[Tagging] refugee camp

Jan S grimpeur78 at gmail.com
Wed Jun 19 21:10:12 UTC 2019

I think that we basically have to distinguish between two types of migrant
or refugee camps.

On the one hand there are established camps that have developed an urban
structure, with shops, services etc. People often live in these camps over
long periods of time (in case of the Palestinians even several
generations), but may still officially be refugees or migrants, because
they're not granted another permanent residence status under the laws of
the hosting state. In some situations, these places have become so
permanent, that they're in fact like municipalities, although they may not
be officially recognized as such. If these places have reached such a level
of development and don't receive new migrants or refugees (e.g. the
Palestinian refugee camps in Gaza or the West Bank), I wouldn't even tag
them as refugee camps, because on the ground they couldn't be distinguished
from any other town. This might apply to the camp in Thailand mentioned
blow, but also camps for Palestinian or Syrian refugees in Arab countries.
IMO, these camps should simply be tagged as place=*. According to the "on
the ground" rule, if they are similar to any other town in the respective
area, they should probably even not be tagged as refugee camps at all
(except in the name of the place).

On the other hand, there are more temporary camps, such as
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dadaab. These camps are much more makeshift
and continue to receive migrants or refugees. They are quite clearly
distinguishable from other towns in the area. Also, there are temporary
housing facilites for migrants and refugees in many countries, where asylum
seekers are sheltered during their asylum procedure, and they're relocated
to normal flats after some time. Due to the provisional structure or their
character as short-term housing, I'd suggest that these facilites be tagged
as refugee camps. Still, the tag "social_facility=shelter" doesn't seem to
be appropriate, as it is used fot shelters with even shorter occupation
(for people affected by natural disasters or homeless people for a night
etc.). I'd therefore propose to introduce a new tag,
"social_facility=refugee_camp", exclusively for this type of facility.


I did not add a refugee=yes tag. I tagged it as a place=town because my
> quick search for alternatives came up empty and there are about 50,000
> people living there. That way, at least the camp name shows up on maps and
> is searchable. I'll retag it based on what we decide here.
> On Tue, Jun 11, 2019 at 12:06 PM Violaine_Do <violaine_osm at posteo.de <https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/tagging>> wrote:
> >* Hi,
> *>>* Did you think about adding refugee=yes tag on place=* ?
> *>>* There were also an idea, if you have the boundary to develop rules
> *>* around boundary, similar to boundary = administrative to
> *>* boundary=refugee see
> *>>* https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Refugee_Camp_Boundaries <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Refugee_Camp_Boundaries>
> *>>* I also think is is something to dig in and happy to help...
> *>>* Best,
> *>>* V
> *>>* On 11/06/2019 05:39, Jan S wrote:
> *>* >
> *>* > Am 10. Juni 2019 22:05:53 MESZ schrieb Dave Swarthout <
> *>* daveswarthout at gmail.com <https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/tagging>>:
> *>* >> The refugee camps I'm familiar with in Thailand are not social
> *>* >> facilities
> *>* >> except in an incidental way. They are essentially internment camps
> *>* >> surrounded by fences with guarded gates where undocumented aliens are
> *>* >> kept.
> *>* >> They are landuse=residential because they're isolated areas in the
> *>* >> countryside and contain permanent dwellings but having no other way to
> *>* >> tag
> *>* >> it at the time, I tagged a big refugee camp near Mae Sot as place=town
> *>* >> and
> *>* >> name=Mae La Refugee Camp. As for the refugee aspect, I made a note and
> *>* >> left
> *>* >> it at that.*
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