets for specific type of osm object (Hostel in this case)? I outlined them in red color:

And the presets outlined in blue color, are common to other osm object types (for example, libraries have them, bars, caffees…) as well?

So only the red outlined presets are specific for certain osm object type (Hostel in this case)?

That’s a bit small number of keys. I expected more specific keys.


Tagfinder might be a better alternative:

Thanks, great site

Wonderful website!! Thank you Jojo4u!

Also, thank you nevw, hadw, escada for the help!!
I can see this community has some splendid support.

Which additional key did you expect for a hostel ? Can you give some examples ?

We do collect geographic information, like name, address, etc. We do not collect ratings e.g.
The presets might also only show the most common tags that people collect about an item.
Typically we do not collect prices (for a room) as they tend to change to often and it will be too difficult to keep them up-to-date.

I think I understand now, once I’ve read your upper reply.
I take back the “a bit small number of keys” previously mentioned.

Thank you for the help.