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Parking Lots

The decision to map a Parking-Lot Place is covered here, and the decision to map a Parking-Lot Road is covered in the Road type article for mapping parking lot roads.
The forum discussion thread for the Parking-Lot Place is separate from the general Place thread, and is located here.

The Parking Lot Place marks a well-defined area constructed for off-street public or private parking, including parking structures and garages as well as at-grade lots.

Area or Point

Parking lot places can ONLY be added as an area as of August 14th, 2016 and only with the singular category of Parking Lot.


At this time, parking lots should not be added to businesses like gas stations or businesses with small parking lots (less than 20 spaces). This guidance may change in the future as further enhancements are made to the parking lot UI. Start by adding parking lots to event venues, shopping centers, airports, public use lots, garages, multi-use parking lots, etc.

For a mall or large shopping center, break the parking lot up into multiple lots (use your discretion or discuss with your State Manager(s) or RC for official guidance if necessary.)

For underground garages it is hard to know the exact polygon, so try to estimate it based on your knowledge of the place, and in that case the accuracy of the entry point is even more important.

If a lot is stacked (underground + surface), map it as one place covering the footprint of the parking lot / garage. Future UI enhancements may allow for better modeling of these lots.

If a lot has different entrances serving different levels of a multi-level garage and you cannot drive from one level to another to park, but rather the levels are served independently by different entrances, then they should be mapped as multiple places.

For planned parking features, it's important that the shape of the polygon be drawn as close as possible to the actual shape of the parking lot, including the entry/exit location. Keeping in mind that for multi-level garages, only the footprint of the structure should be outlined.

As with all Area Places, a Parking-Lot Area Place's geometry nodes should not be allowed to "snap" to adjacent road segments or junctions while being adjusted. Doing so can make the Area Place, as well as the adjacent segments or junctions, more difficult to modify.


Like all Places, Parking-Lot Places should be named.

If a parking facility or area has a documented identity, such as "Beach Street Garage", "18th Avenue/Geary Lot", "City Lot #7", "Short-Term Parking", "Cell-Phone Lot", etc., its Place should reflect that name to facilitate searches. Generic park-and-ride lots should be named consistently according to local custom, for example as "Park & Ride".

If a Parking-Lot Area Place is contained within a larger Area Place, do not repeat the larger Area's full name. For example, if the Domestic Garage is contained within the "SFO San Francisco International Airport" Area Place boundaries, it need not be named "SFO San Francisco International Airport Domestic Garage"; "SFO Domestic Garage" is sufficient.

In rare cases a municipality or district provides public parking distinct from any other Area Place but without any documented or signed identity. These can be named after the municipality or district, for example, "Redwood City Public Parking". Do not use completely generic names such as "Parking" or "Public Parking" for anonymous parking facilities.

As with all Area Places, do not use mapping abbreviations for any part of a Parking-Lot Place name.


The Parking-Lot Area Place should never be attached/snapped to roads. Places snapped to roads are difficult to edit.

For planned parking features, it's important that the shape of the polygon be drawn as close as possible to the actual shape of the parking lot, including the entry/exit location. Keeping in mind that for multi-level garages, only the footprint of the structure should be outlined.


Airports typically distinguish between parking for different terminals, for short or long term, and for cell-phone/waiting. As common navigation destinations, such parking deserves to be marked with Parking-Lot Area Places and named according to the airport's documented nomenclature.

Rental-car return

With the availability of the new "Car Rental" Place, rental-car facilities and returns, including at airports, should now be marked with that Place category. If the return location is a normal parking-Lot, then mark it with the Parking-Lot category and the building as a separate place with the Car Rental category.

On-premise Parking

  • It is important to create 2 separate places - one for the complex / place, and one for its designated parking lot.
  • Multiple parking lots for one premise: Create separate parking lots so the best parking lot can be recommended.
  • Valet parking - Valet is a service attribute of a place but is also an attribute for a parking lot.
  • Multi-level lots should be created as single place with the shape of the overall parking surface outlined.

Underground Parking Lots

  • Create a polygon surrounding the parking lot’s estimated perimeter (if you know its boundaries) and locate the entrance point in the original location.
  • If parking lots overlap with a Place, do not add "Parking Lot" category to a Place. Create a separate Area polygon for the parking lot.

The Parking-Lot Point Place

As of this writing, you can no longer add Parking Lots as a point place.

Locking Standards

Due to this major shift in editing guidelines, it is recommended that once a parking lot area (PLA) has been added, that it be locked to 3 to avoid newer editors, or those not familiar with the change, from editing or deleting the PLA.