current Israel - Palestine autority border

Hello Osmfolks,

I’m realizing for a long while already that we have a issue with the Israeli border in Israel.
Several areas are defined as Palestine areas without having Palestine people access to it and I expect the same happens for the Palestine areas.


I understand that this topic is very political and OSM is for sure not the place to discuss it.
But we have to find a way to define the current situation and not the “wish” situation.
I respect the armistice line from 1949 should be base of the border definition and shown in the map like all other international maps do it, but I really miss the real life situation in the map.

People starting to navigate with OSM based maps around the world and its not helping anybody if your gps says that you can drive from A to B and its impossible if you don’t have the right passport.

I think there is a way to define the border of 1949 in boundary as political border and the current border as administrative or civil border.
Please comment as I don’t know what will be the most accepted and common way to do so. I also expect that the Palestine mappers has to agree on the way we map it.

Please see with a inaccurate border via yahoo that shows the difference between 1949 and 2010:

Comments are very very welcome!

Personally, I would advise against mapping such delicate political features.
I would guess that the best we could do is to map the Separation Wall (as there’s no dispute that it’s physical, and where it is…)
and wait till the borders are set in international law.
Anything else, I fear, might lead to an edit war, which would not help OSM.

I guess other people might have other views…


Hey Talkat,

agree with you to map this wall. But the next question is how?

Looks like Israel is not in the list for the admin level. And this border can maybe considered as admin_level=3 ?
And the 1949 line as admin_level=2 ?

BTW: We should think about the admin_level for central, haifa, jerusalem and south in OSM.

See some examples here :wink: (too many nodes, need to split to smaller sections)

Maybe we should have a standard way of tagging it?


This list is in the wiki, made by people who actively added info to it.
Anyone can add their country to it.

I would suggest:

Level 2 = Border around Israel

Level 4 = Mahoz (North, Center, South, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, etc.)

Level 6 = Municipal (Moatsa Ezorit, Moatsa Mekomit, town, etc.)


I would prefer a admin level for the wall instead, because this road you pointed at, is just shown on zoom level 16 and invisible on zoom level 17 in Mapnik and Osmander.
With the admin level 4 it would be visible in lower zoom level and this way it will be more useful. We have the same issue with the Golan heights that are declared as admin_level=2.

For example to

Level 2 = National Border by 1949.

Level 4 = Physical border (wall) between Israel and the Palestine authority

Level 6 = Mahoz (North, Center, South, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, etc.)

Level 8 = Municipal (Moatsa Ezorit, Moatsa Mekomit, town, etc.)

For example to do maps like this and inform people about the current situation and the walls:

BTW: Seems like the Palestine mailing list is offline:
Any other way we can involve our neighbors into this discussion?

The wall is not a border by any standard.
It is a physical feature, and a border is a political feature.
Therefore, it would not be 100% correct to tag it with an admin_level tag.

Sadly, AFAIK, there are no active Palestinian mappers.
There are sporadic updates, where people update their local area, add a feature or two, and disappear…
Additionally, there are OSM users linked with JumpStart International, who might help.


We should really have a better definition of what area is currently under Israel control (I’m just trying to be politically correct) and where its possible to drive around without any restriction for Israelis and what areas for Palestine people.

If we need a special admin_level to define those areas correctly, fine.
I see the biggest problems in the definition of the Israel shape because we have the definition of 1949 as the current border.
We and our our Palestine friends know that this is not the current status. For example we should have a way to define a “settlement”.

what do you think?

I believe that for the sake of OSM, and to prevent mapping wars, we try to keep things as neutral as possible.

If you REALLY want to open this can of worms, then I would suggest not using words like “state” or “country”.

There is an agreement on “Area A”, “Area B”, and “Area C”,
and that’s it.

Anything more than that, I’m afraid, is political, and would involve personal views, and subjective meanings.

The 1948 border is marked pretty well, and is mostly accurate (except some small places, but it’s not a big deal)

Settlements are residential places where people live, and this is already covered.
Until now we didn’t mark which is Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Bahaii, Cherkesi, Bedouin, Shintu, Mixed, etc.
I don’t see the point in having these tags.
Inside the 1948 border all places are in Hebrew, and in the West Bank, it’s Hebrew for mostly-Jewish, and Arabic for mostly-Arab.

I can go on and on, but I hope you got the point.

Let’s stick to physical mapping, and leave politics out of OSM, at least until there’s an agreement.
I believe OSM would only benefit if we don’t add controversial values.


I have added more parts to the existing relation of the separation barrier.
It covers a big part of Israel but southern parts are missing completely.

