Parking/ Rest Areas

Probably best to move the parking/rest area discussion to a seperate thread/topic to keep everything together for one discussion.

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(Topic’s been split now.)

I sort of think that highway=rest_area implies that parking is available, but I wouldn’t say the reverse is true. I’d probably add both to a node (although it looks like not many also have amenity=parking).

Are you mapping these as points or areas?

I recreated the “informal” rest_area objects for those (of yours) that I changed to parking. Still needs discussion of course.

@bob3bob3 So each would have multiple points? And maybe other things too I guess (rubbish bin etc). Or is the rest_area an actual area around the parking point?

Hi Sam.

re point vs area

It varies for amenity=parking. Kind of depends on the layout complexity. If there is an existing concurrent rest_area as area I use a node. Note that these are all regional not urban objects.

re multiple points

yes a “formal” rest area that I fully create will have two objects. Usually a parking area plus a rest_area node. If a rest_area already exists I add parking. I include bin y/n in the parking object but toilets and picnic tables etc are separate nodes.

One of my root concerns was that the guideline (I think) has a clause about rest areas being a “different tag” if provided at a town park etc, so I concentrated on using parking objects.

Please have a read of my diary entry if you haven’t already.

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Bob’s diary Entry


Interest only, but feel free to comment! I have created/published an OSM diary entry for how I tackle the parking/rest_area in regional areas tagging.

Hi all.

I have split out the posts relating to parking/rest areas into this thread. I hope this helps make discussing this topic less fragmented. :slight_smile:


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Thought I better make a basic statement here that applies to OSM data generally. It can be broken up into “formality” and “opinion/perception”. Formality is pretty easy as it often involves well understood and often legislated signs and/or databases. Opinion/perception is far more difficult especially in defining “how much” or “how true”, IMO it is important to define if something is formal or not and especially don’t infer something informal is formal, when it is not. (Phew)

This has been the major stumbling block for me with parking and rest areas, which I hope I have cracked. (for me anyway!)

I am a big user of these sites whilst travelling around Oz and I think Bob has nailed most of the differences in his diary post. For me, a rest area has facilities (ie toilets and maybe a shelter) and is separated from the actual road versus just a layby which is a simple pull off on the side of the road, generally with minimal facilities (maybe a bin only).

Example - this, to me, is a parking=layby not a rest area - Node History: 8858908619 | OpenStreetMap

and this would be a parking area versus a rest area (due to minimal facilities)

I hate just seeing bins at a roadside pull off - come on folks, take your rubbish with you and dispose of it properly, its not that hard!!

Like everything in OSM its all pretty subjective.

NOTE - I only checked a couple of sites in WA.

Interesting - this brochure from Western Australia suggests they only have 70 ‘Rest Areas’

The MRWA brochure also correlates with the stopping area database (from MRWA) that I use mainly to beep my nav GPS when a location comes up to photo/capture. It has Minor Rest Area, Major Rest Area, Heavy Vehicle Rest Area PLUS an extra 24Hr stay tag. (I was hoping that it also had extensive human names for rest areas, but it doesn’t have many)

I would guess then that “P” is Minor, the rest area tree/table graphic is Major and HGV designated is Heavy vehicle.

In a sense then the above in my mind are all defined as FORMAL. That would make any OSM rest_area objects without a rest area graphic (like in a WA minor rest area) as INFORMAL. This is why I use the (innocuous) occasional informal=yes tag.

I don’t know how important this is for general Australia tagging… I do however like the idea of the blue signs implying formality. I should point out that the MRWA database misses quite a few “P” locations on minor roads and I have found a number of database entries that don’t exist on the ground. (The SA and WA database is a waivered source)

Re only 70 WA rest areas. SA however has a rest area graphic AND a P at almost every stop from Ceduna to Border Village.

Just remember that the OSM tagging can be different to the WA (or other state) brochure/guidelines. It may not always align. I will have a glance at the waivered layers shortly.

P Sign Only - Parking (with or without bin) - formal - to me this would still be amenity=parking, maybe even parking=layby in some cases

Stops with at least a toilet or shelter - that’s an OSM rest area (my understanding from the wiki)

HGV could be on either of the above if suitable,

Overnight stay sites would probably all be OSM Rest Areas

Then there are all the informal pullovers like gravel pits/stores etc. Those I suspect would only ever be parking areas and informal (by OSM wiki features).

I suspect you know better than most how things change around the country (so much for a federation of states :slight_smile: !!)

For what it’s worth thought I could offer an American perspective on this. I work for an American department of transportation. We have a strict definition about what defines a rest area versus a parking or picnic area. Our rules are based on the US federal highway standards.

A rest area must have restrooms for motorists, AKA bathrooms or toilets. Any other sort of roadside pull off area with amenities, other than restrooms is not a rest area. Sometimes they are called picnic areas. Other ones that have some scenic vista will be called scenic overlooks.

Looks like I need to do some homework to see how well the OSM definition fits that one.

Thanks @ElliottPlack - I would have thought the same re toilets but it appears they are ‘optional’, at least in WA from what I can find.

It’s also interesting that they say “More than 900 parking bays (minor rest
areas) which provide a safe place to stop” - ie they are classified as rest areas - but minor rest areas.

@steerage250 That’s the gist of their document but again, OSM can make up their own requirements for what designates something as a Rest Area so the question is 'are they compatible" ?

We probably need to better define and clarify our own guidelines

Aussie guidelines

OSM Wiki

Here’s the Qld version, however that’s now a couple of years out of date.

TMR used to publish a “Guide to Qld Roads” showing the location & type of aIl the various Rest Areas, & similar roadside features. I spoke to them in early 2021 about us getting approval to use it & they advised that “this is likely to be replaced with a more current version in an adjusted data model in coming months. Once that is released we will be able to consider releasing a waiver to enable use in OSM.”

As we all know though, things happened though, so apparently no updates have yet been released :frowning:

@Fizzie41 I’d expect that this was about the time Qld started “enforcing” HGV only stopping places. (Supposed problems with RV/vans taking up HGV parking space) I remember an online TMR page that had a very pushy story about it. It was obvious from the page that an LV driver couldn’t even use a toilet in a dedicated HGV site, unless their vehicle continued to move (haha)

This is more or less why/how I came up with formal signs having direct OSM tag equivalents. It removes the need to consider changeable or differing legislation in the OSM objects.


Restarea tree and table = highway:rest_area + (2nd tag) amenity:parking access:yes hgv:yes
P = amenity:parking access:yes hgv:yes (opinion)
Phgv hgv=designated
NoHGV hgv=no
NoLV access=no

Just “add” the tags together from each sign