[Tagging] building typology vs usage

Joseph Eisenberg joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com
Fri Sep 13 14:45:04 UTC 2019

I certainly recall reading about this in the wiki, but I agree that in
common use, the building=* tag appears to be used mostly for the
current function, rather than specifying a certain form.

The most common values of building= are:

0) yes (non-specific)
1) =house - both a structural form and a function (residential)
2) =residential - function, not really a specific form of building
3) =garage - function and form
4) =apartments - function (multi-family residential)
5) =detacted - synonym for house but more specific
6) =hut - form of construction (crude/simple)
7) =industrial - function
8) =shed - form but also function ("used as storage or workshop")
9) =roof - form
10) =terrace - form but also function (residential)
11) =school - function mainly
12) =garages - form and function
13) =construction - lifecycle state
14) =retail - mainly function, because the form of retail buildings varies
15) =greenhouse - form = function here
16) =barn - form=function
17) =farm_auxiliary - function (no particular form, and this is only
the general function)
18) =church - claimed to be a form?
19) =warehouse - function (but usually has the same general form)
20) =service - function

Often the "form follows function" as they say, but it looks like
tagging the function of a building is as common as tagging the form.

- Joseph

On 9/13/19, Dave F via Tagging <tagging at openstreetmap.org> wrote:
> On 11/09/2019 14:50, Paul Allen wrote:
>> I said that if it was a church and looks like a church then tag the
>> building as a church even if it now functions as something else.
> Buildings don't have a 'type'. There's no 'class', no standard
> architectural style or size. A quick image search proves that.
> OSM "is a place for mapping things that are both real and current"
> 'building=*' is to indicate its current usage.
> /If/ there's an insistence on recording it's original usage, if actually
> *known*,not just observed, then an appropriate *clearly defined* tag
> should be used. Something along the lines of 'original building use".
> Frederik suggests "Everyone may be confused about this.". It's been
> evident for years that those who are perplexed are the ones who imagined
> a 'typology'. I believe they've based their assumptions on anecdotal
> observations around their own neighbourhoods. OSM is global.
> DaveF
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