There are a lot parts still under construction or still need approval. I couldn’t care about the differences that much in that relation.
So the current definition doesn’t have to be the real barrier in future. It actually only shows the plan for the barrier.


My first question is, what was your source of the information? Is it reliable?

I do think it is important to distinguish (on the tagging level) between parts which are already built and those which are planned/under construction.

So for example if the way
indeed has the status “needs approval”, it should not be tagged “construction=yes” but rather “proposed=yes” (see

The most of the future or existing barrier is visible in sat images.
So it was not hard to find and tag it. The northern part was already existing.
I know the area around Ariel and am aware of several finished and in construction ways there.
Around Opharim / Beit Arye they have done the major work more than 3 years ago. Strange that those information where not in the map.

What is interesting that several streets are tagged that no palestine car is allowed. Also a lot of check points where defined that I used to “build” the barrier.

Of course you are right that construction=yes is very much mixed (and proposed=yes not even used).
I was just trying to accomplish the mission, and made several mistakes and wrong definitions :slight_smile:

It was intended to be a beginning of a more accurate mapping of this important feature.

I also don’t think that only one relation is enough to show this complex barrier.

Maybe one relation per detail

  • ongoing construction
  • approved construction
  • proposed
  • finished

And than include all those relations into one relation.

What do you think?

How a future barrier can be seen on sat image? It means that the construction has already started… doesn’t it? I am just trying to understand where “proposed”, “needs approval” or “approved” came from.

Hmmm… This is more like creating an artificial border where there is none.

Just to make myself clear, I do believe it would be important to have the physical, completed/in construction barrier in OSM, but I am not sure about the other ones.

For navigation purposes the wall is a very inaccurate measure. I was thinking that it would be very useful to tag those highways on which Israeli citzens are allowed to travel. How about access:israelis=“yes/no” tag?


I understand your feedback and I agree. Currently the “border” relation doesn’t give a correct view on the status.
I will remove the proposed , needs approval elements from the relation and mark them separately.

Beside that I will create a master relation for the barriers (proposed, finished, in construction) and add them into it.

I still need to fix the relation definitions. But you are welcome to help in the definition of this data.

Ohh I forgot to write my sources:

BTW: The maps published there don’t have a copyright on it as far as I could see.

I was reading a little bit about the security fence (in most places it is not a wall!).
Realizing that it would be absolute misleading to define it in any kind of way like a border from Israel to Palestine.
This is simply incorrect as Palestine people are still living in the “Israeli” side of the border and Israelis living on “Palestine” side.

It is a security fence that is created to have less suicide bombers in the main Israeli land.
However some people got the feeling that this is a border- what is wrong.

The question is how we, as fact collecting people, will display it on the Israel OSM server.
I’m not sure that is displaying it correctly at the moment.

How are other map providers of Israel displaying the green line of 1948 and the security fence.
As talkat stated almost exactly one year ago, we should not do political mapping here.
Declaring the security fence as a border is somehow political.

What do you think?

I think it would be very interesting to map more about the physical features of the separation barrier. Which sections are made of which materials, what heights, etc? Certainly most all of the barrier area around Jerusalem is made of heavily reinforced wall, about 25 feet high. The areas with fence are often electrified and topped with razor wire, surrounded by trenches and access roads, sniper towers.

For obvious reasons, collecting this kind of information on the ground with GPS units would not be that practical (though maybe possible). However, there are many sections of the barrierl that are definitely approachable, and it’s quite informative to see first hand the physical characteristics.

Wonder also, how much could be discerned from satellite imagery … haven’t checked myself if Bing Map’s recent imagery update improved coverage over Israel and Palestine.

A nice quote, here’s the source:

I also think it would be very interesting to map the locations of the arab suicide bombing attacks carried out against innocent men, women and children throughout the decades (which the security (not separation) barrier is supposed to prevent). In particular, each such site would indicate the date of the attack, the number of people murdered and wounded, plus - the most important information - links (including OSM IDs) to the neighborhoods and streets and schools in palestinian cities named after the respective terrorists.


Just for your information:
Till you started posting in the **Israeli ** discussion board we had NEVER EVER so political discussions.
It was about mapping only!

Think of it… Please continue your posting in the Palestinian discussion board.

What exactly did I write that was political? This thread was about the physical characteristics of the barrier, and I thought it would be interesting to map this. Isn’t OSM interested in mapping stuff?

That wasn’t actually a quote from that site, but my own words, yes based on research. Am I wrong? Is there an Israeli source describing the composition of the barrier?