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In Argentina, there is a unique numeric code identifying every school in the country. What tag should be used to add that code? I think something related to ref would be most appropriate. Is there anything like ref:school?

EDIT: This is complicated by the fact that a school providing eg. both primary and secondary education in the same building, is often registered with the education ministry as two separate schools, with different IDs but the same address.

asked 24 Nov '12, 23:26

nicolas17's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 25 Nov '12, 00:07

Just use the tag ref. There is no need for the :school part, as it should be obvious from the other tags that it is a school.

EDIT: If it is a single school with two references the two references can be separated with a semicolon like: ref=ref1;ref2. If it is actually two schools, then you would put two nodes inside the building outline, each with the tags amenity=school/ref=...

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answered 24 Nov '12, 23:41

cartinus's gravatar image

accept rate: 27%

edited 25 Nov '12, 00:32

ref alone feels way too ambiguous to be useful for anything. And there's an extra complication that I hadn't noticed before (I added it to the question).

(25 Nov '12, 00:05) nicolas17

Please look at the wiki page for the tag ref. You'll notice that in all the examples of the ref:something notation, it is used for references from specific named organizations/institutions. It is not used with generic terms like :school, :highway, etc. Neither will you find the generic terms on the first few pages of a taginfo search for ref.

(25 Nov '12, 00:36) cartinus

I agree that ref:school would be too generic. Perhaps ref:AR:cue? (CUE = Clave Única de Establecimiento)

(25 Nov '12, 00:49) nicolas17

OSM is a geo database. Location is always part of the context, so the ref tag is appropriate because the thing at that position is a school. This can be hard to grasp, but it really does work.

(26 Nov '12, 14:06) ChrisH

The thing at that position is also a building, which might concievably have a ref ID too. And how do you know if the ref on a school is a CUE or some other scheme?

(26 Nov '12, 22:40) nicolas17

I also agree with ref:AR:cue : all external reference identifiers should specify the country and autority defining the identifier in its nomenclature. ref=* is often ambiguous, there are frequently multiple identifiers to map.

Some identifiers are international and won't have a country code prefix (e.g. ref:ISO3166-1=*), but if the autority (or database) is national, the 2-letter country code (in capitals) should be used for qualifiying the tag's key between "ref:" and ":" before the identifier of the national authority or external database.

(27 Nov '12, 08:54) Verdy_p
showing 5 of 6 show 1 more comments

France has a numbering system for schools too, and they use a special ref tag (ref:UAI - see ) for that.

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answered 25 Nov '12, 00:50

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
accept rate: 23%

edited 26 Nov '12, 15:38

Pieren's gravatar image


And here again, the country code should have been used! i.e. ref:FR:UAI=*.

We should also have used ref:FR:INSEE instead of ref:INSEE, but this INSEE is so prevalent in France and these references are never used anywhere else than France, and it is so well known that we can keep the exception.

But "UAI" is most often not known from the public, and it is not reserved as an organisation name (like INSEE) and conflicts of interpretations or misunderstanding should be avoided. ref's without a country code should be reserved to internationally recognized classifications to avoid future conflicts.

(27 Nov '12, 09:02) Verdy_p

OSM is a geo database. The object lies in a country, so the country code is not needed. This mistake has been made elsewhere. This multi-level hierachy is harmful, it puts beginners off by displaying unneeded complexity. Mappers are OSM's most precious resource and we must not scare them away like this.

(27 Nov '12, 09:32) ChrisH

If I make a proper proposal for CUE, I will keep the country code, because I know for a fact that that acronym stands for something different yet related in another country.

(29 Nov '12, 05:07) nicolas17

As Chris says, you can tell whether it's in "another country" by looking at the latitude and longitude of the constituent nodes. If they're in France, then is it more likely to be (a) the French acronym or (b) the Burkina Faso acronym?

(29 Nov '12, 21:10) Richard ♦

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question asked: 24 Nov '12, 23:26

question was seen: 3,055 times

last updated: 29 Nov '12, 21:10

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum