Is there a consensus on access=military?

The wiki page Key:access - OpenStreetMap Wiki mentioned the existence of access=military, but it seems the iD editor does not have it in the drop-down menu (I know I can directly type “military” in the tag-values section).

Also, OSM does not seem to render access=military roads in any special way, but does render access=private roads with formatting (currently with grey dash lines).

So, is there any community consensus on access=military? Should it be retagged or something else?

I think we need to separate the “what” from the “why” here.

access=private accurately describes the “what”, with respect to the general public. Further refinement beyond that is fine (the reason why the public can’t access, exactly what groups can access, etc.). But it’s important for data consumers to have a general-purpose set of access tags they can rely on.


When it comes to military property, I would remain conservative when adding access tags. Default to private and only use permissive when it obvious that civilians might be tolerated. This is important as being in the wrong area can easily get someone arrested for trespassing or worse.

It’s for exactly these reasons that I’ve always worked on military areas being access=private.

While “military” may sound like a special case that is appropriate to get its own tagging, I see this as more of a slippery slope for other arbitrary values. Certainly military uses are likely to be dangerous for the general public, but I can think of other similar categories that would inflate the number of values to an unreasonable level.

To be clear, I don’t think any of these are a good idea:

  • access=police - Applied to police training center is in gun ranges, little roads where they set up speed traps
  • access=employees - Applied to anything where only employees are allowed to go. For example all of the internal parts of airports, or many companies.

As I understand it, access=* values are specifically with the general public as the audience. Any specialty user (like emergency services, employees, military personnel) should have local knowledge of when and where they can violate access rules and have extra privileges or not. In the case of military and emergency services they may have the right by law to break through locked gates, doors, etc in order to access things that are private, but only in certain situations like having reasonable suspicion with a call for help was made or that a crime is taking place.


I don’t see any benefit. Access to military areas can vary significantly. Often their is a difference in accessibility between the residential areas for soldiers (and their families) and the rest of a military base. Some military bases even have shopping malls and hospitals that they allow family members or even the general public to access provided they hold the proper permit (as is the case in Pakistan according to a dear friend of mine).

Therefore, tags should be a mix of access = no, access = private, and access = permit, or even access = permissive depending on the situation and community preferences.


Hi there. While you shouldn’t be Tagging For Lying for Renderer (one of them), it’s an indication on application support. It seems no routers support access=military | Tags | OpenStreetMap Taginfo , while access=private | Tags | OpenStreetMap Taginfo shows Mapbox Navigation, Telenav, and Valhalla. Apparently Graphhopper does consider with others. OSRM has no results, and was asked before Routing over military landuse? · Issue #4522 · Project-OSRM/osrm-backend · GitHub for this. Certainly they may treat unknown access= somehow, but this is not reliable.
You can use access=no . But as seen from the demand for =military , it doesn’t show military explicitly (that would be another reason why I don’t like private= either). =no in modes have different meanings. access=no can still be overridden per mode, making direct evaluation of access=no meaningless. In other countries, others might be allowed to drive to and enter military areas, including for visitors with “individual permission” matching =private . Some bases have regular tours, not only annual open days. (Another situation is where some firing ranges are signposted as restricted (not those which you can enter when no exercises are held) , yet nonetheless ignored and not enforced)
Of course, in the case you are concerned for, =no can be used fine locally. However, the military club actually allows non-members, that are not guest companions of members(illegally). Also, the military airport that’s not joint-use somewhat exceptionally allows civilian use.
I imagine starting ownership=military will be better. Then it can have =no or =private as needed.
There are other problems with the list. Eg =variable that I have opposed, and =escape with no idea where it came from (not “approved” with highway=escape , that’s years before *:lanes= ).

I do not see a benefit of the value military.
roads: The streets are for a restricted user group: correspondingly “private” or “no”.
areas: The restricted area as such should be marked as “military” and not its access.

What about traffic sign “No passage”, “except military vehicles”?

but following the scheme “vehicle_type=purpose” this should be taged as vehicle=no, military_vehicle=yes

Thanks forthe feedback. It seems “access=military” is not recommended, then perhaos the access key wiki needs to be updated? The wiki mentions “military” as one of the possible keys.

I also see that I should also tag the places according to their actual availability on a case-by-case basis. The original military base (and their roads) I had in my mind are off-limits to the public except the military, so I guess I should be using “access=private” but somehow specify the type of “private” e.g. “private=military”? Then then private key wiki will also need to be updated.

Don’t think there’s any need to take it further than just =private?

It says “is not to be used by the general public. Access is only with permission on an individual basis”, which pretty well sums it up - “You can’t come in unless we specifically say you can”.


Do you mean a feature only provided for military personnel even outside the military installation?