[Tagging] definition of the key "office"

Warin 61sundowner at gmail.com
Thu Jul 6 11:33:04 UTC 2017

On 06-Jul-17 07:33 PM, Martin Koppenhoefer wrote:
> Currently (but also since almost the beginning), the definitions of 
> office in the wiki [1] are 2:
> - short: "A place of business, similar to shops"
> - longer: "A place predominantly selling services. These may range 
> from the obvious services such as accountants and lawyers."
> These definitions are not nearly suitable for someone to understand 
> what the tag is about, e.g. they would comprise car repairs as well as 
> haircutters, banks, etc, and they don't help distinguishing the key 
> from others like shop.
> The documented values contain quite some things that don't fit either 
> (or only partially) definition:
> - association
> - charity
> - educational_institution
> - employment_agency
Some people (the public) go to employment agencies to seek employment.
> - forestry
> - foundation (well, it might depend)
> - government
Some people go to government offices to seek things like driving 
licences, passports.
> - newspaper (ok, might be disputable)
Yep. Some go to place advertisements, reprints of old editions/photos
> - ngo
> - political_party
> - quango
> - religion (disputable)
> - tax (as it is explicitly about fiscal authorities and revenue 
> offices, not about consultants/tax advisors)
> none of them (or only exceptionally) is _selling_ services. The common 
> denominator is that these places are administrative workplaces, not 
> selling goods (at least not primarily).
> I suggest we change the definition.
> E.g.
> short: an administrative workplace
> longer: An administrative workplace, predominantly not selling goods, 
> and not primarily facing to the public. These may range from the 
> obvious services, such as architects, accountants and lawyers, to 
> government and ngo offices, etc..
> With some reluctance I added the "not facing to the public" (maybe 
> this is not correct English btw?
Umm "not servicing the public" would be better .. but the meaning is 
clear, so don't worry about it.
> ) because these would/should be "amenity". E.g. there can be an 
> office=bank for the (internal) bank administration and an amenity=bank 
> for the places where clients go. Admittedly this distinction isn't 
> (yet?) completely realized in current tagging, and I'm not sure if it 
> should be there.
> Comments?

1) Everything is an amenity to someone!  Highways are amenities, yet 
they have a more specific key. Office and shop keys now exits to more 
specifically tag these things.
2) The amenity key is old. Some view it as the 'miscellaneous' key - a 
place to put things that don't fit anywhere else.
3) Many OSM keys and OSM values never went through the tagging group .. 
and possibly could be better if they had.

4) Most lawyers offices here serve the public. Law Society of NSW lists 
lawyers that serve the public 
5) At least some government offices here serve the public. e.g  NSW 
government service centres for the public 
https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/service-centre/service-nsw/2000   (you 
need to type in a postcode to see other areas - anything between 2000 
and 2999 might do)

'Offices' that don't serve the public? I assume this is similar to your 
bank example - where the 'office' is set up to serve the operators 
internal requirements?
Do those need to be mapped in OSM? Consider that they are of no interest 
to the vast majority of map users? If mapped at all they should have an 
access restriction on them.

Other offices that I think do serve the public? Guides, tourist, 
financial advisor, heath insurance, real estate, tax advisor, travel 

Dictionary definition of an office? Humm Oxford Dictionary gives

Origin: Middle English: via Old French from Latin officium ‘performance 
of a task’ (in medieval Latin also ‘office, divine service’), based on 
opus ‘work’ + facere ‘do’.

Noun: definition 1: A room, set of rooms, or building used as a place of 
business for non-manual work.

The other definitions don't apply to what is being discussed.

So OSM definition ?  "A place (building or room/s) where a non-manual, 
non-goods service is provided." ???

Is that understandable?

What is a manual service? A panel beater for car smash repairs, a 
hairdresser .. I'd put these as shops.
But it is a close call, I think that the physical modification is what 
swings it for me.

Things that are in office that should not be there?
The medical stuff - therapists etc, they should be under the healthcare 
key system?

Humm there are 'offices' that don't fit for me.
I do go to forestry offices for advice on camping there (allowed in this 
country at least .. but not when they are logging/planting obviously).  
They also have good maps .. I do like maps.
However of little to no interest to me;
Political party offices .. well that would be like trade union offices 
.. only those interested go there. But they are still members of the 
public .. and even non members can go there - so open to the public.
I think the same holds true for the rest of the list .. it is possible 
for the public to go there for something that they want.

So I can see others wanting to map them.

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