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I'm a total newbie but have been asked to look at adding our University building names to OSM such that we can pull data about them to a new mobile web site.

First things first - I can see some of our buildings are named already and view the history.

The buildings have been added as 'ways' is this right? I'd have thought they were nodes...

Anyway I'm guessing it is right - as the guy who's done it has done lots of them.

The buildings have been tagged as, for example;

amenity = university building = yes name = Estates and Facilities

which looks fine, but one thing I was wondering was how do I categorise that as a building that would be in a group I'd like to call 'Administration and Services'? As another example I'd like to tag our halls as 'Halls of Residence', which would 'relate' them all together.

Do you get 'building=halls of residence' by using the 'Advanced' option and changing the value in the key:value pair from 'yes' to 'halls of residence'? (Ed Load answered this but I've left it in the question - the answer was effectively YES - that's what you do)

Oh and I'm using Potlatch to edit

Any better way for a newbie?

Any help greatly appreciated,



asked 12 May '11, 14:52

Sam%20Foster's gravatar image

Sam Foster
accept rate: 0%

edited 13 May '11, 09:10

Ok so I just found this

But I'm still a little unclear about best practice re relations of this type.

I guess what I'm wondering is if/how I can add my own meta data or similar that would allow me to identify our University buildings from a data set

Again - any guidance welcomed



(12 May '11, 14:57) Sam Foster

It might be appropriate to use the operator tag on the buildings. I'm not so sure about the other things you ask, but building doesn't have to just contain building=yes, so you could do something like building=hall_of_residence if that helps. building=house for example renders differently in the OSM Mapnik layer, so if you're doing your own custom render you could define appropriate rules to render halls differently from say lecture halls and offices.

I personally would only apply the amenity=university tag to the whole area of the university and not on each building, but opinions on that seem to differ.

Also, buildings can be mapped as nodes or closed ways depending on the quality of your sources. Before Bing imagery was available, nodes were more common, but more and more buildings are being mapped now.

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answered 12 May '11, 15:06

EdLoach's gravatar image

EdLoach ♦
accept rate: 22%

edited 12 May '11, 15:07

Gee Ed thanks for lightening reply.

I understand only bits of it, but that's 'cos I'm a newb.

How/where do I add 'building=halls of residence'?

When I view the city on the map and click edit, I then choose the building, and there I get all the options for Basic, Naming, Misc, Address - but it's not immediately obvious where I'd put the option to deliver me a 'building=halls of residence' tag..

Thanks in advance (and anyone else able to answer)


(12 May '11, 15:14) Sam Foster

You would have to click on advanced and change the Yes you see there to whatever you want it to be.

(12 May '11, 15:17) EdLoach ♦

Welcome to OpenStreetMap! If you would like some ideas on how to map your university, I would recommend looking at other universities that have been mapped, like University of Hawaii at Manoa. You can also look at this article in the wiki for help: If you would like, I'm open to helping you with the campus.

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answered 13 May '20, 21:56

TheAdventurer64's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 13 May '20, 22:02


Always nice welcoming new mappers. But you do realize this question has been asked nine years ago? ;-)

(14 May '20, 08:04) TZorn

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question asked: 12 May '11, 14:52

question was seen: 8,004 times

last updated: 14 May '20, 08:04

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