Read the News about this effort.

Fixing Polygons in OSM

As of August 2017 this effort has now been finished! Thanks to everybody who contributed. See some results in this blog post. I'll keep this website around for the time being.

There are many different ways (multi)polygons in OpenStreetMap can be mapped correctly and there are even more ways in which they can be mapped incorrectly. Of the over 260 million (multi)polygons in OSM more than 100,000 contained mapping errors of one kind or another and about 250,000 were tagged old style (with tags on the outer ways instead of on the relation) making multipolygon tagging and processing much more complicated and much more expensive than it needs to be. But this is not only about multipolygon relations, it is also about polygons created from closed ways. They also can and do have errors.

We are trying to fix all this and this web site is here to organize this effort. Since this effort started a huge amount of work has already been done. We cleaned up all the old-style multipolygons and many of the mapping errors, but there is more to do.

When we have finished this effort, mapping will be easier, because there will be only one canonical way of tagging multipolygons. Editors can take this into account and help mappers in better ways. And it will make using the data easier and faster because the programs (such as Osm2pgsql and Osmium) converting OSM data into multipolygons for rendering or other uses can be simplified. It will also make it easier to detect mapping errors raising the quality of the OSM data.

Background information

Read this for many more details:

Start fixing things

There are many ways of helping with this effort depending on your OSM skill level and time. Read this to get you started fixing things.

Old-style multipolygon comparison map

To see what the map would look like if we didn't handle old style multipolygons specially, but just render everything according to the new style rules, you can use our comparison map.

The comparison map is not available any more after the old-style polygons have been cleaned up. You can use the OSM Inspector to find remaining old-style multipolygons.

OSM (Multi)Polygon Statistics

The statistics help us track what has been done and what still needs to be done.


For those who want to dive deeper into the data we offer several downloads. Files are updated daily from the current planet. The timestamp file contains the time of the last update in ISO format.

Spatialite database containing information about all problems found in OSM areas. (About 800 MByte). Get this QGIS project file and put it in the same directory as the areas.db file and run qgis area-errors.qgs.
Sqlite database containing daily statistics on areas in OSM. (Small file)
OSM PBF file containing only old-style multipolygons, ie relations tagged only with type=multipolygon with all dependant ways and nodes. (Small file)
A shapefile with all ways contained in the file above, so these are the geometries of all ways that are members of old-style multipolygons. (Small file)
OSM PBF file containing all ways and multipolygon relations that are broken in some way. (About 200 MBytes)


If you have any questions or want to contribute in any way, here are some ways to get in contact:

This effort is organized by me, Jochen Topf. You can also contact me personally, but I prefer you'd go through one of the channels above.