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In the US there are what are locally referred to as strip malls which is a shopping center that is a parking lot followed by a single building which has shops lined up in a row. I am wondering what the best practices are for mapping it. As of now I have been using landuse retail, tagging the name of the center there adding the building and parking lot within the landuse area then tagging the shops on the building entrance tags. This breaks down when there are shops or supermarkets with more than one entrance in a building with more than one shop. If there are shops with multiple entrances how would I go about tagging them How would you tag such a place? Furthermore there are shops inside of shops such as Starbucks or Banks inside supermarkets or fast food places inside other stores how would they be tagged as well?

asked 01 Aug '13, 22:36

redsteakraw's gravatar image

accept rate: 22%

edited 19 Oct '15, 06:30

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦

I would add the single shops as amenity/shop nodes (or areas if you know their extent) and, if you want to, do more indoor mapping to also represent the ways (to walk) inside the building (if there are - I am not sure if I understand the described malls). See also shop=mall.

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answered 02 Aug '13, 01:02

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦
accept rate: 18%

The strip malls are a building with multiple stores where all the enterences to the different stores are seperate and from the outside and usually on the same side of the building.

(02 Aug '13, 01:34) redsteakraw

well, okay. So if you want to be accurate map the stores as separate areas (probably sharing nodes with the building outline) inside the building with entrance node(s) on their relevant edges. If there is just a small bank inside a supermarket you could represent it as additional node.

(02 Aug '13, 02:23) aseerel4c26 ♦

The UK equivalent term is Retail Park. I usually add retail=retail_park to the landuse polygon. Personally I either a) add shop nodes or b) shop area polygons; preferring the former only if short of time or unable to resolve positions of shops. Others put the node on the entrance, often because it also has address info. This is still a stylistic choice as both approaches have pros & cons.

(12 Jun '16, 14:03) SK53 ♦

It comes down to mapping what know or can find out from reseach vists multiple camera angles on bing and company websites. The more you find out about the stores from different sources and coberate as far as possible on the ground, the more you can feed into the map.

At Oxford I'm moving into 3D visions of stores and the offices and residances that can be built into the same building. So its a detailing excersise adding entrances contact infomation mixing in indoor level tagging and rental plot boundries lying inside a building eventually I'll be adding the main public rooms and things like lifts and stairwells toilets etc. Fire and services plans left for fireman and maintinace crews give a lot of layout clues but walk the store to see what might have changed. The best is to do the stores you know a lot about as they are local to you and you could remeber if building work happened in the last few decades. If know nothing do a good building outline and mark it as retail and a note if you now a lot of stores are there but nothing about them. Another contributer will come do the details later on. If its just a list of names in a good order then use nodes. If you know of the entrances pop them in too. ..but if you can find out more you can add loads more.

Two links from two different types of mapper (a normal street mapper and the other a special indoor renderer) of the area I'm currently detailing there is a mall to the west that is currently being redeveloped and another mall to the east across queen's road note how the upstairs corridors are shown that would have gone to office suites but where closed for the builders before they made it to the map:-

Oxford is still new at indoor mapping though its comeing steadily (we had difficulty with online mappers and working with stacked features like appartments and entrances in tall blocks of identical flats).

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answered 19 Nov '15, 20:31

Govanus's gravatar image

accept rate: 3%

This is a useful page on shopping mall tagging;-

(19 Nov '15, 21:09) Govanus

I think it is too complicated to try to map the area of the store from a satellite image. You can never now the exact location of the dividing partitions within the buildings. This is not a surveying project and you would not get it right anyway. You can never know whether the floor plan of the store is like a letter L or I or |_| Sometimes you can see the original location of the dividing floor partition reflected on the roof, but since the original construction of the building the tenant might have changed and with it the partitions etc. Plus who really needs the exact plan of the store. To me, as a user, it is important to know what store there is and where it is located (approximately).

If you use iD editor and go through their help, under points you will find the following comment:

"Points can be used to represent features such as shops, restaurants and monuments. They mark a specific location, and describe what's there. "

If there are more entrance, place the point where the main entrance is.

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answered 04 Aug '13, 03:20

slover98's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%


"to try to map the area of the store from a satellite image" and "This is not a surveying project" - hmm, I think there are many opposing people who say that OpenStreetMap is no satellite image (aerial images in fact) tracing project.

(04 Aug '13, 03:23) aseerel4c26 ♦

Thank you for your comment. I think it is. What are you using to show the outline of buildings, roads, outlines of lakes? That's how I have been doing my editing or adding features. Tracing outlines of buildings etc. Check the Wikipedia article about good mapping practice, the title of paragraph 6 is:

6 Align Aerial Imagery before Tracing

It's not a rocket science. Just requires some patience and love. Of course, you cannot determine the names of the stores from the image, you have to visit the place, but I was making the comment regarding the building floor plans. Cheers, Martin

(04 Aug '13, 11:39) slover98

When OpenStreetMap started until December 2006 there was no aerial imagery available to use (or only the very low-resolution Landsat sat images). So most roads and tracks were created by surveying with a GPS - and that is also the only possible way to do most smaller tracks and paths in forests. And also for using aerial imagery it is best if you go to the location see the reality and to collect traces for aligning. If you only mean that OSM is no building floor plan surveying project, well that may have more widespread support (also history-wise).

(04 Aug '13, 14:12) aseerel4c26 ♦

Thanks for the historical perspective which I did not know. I realize that to make the map work is a complex project, but - you are correct - I was only commenting on the issue of mapping the so called strip malls, as this was the original question. Thanks again for your input, I learned something new, Martin

(04 Aug '13, 15:18) slover98

Actually, this is more a surveying project than an aerial image tracing project. Surveyed data is always worth more.

(12 Jun '16, 02:24) virgilinojuca

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question asked: 01 Aug '13, 22:36

question was seen: 11,441 times

last updated: 12 Jun '16, 14:03

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