[Tagging] definition of the key "office"

Martin Koppenhoefer dieterdreist at gmail.com
Fri Jul 7 11:45:09 UTC 2017

2017-07-07 8:36 GMT+02:00 John Willis <johnw at mac.com>:

> > On Jul 7, 2017, at 9:10 AM, Martin Koppenhoefer <dieterdreist at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > charity office, a government office, the office of an ngo, the office of
> an association, etc., they don't sell a service,
> I think in he strictest of terms, they do - the embassy offers passport
> and visa services, an NGO offers aid coordination, an association handles
> logistics for members

"selling" implies a payment. Think the OSMF: noone is paid, no services are
"sold", and they are not the only ones. NGOs are not just about aid
coordination, they can also fight for civil rights, the environment,
freedom, etc.  Reducing an embassy to a place issuing passports seems a bit
shortsighted, think American (not only, just to give an example that can
hardly be questioned) embassies, they are basically bases for coordinating
their agents and flow of information, mostly no services sold there, and
embassies have a different tag in OSM anyway, so they will not be tagged as
offices, usually.

Let's have a look at actual value usage numbers:

1. leading with almost one quarter (22,4%) is "government".
Are these "A place of business, similar to shops" (that's the short
definition)? I don't think so. "government" is not "business" neither
similar to shops
Are they ""A place predominantly selling services." (long definition)?
Don't think so either. Even if they "sell (some) services" (better "charge
for" then "sell" anyway), looking in general at government offices that's
not what they "predominantly" do.

2. Second is "company" (19,4%). I don't know what kind of company these
are, but my guess would be that most of them are not customer oriented
offices but places where a company is administrated (because otherwise the
mappers would have been able to provide a more specific value about the
services offered).

3. Third is "yes" (9,2%, skip)

4. Only on the fourth place with "estate_agent" (6,7%) there is a place
that fits in the definitions.

5. insurance (5,6%), 6. lawyer (4,4%) OK, like 4

7. administrative (4,1%) like 1 or 2, not ok

8. educational_institution (3,3%), not ok

9. telecommunication (3,2%), likely not ok (because they are not "like a
shop" and "selling services" (maybe some are)

10. ngo (2,1%), not ok, see above


- but a better definition might be office where services are *performed*
> and offices where a business or service is administered or “managed”.

+1, let's get rid of "like a shop", and of "selling services" as only
requirement. We also should distinguish customer facing offices from
backoffices (IMHO). I believe the (customer facing) estate agent should go
into another key (either shop or amenity) and an office for an insurance
company should get the office tag when it is a backoffice, while the
insurance agency (for customers to go) would be shop or amenity.

> To me personally, people confuse:
> - the office as a physical structure

-> building

> - the office as a “white collar” shop: a lawyer or clerk or consultant who
> offered his services.

there's even physician, therapist, podologist and some other healthcare
related tags.
I'd rather not tag these as office, but as healthcare thing (maybe amenity
fits as well)

> - the administration section of a larger company: Apple’s HQ in Silicon
> Valley is where they manage all aspects of their business if manufacturing
> their devices in China.

IMHO office is fine for these

> - a (government) service that is “public facing” but not represented by
> the narrow tagging system: we have court house and DMV, but not “federal
> building” or pension_office or other civic_admin offices.

I'd rather prefer to have a different key for all kind of government
places, from the ministry via agencies to smaller public facing agencies /

> My landuse Civic_Admin is (surprisingly) in de facto use because people
> want to separate government services from commercial ones (a public pension
> office from a private lawyer’s office), but we need to separate out
> “customer facing service offices” from “private managerial offices” -
> Offices of a newspaper, a car manufacturer, etc - as well.


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