[Tagging] shop=chemist as "Drugstore" for Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, etc.

Minh Nguyen minh at nguyen.cincinnati.oh.us
Tue Jul 5 15:45:34 UTC 2016

Recently, iD was changed so that shop=chemist is labeled as "Drugstore" 
for American English users (and continues to be labeled "Chemist" for 
British English users). [1] An American mapping a Walgreens, CVS, or 
Rite Aid who searches for "drugs" will see the following choices, in order:

* Drugstore (shop=chemist, marked with a shopping cart icon)
* Pharmacy (amenity=pharmacy, marked with a pill bottle)

Meanwhile, searching for "pharmacy" -- a synonym of "drugstore" in 
American English -- produces only the amenity=pharmacy preset.

The rationale is that amenity=pharmacy should be used only for pharmacy 
counters (which can be found at both drugstores and inside 
supermarkets), while shop=chemist should be used for full-service 
drugstores that *may* contain pharmacy counters. Currently, this is at 
odds with the wiki and longstanding practice, which stipulates that a 
shop=chemist *may not* fill prescriptions.

This change to iD came about due to a discussion in the Name Suggestion 
Index project, which is the component in iD that suggests tags when you 
fill in a commonly used name. [2] I happened to notice the change 
because it caused Transifex to prompt me to update iD's Vietnamese 
localization. To my knowledge, there has been no discussion on the 
mailing lists or formal proposal on the wiki, though the iD maintainer 
intends to edit the wiki to match iD's interpretation. iD is the only 
software that has made this change.

On the one hand, I've come around to liking the proposal, because it 
makes it easier for data consumers to distinguish between pharmacy 
counters and full-fledged drugstores. On the other hand, I think it's 
problematic because an American mapping a Walgreens or CVS could 
potentially tag a "drugstore" and be unaware that they'd need to 
separately map the pharmacy counter in order to indicate that 
prescriptions may be filled on-site.

Currently, amenity=pharmacy is far and away more common than 
shop=chemist in the U.S. as a way to tag drugstores. Certainly anyone 
retagging amenity=pharmacy to shop=chemist would be careful to add an 
additional amenity=pharmacy POI where the pharmacy counter would be. 
(For a typical Walgreens or CVS, it'd be next to the drive-through 
canopy.) However, I have little faith that the average iD user would 
know to do the same, since the word "drugstore", like "pharmacy", 
implies the sale of prescription drugs.

I've hashed out many of these points in [3], but I think the discussion 
needs to involve the wider OSM community now. There's little chance of 
data consumers and other editors updating their logic if the change is 
only discussed in the iD project.

[1] https://github.com/openstreetmap/iD/issues/3201
[2] https://github.com/osmlab/name-suggestion-index/issues/30
[3] https://github.com/openstreetmap/iD/issues/3213

minh at nguyen.cincinnati.oh.us

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