Renumbering of National Highways

We should update the numbering of the National Highways. See the thread „National Highway mapping“.

My proposal :

  1. ref – tag : the new highway number
    example : ref=NH66 instead of ref=NH17 or ref=NH47

  2. name – tag : here we write the old NH-number
    If the way has a special name, then we extend this name by the old NH-number

example : name = old NH17 or name=old NH47
example with special highway-name : name = Grand Trunk Road old NH1

  1. ** ref:old – tag**
    If mappers alters the name-tag so that the old NH- number is deleted, we write (for easier corrections) the old NH-number also in an ref:old- Tag.
    Example : ref:old = NH17

  2. There are some highways without a new number. Till they get an official new number, we don’t alter the actual tagging. Like this, there will be no problems with duplicate highway numbers.

If you can’t accept this proposal, please post her your ideas.


This has been put on-hold. The old numbers continue as is.


I know this newspaper article. But there is no official document of the government with the decision to go back to the old numbers.
Since September of last year I tried to start the discussion about the NH numbering.
But with very little success (two positive and one private statement towards the renumbering.)
I made a proposal, how to renumber and asked PlaneMad for help to start the discussion. My thread was read by a lot of people; now you are the first, who makes a statement.

I have begun to renumber (new NH1 till new NH52).

Because of this situation, I now stop the renumbering of NHs completely. If the Indian mapper comunity comes to the decision to go back to the old numbers, this can be done as follows:
All my changesets where the first word in the comment is „Renumbering“ should be reverted.

The new numbers are official… The boards on most highways bear the new number… I think we should go ahead and renumber them…

The old ref should absolutely not be appended to the name; the name should remain what it is, and it should be the name that is used locally. It will be shown for local use. You could otherwise end up with a main road going through a town where it has been named locally (say) Mahatma Gandhi Road being shown in OSM derived data as ‘Mahatma Gandhi Road old NH999’ long after the old refs have been forgotten. Leave it as a ref-old key and value.

Looking for the „official“ sense of the name-tag, you are right.
I made this suggestion (adding old NH999… to the name-tag) because the renumbering process is far from completed (changing street broads…) and will surely last a long time. Of course, it’s mapping for the renders.
Following your argumentation, an highway NH999 also shoudn’t have a name-tag like „name=NH999“.

I am ready to continue the renumbering, but I hesitate because there is so little response about this theme in the forum. (now after three months 2 replys!!!)
Now we have a mixture of old and new numbers and in consequence an duplicate highway refs.

So how shall we go on?

I am ok with heinz’s proposal. It keeps both old and new, as well as locally used names. I wasn’t aware of changed highway numbers.

I had a look at the new official list of National Highways :

The numbering system seems to be unconsequent and hard to understand.
Example 1 :
In Rajasthan a new highway is declared from Jaisalmer to Chirawa („NH11 new“).
There is also the old NH11 from Agra to Bikaner.
What does this mean: both highways have the same name???

Example 2 : in Karnataka the new „NH173 new“ is named according to the new numbering (beginning on the new NH73).

Example 3 :
In Rajasthan and MP the mentioned NH76 is according to the old system.

This list could be extended.

With this list it seems to be impossible to make a correct numbering of the highways.

And in TALK-IN they don’t what the renumbering to be continued.

I think the NH numbering is all messed up on OSM now… for that matter it is messed up on all maps

+1 Heinz for Proposal.

Is there any quick way to know how many kms have been tagged ? Total new numbering is done in 92,851.05kms ?

The new numbered Nhs from NH1 to NH52 are renumbered (about 53000km).
I don’t know, whether in parts this renumbering has been reverted. (I found one example in South India; manually retagged to the old number)
Concerning the argument of indigomc (in post #5) :
When the renumbering of highways boards… is completed, we should make an announcement here to delete the name extensions like „old NH999“. The number of Indian mappers is increasing. I am sure, that if we ask in this forum to correct the name-tags, it wouldn’t last longer then 2 weeks to do this work.
Normally the name-tag is reserved for real local names. Very often in the old numbering versions I find things like “ref=NH999” together with “name= NH999”. That is redundant and no name.
I propose to delete this useless name-tag values (mapping for the render).

The numbering of the NHs cann’t remain as it is now : mixture of old and new numbers. So we have different NHs with the same ref-tag.

If no new important arguments are posted, I will restart the renumbering as proposed in a few days.

Since OSM offers a lot of freedom to create and use specific tags, I don’t see the point of altering the name value. The name tag already has its definition at The ref tag has its own definition at and as can be seen there it is possible to use ref:old for the old tag while also using the ref tag for the new one. It would then also be possible to not delete the old tags even after the new ones had been put in, for instance if someone wanted to render a historic map using the old highway numbering. To be even more precise it could be done with a specific to India tag, e.g. ref:in_morth_old but that is probably too complicated for this situation.

