[Tagging] Feature Proposal - RFC - (consulate)

Allan Mustard allan at mustard.net
Sun Oct 28 16:31:37 UTC 2018

Please let me clarify.  The three categories [embassy, consulate, other]
are based on their status as diplomatic missions as defined by
international law, which is how governments look at them, label them,
and relate to them.  Within those categories functional differences can
and often do exist, which I believe is the question you raised below.

Let's posit a hypothetical analogy using dessert shops:

primary key is shop=*
  shop=[dessert, ...]
    dessert=[pastry, frozen, pudding]
       pastry=[cake, cookie, tart, pie, biscuit]
          cake=[chocolate, Black Forest, ...]
       frozen=[ice cream, frozen custard, frozen yogurt, sherbet]
          ice cream=[chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, neapolitan, cookie
dough, mango, raspberry swirl, ...]
       pudding=[gelatin, custard, mousse]
          gelatin=[strawberry, lemon, orange, ...]
          custard=[chocolate, tapioca, lemon, ...]
          mousse=[chocolate, raspberry, mango, ...]
(Sorry, Hallowe'en is coming so I'm distracted by thoughts of sweets.)

At this point we begin to proliferate pretty seriously:  is chocolate
ice cream so different from vanilla that it deserves its own value, so
we can tag the shop accurately?  Do we even need to specify the types of
frozen desserts in a tag?  These are all good questions, especially if
you have a sweet tooth as I do, but if a user wants to run an overpass
turbo job to find all shops serving strawberry frozen custard, that user
will not likely find that level of detail in OSM.  We need to decide
what level of detail we can reasonably expect to be maintained by a
volunteer community while also providing an adequate level of
information to our users.

Now let's shift back to the proposal of diplomatic=[embassy, consulate,
other], and start by addressing your specific examples: "trade mission,"
"liaison office," "interests section".  A trade mission (aka "trade
commissioner", "commercial office", "trade representative") can be part
of any of the three categories; it is not accredited separately. 
Assuming we intend to adopt the diplomatic=* tag as a primary tag, a
trade mission could be tagged diplomatic=embassy, consulate, or other,
depending on its diplomatic status.  An interests section is probably
best tagged as diplomatic=embassy since it enjoys diplomatic privileges
under the VCDR.  A liaison office, on the other hand, may or may not
enjoy diplomatic privileges but if it does, it is only on the basis of a
bilateral agreement, not under the VCDR, so on reflection it should
probably be tagged diplomatic=other (see the Wikipedia article

To me there are three and only three secondary tags: pastry, frozen,
pudding, er, sorry, embassy, consulate, other.  The rules for tagging at
this level would be determined by what treaty applies: the VCDR or other
multilateral international treaty such as the UN Charter
(diplomatic=embassy), VCCR (diplomatic=consulate), or only a special
bilateral agreement that may or may not confer immunities

Now, are there sui generis names of diplomatic facilities?  Yes.  For
example, Libya used to call its embassies "people's bureaus".  When the
Soviet Union was formed, it stopped calling its chief diplomats
ambassadors, and for ideological reasons (traditional diplomatic titles
were considered bourgeois) said its diplomatic missions were staffed by
"polpreds" (plenipotentiary representatives) and its missions were now
called "polpredstvo".  After a few years of being always at the bottom
of every diplomatic list, the Soviets resumed normal diplomatic
nomenclature.  How much do we care about ideological labeling of an
embassy that enjoys protection under the VCDR?  They were embassies,
pure and simple.

So, let's pretend we're taking the example of the dessert shop and
applying it to the proposed diplomatic=* primary tag.  Here is a
possible permutation:

primary key is diplomatic=*
  diplomatic=[embassy, consulate, other]
      embassy=[chancery, branch office, nunciature, interests section,
residence, trade office, high commission, mission, legation, cultural
center, assistance office, ...]
      consulate=[consulate, consulate general, consular agency, consular
office, honorary consul]
      other=[liaison office, representative office, subnational, trade
office, cultural center, assistance office, ...]

N.B. that the tertiary tags now begin to overlap the name=* tag, and it
is my understanding that duplication of information is generally frowned
upon in OSM--please correct me if that impression is incorrect. That
said, if our hypothetical user wants to pull out all cultural centers or
U.S. state rep offices in a country by tag value, it would be possible. 
Note also that we are also mixing apples and oranges here, as
"nunciature" is simply a different name for an embassy, as is "high
commission", whereas cultural centers and trade offices located
separately from the chancery are functionally distinct branches of an
embassy, easily distinguished by their prominent signage ("please visit
us and absorb culture/buy our goods").

Here are some illustrations based on Ashgabat, a capital city with about
three dozen diplomatic missions. 

* The USAID office is part of the American Embassy but is in a separate
office flat in a building across town, so would be a node tagged
diplomatic=embassy, embassy=assistance office. 
* The Turkish counterpart, TIFA, does not enjoy diplomatic status so
would be tagged diplomatic=other, other=assistance office.
* The Libyan Economic Cooperation Bureau would be diplomatic=other,
other=trade office because it is accorded diplomatic status by bilateral
agreement, not the VCDR (there is no Libyan Embassy here). 
* The American Center would be a node in an office building tagged
diplomatic=embassy, embassy=cultural center, while the Iranian Cultural
Center would be a building with the same tags, since both enjoy
diplomatic status as sections of their respective embassies. 
* The Russian Consulate General has its own building and grounds
separate from the embassy, so would be an enclosed way tagged as
diplomatic=consulate, consulate=consulate general.  

An example from New Delhi, where I was stationed for three years:

* The State of Virginia (U.S.) Office would be tagged diplomatic=other,

Sorry for the long-winded reply but I thought your question deserved a
comprehensive response. 


On 10/28/2018 3:52 PM, Paul Allen wrote:
> On Sun, Oct 28, 2018 at 5:48 AM Allan Mustard <allan at mustard.net
> <mailto:allan at mustard.net>> wrote:
> [...]
>     d) diplomatic=* would include only [embassy, consulate, other],
>     with "other" covering anomalies without status under the VCDR or
>     VCCR (e.g., AIT, TECRO, and subnational representations);
>     e) further refining of the type of facility would be apparent in
>     the name=* tag, obviating the need for additional subtags; and
> [,,,]
> It depends.  Are all of the facilities that would be tagged as "other"
> sui generis or do some of them
> fall into specific categories?  If there are specific categories that
> some of them fall under, then
> giving them their own values instead of other would be sensible.
> Tag values are cheap and promote consistency.  Consider somebody
> wanting to use overpass-turbo
> to find a particular type of diplomatic facility.  A search for
> diplomatic="fubar" is a nice, easy query.  A
> search for diplomatic="other" and name~"fubar" works if you're sure
> the name is going to contain
> "fubar" somewhere within it.  If you don't know in advance what the
> name is then with only
> diplomatic=other you're not going to be able to narrow it down to a
> specific category of other (if
> specific categories of other exist).
> OTOH, if "trade missions," "liaison offices," "interests sections,"
> and the like are merely marketing
> terms for "I can't believe it's not an embassy" then "other" suffices.
> -- 
> Paul

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