[OSM-talk] Tagging POI's - Nodes vs. areas

Serge Wroclawski emacsen at gmail.com
Tue Apr 21 14:15:58 UTC 2015


You're correct- there's no set standard here. OSM uses folksonomies
which overlap and change over time.

Specifically the question of tagging amenties or shops as buildings or
nodes is one where we as a community don't have complete consensus.
The general feeling in the US from my experience is that if a building
is only used for one thing, then tag it as such.

Your example of a hospital is exactly right- and so are many schools.

But then you have places where buildings are multi-use. I live in
Manhattan and single use buildings are the exception rather than the
norm here, so amenities or shops are usually tagged as nodes within
the bounds of the building. You're right that even here, hospitals are
exceptions- so are many (but not all) schools, and many (but not all)
places of worship.

To add to the confusion, you didn't even bring up the issue of
relations. What if a hospital consists of multiple buildings? That
would be a good candidate for a multipolygon relation, in which case
you'd add the tags like name to the relation.

Getting back to your question- this is a matter of opinion but here's
what I'd do if I was you:

If the building is a hospital, tag it as such. If the hospital has
only one building, the name of the hospital is the name of the

If the hospital is a subsection of a larger building (floors 1-3) then
tag it as a node.

If the hospital is multi-building, then I'd tag each building as
building=hospital, set the name to whatever the building names are
(Building 1, or "Heart and Lung Center"), then make a multipolygon
relation consisting of each of the hospital facility, and set the
hospital name there.

- Serge

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