I think, we don’t need a new tag like ref:in_morth_old.
Indigomc : Concering the name-tag, you are completely right.
I saw in Talk-IN activities to set up a server specially for India. So why not render there two maps: one with the ref-tag (new numbering) and one map with the ref:old tag (old numbering).

So I alter my proposal:

  1. The old NH-numbers shall be put in a new ref:old tag.
  2. The new NH-numbers shall be put in the ref-tag.
  3. In the name-tag, there shall be nother but the true local names.

There will remain some NHs with the old numbers in the ref-tag, because they didn’t get a new number up to now.

If this will be accepted, I also correct the renumbering of the NH1 to NH52 in this way.

My proposal :

  1. ref – tag : the new highway number
    example : ref=NH66 instead of ref=NH17 or ref=NH47

  2. name – tag : new highway name
    If the way has a special name, then we extend this name by the new NH-number

  3. ref:old – tag
    If mappers alters the name-tag so that the old NH- number is deleted, we write (for easier corrections) the old NH-number also in an ref:old- Tag.
    Example : ref:old = NH17

Naveenpf: I cann’t agree with your „name“-tagging.
The purpose of openstreetmap is, to create a database which describes as exact as possible the reality. For sure, we want to see the results, so we look at the rendered maps like e.g. An absolute NOGO is, to misuse tags, so that the known maps show the details like someone wants it to be. I find an increasing number of this forbidden practise in India.
Here are an extreme examples :
1)Someone wanted the name of shops, industris areas… in his town to be displayed prominently on the maps. So he added there the tag „place=village“!!!

  1. A new mapper wants that his small village is to be seen on the map. So he mapped it as „place=city“.

The name-tag and the ref-tag are prominently rendered on the standard OSM-maps.
The ref-tags is for the road numberrs like NH999.
The name tag is for the real names (like „Grand Truck Road“) and for nothing else.

Why do you want the new NH-numbers in the name-tag???
They would be in the ref-tag and so also be displayed on the maps.

I had proposed to add in the name – tag the old NH numbers, so that we take in account the special situation in India ( mixture of old and new numbers till this renumbering process is done, confusion of the drivers).

I think now, we shouldn’t give with the name-tag a new misuse-example of tags („mapping for the renderer“).

With my altered proposal all necessary informations are in a correct manner in the database.

If there is a need to see the old NH-numbers, an extra map should be rendered which show the ref:old tag instead of the ref-tag. ( see discussion in TALK-IN)
If we can do it like this, OSM will be (concerning the NHs) much better than G**gle and others.

ok … Heinz…

Heinz_V, would you be able to post a summary of this at for future reference?

I have renumbered all NHs from NH1 till NH183. NH183A till NH87 are to be done.

The user Prasanth Rajan(alias user_634020) is reverting my work in „his“ region and he deletes parts of the relations of the new NHs. I wrote him a personal email and asked him to explain in this forum, why some NHs should stay with the old numbers. You see his answer in Talk_IN. There he published my personal email together with my name Heinz_V without asking to do so.

In another email, I wrote him that deleting the relations is vandalism. But he only asnwered „Yessir“ and continues to delete.

The renumbering of the NHs is now nearly complete. (The old NH220 and the new NH183 have errors and need to be fixed by local mappers.)
All mapped NHs have a ref-tag (= new number) and a ref:old-tag (= old number), if these numbers exist. If there are still ref:new-tags, they can be deleted.
The new NHs follow the Bypass-roads around big towns and cities. In these cases often then old NHs go through the cities and have still the old numbers. In some cases mappers insist on classifying the NHs as primaries. Within big cities this is OK, but elsewhere not to my opinion. This should be fixed.
Since the official names of the new NHs are like NH140 and not N 140, I have altered the names of new NHs to NHxxx instead of N xxx. To avoid confusions the relations of old NHs now have a ref:old-tag and the relations of new NHs have a ref-tag and a tag „note=new number“.
All relations should be complete. I hope this doesn’t change.:slight_smile:
On the Wiki-page for the new numbers there are a lot of NHs without old numbers in brackets, because these NHs are completely new defined.
For the following old NHs there is up to now no new number defined :
NH24B from Raebareli to Allahabad
NH44E from Nongshram to Ronjeng
NH65A from Lambia to Jaitran
NH79 from Border to MP to Neemuch
NH86 from Dewas to Bhopal
These NHs still have their old numbers.