Are bus stop shelters buildings?

Some people are micromapping mapping them as buildings in my area. But are they really buildings?

If you go by wiki "In OpenStreetMap, a building is a man-made structure with a roof, standing more or less permanently in one place. ", then they are.

But somehow it feels wrong.

1 Like

I thought that it used to make reference to walls as well?

1 Like

I agree and I usually do not set buildung= to those shelters. But from the wiki, that should be ok: just add amenity=shelter and shelter_type=public_transport as well and you’re done.


Yeah, well… building=roof feels even more wrong too, yet there it is :smile:

taginfo says there are building=shelter, building=bus_shelter, building=bus_station etc. so you can at least modify that detail if someone has already micromapped it as building=yes polygon.

But when mapping myself where nothing is mapped, I probably wouldn’t bother with such polygons and would just tag the bus stop as a highway=bus_stop node with shelter=yes and call it a day (also note there is newer public_transport=platform). Of course, those would need to be added anyway regardless is shelter itself is mapped as a “building” or not.


Some people are micromapping mapping them as buildings in my area. But are they really buildings?

If you go by wiki "In OpenStreetMap, a building is a man-made structure with a roof, standing more or less permanently in one place. ", then they are.

But somehow it feels wrong

not all bus stops are the same, there are also bus stops with massive (stone) walls, tiled roofs and open to just one side.
Or something like this with brick walls:

these are clearly buildings for me.

Something like this less so

although “building” isn’t a clearly defined tag in OpenStreetMap and I would accept if people insisted on tagging these as buildings too


Lots, I’d say most of them are just street_furniture - at least that is what they go by in trade.

Mapping buildings there looks a lot like mapping for the renderer. Who else other than the mappers uses this information (the building)?


Hmm, are you proposing here different way to tag them or …?

Yes, renderers are primary data consumer of buildings, but there are others too. (for example, city planing, various statistics, finding how walkable some neighbourhood is etc. also depend on parsing such building data)

Note that everything we map in OSM is for the renderer, or router, or some other type of data consumer.
The (in)famous and over(ab)used phrase “do not map for the renderer” does not really mean what it might seem to mean to casual passerby who have not bothered to read that wiki page.
IOW: of course one should map for the renderer (and the router! and the the other data consumers!)

But such wording was chosen, and unfortunately it stuck… But what that phrase was intended to say (in less words) was “do not intentionally lie to OSM in order to get nice picture in your preferred renderer” (which is of course not at all what would happen in this particular case with e.g. building=shelter or similar truthful statement).


A truism, the slapping with this ‘accusation’ is more often wrong than right.

How about amenity=shelter;shelter_type=public_transport ?

They most often are not buildings. The building=roof tag only serves to get the area rendered. Most of highway=platform belong to the same. This was invented for rail where it makes sense and gets used for stretches of sidewalk.

what’s your translation of building, Bauwerk or Gebäude? Are you speaking from a legal point of view? If yes, which jurisdiction?

Hey, quite a bludgeon :slight_smile: How about a poll? How many buildings are in this photo:

  • One building
  • Three buildings

0 voters

We have this argument here with wayside shrines. People like to map buildings…

1 bank/office, 2 phone booths all 3 built ;P)

That is exactly my point. building=* tag in OSM is used for tagging not only objects which you’d find in English dictionary under “building” (i.e. places intended for human occupancy), but quite a few somewhat related things.

Many shelters would not called “buildings” in English, yet they are tagged with building=* tag, in the same way as many things which are not highways (not even close!) are tagged with highway=* tag (like highway=via_ferrata or highway=street_lamp or elevator).

So we many things tagged with building=* - some more, some less objectionable to the English definition of “building”: we have ships and boats tagged as building=houseboat and building=ship, roofs as building=roof and building=carport, ruins as building=ruins (since when are few broken bricks a building?), building=tent (I guess they forgot to include that as “pig #0 in Three little pigs), building=greenhouse (are we people or vegetables?), building=storage_tank, building=slurry_tank (good luck going into one of those :smile: ), building=henhouse and building=dovecote and building=sty, building=stadium (some architect is tearing their hair right now), and many others - including building=shelter and building=bus_shelter and building=old_telephone_booth; as well as things like building=gatehouse (this is just specific point of building, not building itself) and building=bridge (those are bridges between buildings, not buildings themselves!)

So yeah: building=* tag does not really mean “building” (as in English dictionary). Never has.
Neither is vast majority of other OSM tags pure enough so there is 1:1 match with OSM tag and English dictionary.

Thus voting “how many buildings on this picture” is somewhat disingenuous. Should’ve asked how many of those might be tagged with building=* tag in OSM instead (as this thread is about OSM tagging, not about English language etymology; that class is two doors to the left! :smile: )


As this thread is about OSM tagging, I expect the voters to decide on that subject base - the rethorics course is in one of the two “building=roof”. :slight_smile:

There’s no door or windows here, but otherwise you might think of it as a very solid building. I’ve not mapped it as one (just as a bus stop with a shelter), but I could understand why someone might map it as a building.


According to the fine documentation, everything with a roof is a building: In OpenStreetMap, a building is a man-made structure with a roof, standing more or less permanently in one place.

I guess, that is to accommodate mapping from aerial? How about this one:

In the area of my local knowledge, building=roof is almost exclusively public transport shelters, like these two:

If you ask me: The building tag solely serves to make OSM-Carto render the area. It betrays on everything else: Where do you enter the building? Does it have an inside/outside? Can you cross it at will in any direction? The PT mappers are painters.

PS: Only one in nine talkers voters in the improvised poll above did consider a phone booth a building, I guess I know who :wink: