The OSM wiki seems to have conflicting information. In "How to map", it states :

Set a node or draw as an area along the building outline. Tag it with building=*

However, under values, each option depicts using an area as the appropriate way to map the object. Discussion on the linked GitHub issue page suggests that it is inappropriate to map buildings this way, and that osm-carto does not display node buildings. The philosophy however, is don't tag for the renderer.

Is it appropriate to use nodes as opposed to no data at all (obviously outlines are more time consuming, but by using nodes some data is present instead of none at all)?

asked 05 Jun, 03:40

its_your_boy_jeff's gravatar image

its_your_boy...
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edited 05 Jun, 04:46


In all my ignorance of the relevant discussions, my understanding is that yes, it is. One data point is that JOSM has a dedicated icon for displaying building=* nodes, so it's clearly a use case that the developers have explicitly handled. And it makes sense: the fact that there exists a building at this location is useful information even if commonly used styles won't show it. It's possible to query them programmatically and if anyone needs them rendered, that can easily be added. A legitimate use case would be a building you find on the ground in an area not covered by good-enough satellite imagery. You know it's there, you know what it is and have recorded its GPS position, but you don't remember the orientation well enough to draw its outline.

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answered 05 Jun, 06:22

mbethke's gravatar image

mbethke
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Yep, the fact that I saw an icon (in iD) was a bit of an indication for me. Thanks for the answer

(05 Jun, 07:56) its_your_boy...

Outlines are not always possible. Sometimes this is due to a lack of imagery, sometimes because imagery is out of date and the building is new, or possibly because the building's outlines are difficult to see

In other cases buildings are recorded with a site survey using either mobile software that doesn't support outlines, or the time needed to draw outlines now would delay data availability.

In all of these cases, a node saying, 'there is a building here' is a better state of the map than no data at all, even if it is considered the least important tag for that object.

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answered 05 Jun, 08:14

InsertUser's gravatar image

InsertUser
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I agree to the other answers that generally, it is legitimate to create a building node instead of an outline.

Two more thoughts on the topic, though: The information "here is a building", only contained in a node is not very useful by itself. It gets useful if there is address information attached or any hints on the purpose or tenant of the building. These could be tagged as part of the same node or as separate nodes.

If there is no other information on the buildings than their locations I would at least try to define the build-up area by mapping an appropriate landuse (residential, industrial) to give some clue on the extend of the buildings (if there are more than one).

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answered 05 Jun, 08:32

TZorn's gravatar image

TZorn
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question asked: 05 Jun, 03:40

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