[Tagging] Public buildings

Matthijs Melissen info at matthijsmelissen.nl
Sat Jan 9 21:22:07 UTC 2016

Hi all,

The tag amenity=public_building has been marked as 'Don't use' on the
wiki since 2010 (see
http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:amenity%3Dpublic_building ). As
far as I know, marking the tag as 'Don't use' has not been discussed
extensively, and the tag is still very commonly used (111 941 times
currently). I therefore think it would be worth to discuss this tag
once more.

Initially I didn't have much problems with this tag, and I have used
it commonly to mark government buildings. However, when I started
looking at how this tag is used (with Overpass), I discovered that it
is indeed use for quite a variety of things. It saw it being used for
government buildings, train stations, expo halls, art centres,
municipal sport centres, and band stands, amongst others. Nearly all
of these have more specific other tags.

In particular, potential replacement tags for government tags are
office=administrative (26 836 times in use) for central government and
office=administrative (8 725) for local government.

I think we have a choice of two options:
1. Accept the tag - in that case we'd need to come up with a clear
definition, and decide how it compares to the office=administrative
and office=administrative tags.
2. Reject the tag and mark it as discouraged on the wiki..

The tag is currently supported by JOSM, but not by iD. If we decide to
approve this tag, it would make sense to ask iD to support it. On the
other hand, if we decide to discourage it, it would make sense to ask
JOSM to remove the preset, and preferably, even add a deprecation
warning to the validator.

What do you think? Which way would you prefer to go?

-- Matthijs

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