Guard posts and police cabinets

it is currently discussed on the tagging ml which tags to use for the objects in the title.
police shelter at an intersection

guard shelter at the entrance of a government building

A similar question on the old help forum here has yielded a few suggestions but no firm consensus.

Maybe this would fit.


In structure and function, I suppose such a building is similar to a building=gatehouse, only that this word itself denominates a more narrow meaning. There doesn’t seem to be a word for the general meaning. Wikipedia calls them sentry boxes, so building=sentry_box seems fine.

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I would put them in man_made, like watchtowers and guard towers.
surveillance tags could be added as well.
I am not sure how this police booth is used (hardly ever seen someone inside), but the guard booth is for checking who enters the building.

Perhaps building=access_control ?

I’d prefer something like building=guard_shelter
Another dictionary suggested

gatekeeper’s cabin
gatekeeper’s shelter

2 posts were split to a new topic: Booths at the entrance to a park

What about building:use=access_control. This would allow the building type to independent from the fact that it provides access to the entrance.

Hi, everyone.
I often get confused about other people’s use of tags.

  1. I think that the ‘guard post’ tag should be activated anew for a guard post that is not a prosperous building.

  2. Until a new tag is agreed upon, I think the ‘amenity=security’ tag is appropriate for watchtowers and guard posts.

  3. I think this should focus on the role, not the building.

  4. I think ‘surveillance’ should only be used for features for surveillance purposes.

  5. However, this feature also serves several other functions, such as verifying ID or guiding.

  6. Some people recommend ‘gatehouse’, but I think that gatehouse is only applicable to buildings that serve as both a gate and other roles.
    I don’t think it’s applicable when it’s a simple building that doesn’t play any other roles.
    (gatehouse = gate + buildings with different roles. A building that does not play other roles is not a ‘gatehouse’.)

Note that StreetComplete now offers to tag building=guardhouse using this icon

See also #4374.


I have made some edits in the wiki to reflect this consensus around building=guardhouse.

However, just a few weeks after that page was created, Something B made an edit introducing a separate amenity=security_booth page, which seems pretty identical at first sight (down to using the same text and images). I have asked in the talk page for clarification.

On the one hand, it seems that these two tags should be merged (with one marked as a “potential tagging mistake” of the other?), but on the other hand, after exploring images in Wikimedia Commons a bit, I’m wondering if we should indeed make a distinction between sentry boxes, guard booths and guardhouses (in progressive order of size, structural stability, and “liveability”, for lack of a better term). The latter, in particular, seems to refer to a proper building where guards can be housed in the literal sense of the term, as opposed to a booth where they are stationed for the length of their shift. This seems to correspond to what Wikipedia says:

Guardhouses have historically been dormitories for sentries or guards, and places where sentries not posted to sentry posts wait “on call”.

I’m not sure if this distinction is relevant for OSM, but I suspect quite a bit of these structures may still exist even if they are not used for their original function, so it might be worth distinguishing between them. What do you guys think?


I’m not sure if this distinction is relevant for OSM, but I suspect quite a bit of these structures may still exist even if they are not used for their original function, so it might be worth distinguishing between them. What do you guys think?

yes, there will be many of them that are now used for a different purpose, and probably also many where guards are housed in the literal sense of the word

If I divide the facilities related to security, I think roughly as follows.

  • A simple facility that is large enough for one or two people to fit in and avoids the cold and wind.
  • It’s a simple facility, but it’s as big as sitting or having a desk. (if it is not fixed regardless of whether it is actually moving)
  • Similar to the above, but fixed, if it is a building and has furniture, etc. for administrative purposes. (In some cases, there is also a resting facility or sleeping facility.)
  • A building in which the entire building is used for security and security-related affairs. (security wing)

From what I’ve looked at, I think this concept is mixed up in OSM wiki right now.

Further to what’s elaborated above, 2 (in fact 3) things here are being mixed up here:

  1. The booth structure: I still don’t find them a distinct structure warranting a dedicated building=. building=kiosk etc is what I prefer more. Compared to =guardhouse, there is still half as many =security_booth, and a quarter for =booth. Worse, =guardhouse doesn’t actually explain the scale either. Is not useful for it to be used for everything from booths, to large checkpoints and security control centers (are those “guardhouse” too? Not obvious what it means). As exemplified by Wikipedia, File:Saint Michael's Castle Guardhouse.jpg - Wikipedia doesn’t look the same as a booth. It might not be used as such anymore.
  2. The security function/activity: amenity=security + security= has been drafted. Again, amenity=security_booth unnecessarily requires the “booth” structure or scale of operation. This is not flexible, and doesn’t exactly explain what it’s used for compared to the options in security=.
  3. This post has the forgotten police post in its title: police= might be used for non-regularly staffed ones. unlike eg koban in Japan. Rural or borders may have observation posts and bunkers, perhaps with surveillance equipment to maintain continuous oversight.

Please pay attention, you are not allowed to do mass re-tagging without abiding by the automated edits CoC.
Complained: Changeset: 128995943 | OpenStreetMap
Changeset: 128995171 | OpenStreetMap
Changeset: 128994580 | OpenStreetMap
Changeset: 128993315 | OpenStreetMap
Changeset: 128992901 | OpenStreetMap

You’re right. I’m sorry, and won’t repeat the mistake. To be honest, I meant to experiment with smaller sets of changes, and when I fumbled that and made a larger-than-intended edit, I just went ahead and completed the changes, which in hindsight was foolish.

In any case, beyond the fact that it was done without following the recommendations, even I am second-guessing myself, as shown in my previous post in this thread. Happy to have those changes reverted until a firmer consensus is obtained.