[Tagging] Feature Proposal - RFC - (consulate)

Allan Mustard allan at mustard.net
Sat Oct 27 16:38:22 UTC 2018

Paul, et al,

FYI new embassy compounds under construction around the world typically
include both office space and residences for some of the personnel.  The
new Saudi complex in Ashgabat, the Chinese, Belarus and Russian
embassies in Ashgabat, and the American complex under construction here
all include residences for embassy staff (not only the ambassadors), for
example.  I agree that micromapping is a bridge too far; we should
simply map them as embassies.  Overall this strikes me as a non-issue. 
Yes, we live at embassies, we work at embassies, and the residential
quarters often double as work space.  Tag 'em as embassies, period. 
That goes for ambassadors' residences, too, though I must warn you that
most ambassadors don't want their residences mapped for security reasons. 

As for the debate over amenity vs. office, an embassy is much more than
an amenity, and so is a consulate.  There is an argument in favor of
calling them amenities, but the concept of an embassy or consulate as an
amenity is based on the POV of a tourist or business traveler, and does
not include the totality of what an embassy, consulate, and
non-diplomatic mission (it would be a stretch to categorize the non-dip
PLO and Taliban offices abroad as amenities, for example) do every
single day.  It is IMHO too limiting.  Office=* is a better descriptor. 
If you have strong feelings on this, please voice them, and please tell
me what I am missing.

Given the effort required to create a new main key, and the split in
opinions whether diplomatic=* should be a new main key, I am leaning
toward office=diplomatic, diplomatic=[embassy, consulate, other] as a
happy medium. If there is not some sort of revelation over the next
week, when we hit the two-week mark for the RFC I am leaning toward a
gut and rewrite of the amenity=consulate proposal (or withdrawal of the
current proposal and submission of a new one) along those lines.  I
welcome another week of discussion before making a decision on what to
put to a vote.

As for oxymorons, welcome to my world!  Wait a minute, I have another
non-paper to read.  :-)

And Paul, you can find the switchboard telephone number of my embassy in


On 10/27/2018 6:22 PM, Paul Allen wrote:
> On Sat, Oct 27, 2018 at 5:52 AM Allan Mustard <allan at mustard.net
> <mailto:allan at mustard.net>> wrote:
> [Good stuff, almost all of which I agree with]
>     If we want to split hairs, we can point out that "embassy" is
>     technically an incorrect term for any building since an "embassy"
>     consists solely of people assigned to conduct diplomatic relations
>     with a foreign government, both resident and non-resident.  The
>     "chancery" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chancery_(diplomacy)
>     <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chancery_%28diplomacy%29>  is the
>     office building, complex, or office flat where the embassy
>     operates.  I don't think we want to be quite that doctrinaire
>     (office=chancery, anyone?) since "embassy" is the term in common
>     if somewhat imprecise use for a building or campus where a
>     diplomatic mission operates.   
> We have to walk a fine line between what is technically correct and
> the expectations of mappers and
> users.  So I'd go with "embassy" and clarify the situation in the wiki
> for the benefit of pedants.  There
> could be another ambassador out there mapping for OSM who might take
> exception to that
> decision without an explanation of the thinking behind it, and it's
> certain this mailing list has many,
> many pedants.
>     c) embassies and consulates are government offices, but there is a
>     trend toward thinking office=diplomatic is a better choice than
>     office=government; and
>     d) the office=diplomatic tag in tandem with diplomatic=* would
>     meet OSM guidelines and support more accurate mapping.
> I 100% agree that office=diplomatic is better than office=government. 
> I'm split on dropping office
> entirely and using diplomatic as the main key.  The ambassador also
> sleeps in his/her
> residence and I think micromapping the building to distinguish between
> office and non-office
> functions is overkill.
>     If my sense of growing consensus is correct, I suggest that
>     diplomatic=* would include only [embassy, consulate, non-diplomatic].
> Perhaps, but I'd write the proposal to not insist absolutely that only
> those three terms are
> permissible because otherwise mappers end up with square peg/round
> hole should the
> unforeseen arise.  OTOH, you have a very thorough understanding of
> what might arise, and I can
> only guess, so maybe those three will always be adequate.  Except
> that, as others have noted,
> diplomatic=non-diplomatic is oxymoronic, and diplomatic=other would be
> better.
>     P.S.  Regarding the question posed overnight as to whether one may
>     simply drop in on an ambassador's residence, any of you who are
>     contributing substantively to this discussion are welcome to drop
>     by my residence in Ashgabat any time you are in town :-)  Just
>     please call ahead to make sure I'll be home.
> If I'm ever in Ashgabat, I'll give you a call.  I consider the
> probability of this happening similar to
> the odds of me winning the jackpot on the lottery then getting hit by
> lightning as I go to collect
> the prize.  Especially as I have never bought a lottery ticket and
> never will.  But strange things
> happen, so I'll keep your offer in mind. :)
> -- 
> Paul

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