Tagging of cell phone towers?

Hello, I’m in the USA and I have a particular interest in placing my area’s cell phone towers / antennas on the map. It appears that most are going to have to be located and mapped manually since the phone companies are understandably coy about their locations, and most modern towers are short enough to be exempt from being registered in government databases.

I’ve searched and looked in the wiki but there doesn’t seem to be anything exactly specific to how to tag these. We have

man_made = tower
man_made = comm_tower

but I didn’t find anything like

man_made = cellular_tower
antenna = cellular

So is there any standard way?

Likely no single tag has yet become popular. There’s a wiki proposal for amenity=bts for base tranceiver stations, but to date even that has only 81 uses; on the other hand man_made=antenna is at 523 uses. Using amenity as the key for a technical equipment not directly operated by people seems wrong, anyway.

Keeping in mind that the bts can be, and mostly are hidden from sight, and only their antenna(s) visible, and the antennas can be mounted on different walls, one should tag separately the physical structure (mast/building) and the antenna (yet sometimes the antennas are bundled right next to each other on the mast); these can be on the same node, for example I’d use

man_made=mast + telecom=antenna

or when it’s on a wall, just telecom=antenna on a node that is part of the way marking the building wall. OTOH, telecom=antenna has just 4 uses to date, but man_made=antenna clashes with any other man_made=* value that would need to be tagged on the same object; be it a mast, tower or similar. Maybe just antenna=yes/telecom/gsm/cellular/what-you-have.

Where you have a mast, use the established tag for that, and where it’s a tower, tag that, and so on; then think what it is that you can see of the equipment, and come up with a tag that is usable in all the cases you can think of.

The usual / most popular tagging for mobile phone towers is:

This is used over 30000 times. See the wiki page: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:man_made%3Dtower

There is also a proposal for tagging the individual communications transponders / antenna, which might be on a tower, or attached to something else. See http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Communications_Transponder


In The Netherlands the following tags have been added frequently:
tower:type= communication
height= … (in meters)
technology= e.g. UMTS, GSM900 whatever is applicable