[Tagging] Feature Proposal - RFC - Refugee Site Location

Joseph Eisenberg joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com
Wed Mar 25 23:39:01 UTC 2020

In the previous proposal (Proposed features/Refugee Site Location) at
least 6 people who opposed the proposal mentioned the key "place=" was
not acceptable.


"What about places that are de facto village/town but still
administered by UNHCR or another humanitarian organization or
governmental agency?"

"...many long-term refugee camps have developed into a village or
town, where people live for many year. These permanent settlements
should be tagged as place=village or place=town, so if the tag for
refugee sites uses the same place=* key, then it is not possible to
use both at once."

"A refugee camp or site is more like a landuse=residential area or an
amenity=social_facility, so perhaps consider using
landuse=refugee_site or amenity=refugee_site, or a subtag of
landuse=residential, like residential=refugee_site?" (

"Using the place tag for this causes problems in situations where the
distinction between a refugee camp and a town is vague. Is a
settlement of over 100,000 people, that's existed for 30 years and has
schools, hospitals and a graveyard a city or a camp? I think it should
be tagged as both. If it isn't then OSM will either not have some of
the biggest refugee camps mapped, or it not have some of the largest
towns/cities in the area mapped. Either would be a serious omission.
Because of that, the refugee site should be tagged outside of the
place tag."

I'm disappointed that these concerns are being ignored. Instead, we
are told "''we recommend using only this key place=refugee_site and
not village/city since these sites have a status permanently different
to a “regular” populated place (the common legal framework of the
country doesn’t apply to it)''". That is ''not'' how we map places in

See "Good_practice" "Don't  map your local legislation, if not bound
to objects in reality" and "Verifiability": we don't map what a
country claims to be true, but what is actually real. If a "camp" is a
30 year old settlement with >10,000 residentis, plus shops, clinics,
schools, places of worship etc, then it is a place=town, no matter
what the local government says.

Of course it can also be a refugee_site in a way, so the tag for a
refugree site should be something that does not conflict with

Also, is there already an Import page set up by CartONG for the
proposal to import this info from the UNHCR database?

-- Joseph Eisenberg

On 3/25/20, Manon Viou <m_viou at cartong.org> wrote:
> Hello,
> The proposed feature place=refugee_site to provide a way for mapping places
> sheltering refugees and/or internally displaced persons fleeing the effects
> of a natural disaster or a political crisis for example has already been
> debated and voted on from 30-01-2020 to 17-03-2020. It was then rejected by
> a narrow margin on the final day of voting.
> We have since tried to answer to the concerns and comments received, and to
> adapt and simplify the proposed tag to map refugee site location.
> We would like to discuss this tag with all interested people again during
> the Request For Comment phase, open until Friday, April 3rd. Thank you !
> Please visit the new feature proposal wiki page here :
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Refugee_Site_Location_2
> Best regards,
> Manon
> [image: CartONG- Humanitarian mapping and information management]
> Manon Viou

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