[Tagging] refugee camp

Joseph Eisenberg joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com
Mon Jun 10 12:17:22 UTC 2019

I understand why refugee camps have been mapped with
amenity=social_facility - it's the closest existing tag, since
tourism=camp_site is clearly wrong and landuse=residential isn't quite

However, I don't think that large refugee camps are a perfect fit for

 Most of these are group homes (eg orphanages), nursing homes (for the
elderly), hospices, assisted living facilities, homeless shelters,
outreach facilities for the homelss, etc - they provide services for
vulnerable groups in the community who have difficulty living on their

Refugee camps are closer to an informal residential settlement in many
developing countries, especially those that are larger or have been in
place for more than a few months (these are the ones most likely to be
mapped, I believe).

I would encourage creating a proposal and a new tag specifically for
these sorts of places. There could perhaps be a distinction between
sites for people temporarily displaced locally (eg a camp for people
in the same town, after a flood) versus long-distance or international

On 6/10/19, Jan S <grimpeur78 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 6/6/2019 5:27 PM, Graeme Fitzpatrick wrote:
>> >>*     I'd suggest something like social_facility=temporary_housing.
>> *>>>* To me, social_facility doesn't quite cut it for "refugees".
>> Refugees
>> *>* strike me as people fleeing from war / massive natural disaster -
>> *>* social_facility comes across as small scale for homeless people /
>> *>* women's refuge sort of thing?
>> *>>Browsing through the values of social_facility:for, it's a lot more
>> diverse than just victims of abuse and poverty -- and
>> social_facility:for=refugee(s) has hundreds of uses. But you definitely
>> have a point about scale -- some of these camps house over a hundred
>> thousand people. That's on the scale of a small city -- a community, not
>> a facility. So maybe place=refugee_camp is a better solution.
>> J
> Picking up the subject again (and having noticed that the refugee camps I
> know in my area are not tagged at all or at least very rudimentary simply
> as amenity=social_facility), I've done another search on the internet and
> have dug up this wiki page:
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Refugee_Camp_Mapping
> It's been modified in 2018 for the last time, is quite rudimentary in the
> description of the tags and values proposed and apparently oriented mainly
> at makeshift camps in Africa or the Levante. It would be an effort to bring
> some order into this and to make it more diverse (covering anything from
> spontaneous camps like the infamous Jungle in Calais or the already
> dismantled Idomeini camp, to permanent structures like asylum-seeker
> reception centres like this: https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/390153052).
> I'll see if I can give it a try over the next weeks... or would that be a
> task for a coordinated action?
> Best, Jan

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