Mapping minority-owned and women-owned businesses

I recently noticed that the latino-owned=yes and women-owned=yes tags were removed from a small business near San Antonio, Texas. In the discussion about the changeset, there seem to be some differences of opinion about whether it is possible to include this information in the map.

Tags of this type seem to be rare. There are a total of 14 instances of black_owned and 4 instances of women_owned tags. If this information is also present in other tags, I would be interested to know about it.

When the tags were removed, the justification was that they fell under the Limitations on mapping private information - OpenStreetMap Wiki.

Personally, I would disagree. I don’t know about other countries, but business owners in the US often provide this information to the community. And community members often use it to choose to support businesses with diverse ownership. To me, this is important and useful information in a map, perhaps as useful as opening_hours and verifiable if the business owner has chosen to make this information public. I believe OSM would be richer and more useful with this information.

Is there a consensus on whether this information can be included in OSM, or whether it must be removed?

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A general consensus I have read on various occasions is “OSM is a map of places, not people” (or variations of it). That would be my main motivation for removing this information from OSM.

I agree with you that “limitations on mapping private information” is not the correct guideline to refer to in this context.

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In this case, though, “minority-owned” is information about the place.

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I regard that as information about the people who run or own the place. Information about the place itself would be address and contact details, start date etc.

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I disagree, but I’m interested to know if other people have opinions.

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We can agree to disagree.
I shared the link on Discord.

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Thanks! I’ve also posted the link on OSM US Slack, since the practice in the US might differ from other countries.

I would agree that this would be an attribute of the place. I think for a place like a restaurant the place is so defined by people that it is difficult to parse out what is place vs people.

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How does the ethnicity or gender of the owner say something about the place? It’s not like tags like cuisine, min_age, outdoor_seating or smoking etc. which convey information about the features or limitations of service that customers/visitors of a place may expect.

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My general opinion is that almost everything that a business owner would put on a sign in the window should be mappable in OSM. And this is definitely something people will sometimes put on a sign in the US.

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I have seen and removed too many tags with text like “Best restaurant in town”, “great discounts” or other subjective language to agree to this statement. We’ll have to be more selective than that.

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I think these are fine to tag when presented as a factual attribute of the business (i.e. the business puts up signs that say “minority owned” or something similar).

These kinds of signs are occasionally seen in the US on businesses that wish to promote the fact that they’re owned by a minority demographic.

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To prevent having to add a new key to the list each time someone finds a new demographic to promote, I think it would be better to group all of this under a single key. This could be something like owner_demographic=black/latino/woman/minority etc. Tagging should be limited to places that are explicitly advertising/promoting themselves as such, preferably on the ground (IRL) and not only as a footnote on their social media page. I would also use the singular form for each case, so we don’t end up with both “woman-owned” and “women-owned.”

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^^^ If this is to be done, this might be the way to do it.

And while the owner might be happy to put a sign in the window. Are we and they happy to put members of vulnerable groups on lists?

The nearest thing to this in Ireland would generally be the rarely-used “owner operated” or “employee operated”. Some businesses specifically and visibly operate as co-ops.

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This is why I suggested to limit this to places that actively advertise themselves as “something-owned.” The “Limitations on mapping private information” guideline may actually be useful here. The following section of that page could also be applied to places that do or do not advertise themselves as being “something-owned”:

We’re not talking about secrets here, but there’s still something to say for verifiability.

This “owner-/employee-operated” distinction seems like a very different thing than “something-owned.” The latter seems to be a mostly USA-specific thing anyway.

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Wow, this was a neat thread to read through. Came in with one opinion and flip-flopped around as people made very good points. I honestly don’t know where I come down on the “should we?” question now, but I agree with Friendly_Ghost that if it becomes a thing, a single key can do the job and would be much easier to maintain.

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:+1:

Otherwise it quite frankly looks racist and sexist.

I’d agree that in the United States, many people (self-included) find this information valuable and/or interesting - and as a point of reference, Google maps reports this information in the US.

I also agree that limiting it to businesses that advertise the information themselves either at the business or on an official channel like their website makes sense, both for verifiability and respect for the owners - I’m not referring to the owners posting a photo of themselves where they can easily be seen to be part of one of the groups we’re discussing - I’m referring to directly using a similar label like “minority owned” on their website or in the storefront. Some may wish to identify their business in relation to themselves, while others won’t, and I think it’s good to follow the lead of the business owner.

To emphasize the interest in the topic: The University of California (one of the largest employers in the country with almost 200,000 staff in addition to ~300,000 students) has purchasing guidelines to purchase from small and diverse businesses - they’re not using OSM data for this, but it demonstrates a broader interest in this kind of information to drive purchasing decisions, in my opinion.

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I have a couple of personal (not as DWG) thoughts about this idea.

Firstly, yes, the business is owned by a woman (etc etc), but does she ever actually come into the business premises, or is it run by staff, who may or may not be women / black etc? :thinking:

& then, where does it stop? The richest woman in Australia owns a number of iron ore mines & cattle stations; & until recently, the richest woman in the UK, “owned” a fair slab of the entire country- do we list all of them as owned by a woman? :crazy_face:

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This raises alarm bells with me because it could have dangerous consequences if the tag is used against the business owner. Imagine the tag was used to tag Jewish owned shops in Nazi Germany… Maybe the tag should only be added together with a tag describing the source of the information, so it is easily verified that the business owner wants to be know as such?

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