[Tagging] building = house vs detached.

André Pirard A.Pirard.Papou at gmail.com
Sun Jul 22 23:27:11 UTC 2018

On 2018-07-22 20:56, Mike H wrote:
> The definitions of building=house and building=detached on the wiki 
> are very similar and don't seem to have any meaningful difference.
> I've seen people say that house is meant for rowhouses, and detached 
> should be for stand-alone houses, but there is no documentation that 
> explains that. If that is the intended meanings of the tags, then the 
> wiki pages need some work.
> As far as how I've seen things actually mapped, I've only ever seen 
> the building=house tag. Taginfo shows 1.2 million uses of detached, 
> and 27.2 million uses of building=house, so they are both used quite a 
> bit, but house is used a lot more.
> Can anyone elaborate on these tags, or have ideas on how they could be 
> better written about?
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:building%3Dhouse
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:building%3Ddetached
Not speaking of semi-detached that I stumbled upon and which is not in 
the wiki at all.

So, we have building=house and building=yes at least.
If we start using building=detached we no longer know if it's a house or 
a plain building, do we?
So, detached is not a type of building but an attribute of it.
Else, we would use building=detached for a church.
Detached is not a really useful attribute because it can be seen on the 
map and a program can easily determine that one ore more walls are shared.
But if the feeling is that it should be coded, the syntax should be 
something like house:detached=yes|semi or rather 
building:detached=yes|semi or something like that.
Similarly, if one and the wiki speak of terraced (adjective) houses, is 
a terrace a single object with a single house (ahem) number or should 
the houses be mapped separately with the attribute building:terraced=yes?
All that must follow strict logic rules and not vague feelings.
And probably the feeling to code building:color=red will be even 
stronger because it cannot be seen on the map, but in that case don't 
forget to tell the owners to warn about new paint ;-)
As to adopt the terminology of a specific country, it would mean that a 
map reader were expected to know all of them to be able to read the map.

Could the wiki be updated to discourage detached=yes and probably 
introduce building:<attribute>=<value> as needed so that this discussion 
is not repeated periodically? (there are timid 
building:cadaster/fireproof/levels already)

All the best,


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