Is there a current OSM XML specification for tags? (like dictionary)

Hi Everyone

Is there a machine-ready specification file (XML) with list of tags and values? Something like current dictionary for OSM values?
I know there is a XML file with similar data in JOSM svn folder (DefaultPresets), but all JOSM content is covered by GPL license, so this file rather shouldn’t be used in other application that not comply to GPL.

I’m software developer and i’m writing an commercial application for measuring and mapping for Android mobile devices and Windows (PC). Mostly for surveyors but because i think OSM is a very good idea, a want to give OSM mappers possibility to add/modify tags for created points, lines, polygons…etc The best way to do is to gather the presets and to give user friendly looking select dialog. But there is a problem - current source for this data. The easy way for users will be to add OSM presets file into the package app (so when thet start app, they have a full list of tags to use it). But i think GPL restrictions won’t allow to do it in app that not match the GPL. So i’m confused, looking for the matching spec/dictionary files but no good results at all.

So my question above… is there’s a spec file for OSM that can be embedded in commercial app?

kind regards


Short answer: No.

Everyone can invent their one tags, so such a file would always be wrong in someway and always incomplete.

Yes, i know that OSM allows to create custom tags, but I’m rather not looking for spec with all in one (even future tags), only most and common tags with allowed values, like in josm general presets file, but under more liberal license that GPL. Some file for start mapping. If user want to change or upgrade it he could load and use other xml preset.

Hello Mark,

Have a look at the esitor app Vespucci for android devices.

It is under Apache License 2.0 … but I don’t know whether this is better for your purposes then GPL

In Vespucci there are presets for the most common OSM elements … maybe those are usable for you?


Create a table of most used OSM keys and values on your own:

download raw OSM data covering a bigger region, maybe via … see for more download sources.

Then have a look at … it can write a CSV file about all OSM elements in a file.

Also see

Hi skyraster, maybe this will be prety close to you looking for.

It’s json catalog with descriptions, additional tags and hierarchy of some object types in osm, mainly poi’s.
Here is discussion but in russian
And here is catalog viewer. For now is only ru translation is exists.

Thanks for response :slight_smile: The ErshKUS/osmCatalog is in fact nice source of tags, and even has translated values (it can be useful when i decide to create russian version of app). But in current moment i have only XML reader for OSM presets (based on the most popular JOSM schema), so i have to write converter for that type of data.

Maybe the safe way is to do it by scanning used tags like stephan said and create own base. But on the other hand i don’t want to spend more time at this moment, because i have very limited resources, so better way is to upgrade software with other functions (like WMS maps support or develop geodetic calculations mode), and leave possibility to load custom XML presets file. So users have to decide at start the source of presets files (I’ve noticed that there is web with list of various presets). When OSM community agree and release general XML specification with liberal license it will be good point to use that file in app at start.