[Tagging] [How to tag a] Depot for sand, earth, and other bulk materials

Bert -Araali- Van Opstal bert.araali.afritastic at gmail.com
Tue May 18 19:34:36 UTC 2021

On 18/05/2021 17:53, Peter Elderson wrote:
> Bert -Araali- Van Opstal <bert.araali.afritastic at gmail.com 
> <mailto:bert.araali.afritastic at gmail.com>>:
>     I tag them as man_made=bunker_silo
>     (https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:man_made%3Dbunker_silo
>     <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:man_made%3Dbunker_silo>)
>     and content=* (values like sand, gravel, salt etc...)
>     Combine with landuse=commercial for the ones at depots for sale or
>     landuse=industrial or landuse=construction for the piles not for
>     sale to the general public.
>     I know the wiki says these are for agriculture but it's easy to
>     extend (wiki) for other purposes. Bunker silos don't necessarily
>     have 3 walls to contain the bulk material, as in your example I
>     can't recognise any but essentially they are the same thing and
>     serve the same purpose. Some have ditches around them or are pits,
>     with the same purpose of containment and additionally collecting
>     run-off in wet conditions.
>     Introducing another landuse or man_made tag seems ambiguous to me,
>     especially using stockpile as some might be empty short or long
>     term and then it would be to be defined as a pile or stock_pile.
>     Using the man_made tag is easy as they can be easily mapped and
>     incorporated in all kinds of larger facilties let it be depots,
>     factories, hardware stores, construction sites or just along roads
>     as maintenance stock depots.
> Bunker silo could be stretched to include these piles of bulk 
> material. But they are formed on the terrain as needed, for different 
> bulk materials. So I can't pinpoint and tag individual bunker silo's, 
> and I can't tag the contents. That's not necessarily a problem, but 
> again, stretching thngs.
Sure but you could contain all the piles into one area or apply it to 
the containing polygon which might have a landuse.  It allows for any 
level of detail as you are able or willing to apply. In many cases, like 
f.i. for hazardous materials, a watertight seal is applied to the 
surface, with different piles, sometimes different materials all stored 
on the same slab. Some have water catchment drains around it. All of 
this can be mapped with existent tags, like surface=concrete etc... 
without becoming specific about the individual piles or their contents. 
Just dependent on your preference for level of detail and local 
knowledge. man_made=bunker_silo is been used 32 234 x, both in 
agriculture as in industrial or commercial use.
> As for the landuse, it's not commercial or industrial, and the land 
> itself is not a construction site. Maybe industrial could be stretched 
> to include
> common storage for various bulk materials for various current and 
> future municipal projects in the municipal area?
In your specific case it's not, but these piles appear on all kinds of 
different landuse. So it seams obvious to me not to use or create a new 
landuse value for such a specific case as we would end up with 
landuse=somethingnew overlapping or puzzled into other landuses, either 
on macro or micro scale. For your specific case it seems to me 
landuse=industrial is the most feasible.  Don't use landuse=depot. Since 
last year (253 uses so far) the industrial=storage tag is used, even 
discussed briefly on 
<https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Talk:Key:industrial>. It is meant 
to distinguish warehouses which are considered in most cases as storage 
in buildings, from open air storage. Not documented yet but in use for 
similar cases.

So I would suggest a general tagging as:

landuse=industrial, (other landuses are possible but not combined with 

Add additional attributes if known like:
content=* (could be multiple ; separated values or a group name like 
road construction bulk material...)
man_made=bunker_silo could be optional but I would recommend it for 
uniformity in any case for such an area even if it has no special 
storage provisions for reasons that it is easy to recognise even if the 
pile is "used up" and underlying soil might be contaminated.  This 
allows it to be used also for smaller stockpiles f.i. gravel stocks for 
use in winter in mountainous areas, stockpiles of clay gravel mixes to 
repair potholes like often seen in Africa along roads etc...  By the way 
it even renders fine in carto (darker pink), but we don't map for the...
owner=*, operator=* etc....

If you have the information or field survey smaller areas and details 
can be provided on overlapping areas or polygons which are tagged with:

if the area contains a floor use surface=*,
wall, retaining wall or dyke for containment

The man_made=mound (1298 uses) is also in use but not documented and 
very locally used mostly in Turkey. Could be considered as an 
alternative if no provisions at all are present. I prefer to use a 
single tagging scheme for the same feature so don't recommend it's use.

In these cases the man_made=bunker_silo should be applied to the 
detailed area, not the containing landuse.
See an example of such a pile next to a major road in Africa here: 


Bert Araali

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