Refreshed proposal - Emergency=disaster response

Over the last few days, this draft proposal has been refreshed & updated.

There are questions though over the best way of actually tagging the different disaster response organisations.

Input from all is welcome (especially the originator @Polarbear! :-))

I suspect this tagging won’t be applicable for the UK, since disaster response is handled by[1]:

  • police services;
  • fire and rescue authorities;
  • health bodies;
  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency;
  • local authorities; and
  • Environment Agency.

all of whom have their own current tagging systems.

However, I did wonder about charities such as the British Red Cross. They assist in emergencies, but I wouldn’t necessarily think of them as an “emergency disaster response” agency. What are your thoughts there?

I think there might need to be a little more clarification on scope of what fits under this tag - especially for countries where it isn’t immediately obvious. It’s probably also worth noting that it explicitly excludes other emergency response agencies that may include disaster response in their duties (e.g. police, fire, ambulance etc).

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Also, I note you’ve actually introduced a second tag in your proposal but not discussed this: emergency_service=*.

It seems there is some current usage but it certainly isn’t approved or de facto. The vast majority of usage appears to be in Germany - it’s definitely not distributed evenly across the globe.

So I think warrants discussion or separate proposal.

For example, what would be the scope of this second tag? Could it conceivably be used for emergency_service=police, emergency_service=fire etc?

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now that you mention it; has this been announced on tagging ML?

Also, it seems to propose amenity=emergency.

What I am most uncertain about is what is meant by “Migrate from tags”. Does that include deprecating old tags? Dual tagging? Plans to do automated edits? What exactly is proposed to happen with those new and old tags?

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What exactly is this a suggestion to tag?
I don’t know about other countries, but I know that many disaster response facilities belong to governments or to their respective governing bodies.
I understand that in many countries, in case of a disaster, executive department directs each department (police, fire department, civil servants, etc. It even has authority over civilians).
Are you sure you want to redundantly specify it?

As you can see, there are many different kinds of “disasters” and the “civil defense” case that some of you have mentioned here is just one of them.
Also, regarding the office in charge, I see that ‘office=disaster_response’ has already been suggested.
I’m not sure I’m understanding your intentions correctly.
I would be very grateful if you could explain it in a simpler way and with examples if possible.

If they haven dedicated facilities pre-prepared for this that don’t belong to the subsidiary organisations then it isn’t redundant?

I think many countries are similar because modern countries often share experiences, but let’s take the case of South Korea.
(I’m not sure I can explain it properly with my short English skills, but I’ll give it a shot, so please bear with me.)

As I said, there are many different types of disasters, and each one has its own response organization, but in modern times I know disaster response as unified response.
In a large or complex disaster, a response team will be formed, and the response team will coordinate all relevant organizations.
But, disaster response teams do not have any resources.
Depending on the type of disaster, they take resources from “A” organization, “A-2”, and “B-1” and “B-2” from “B” organization.
This means that “A-2” is a redundant attribute that originally belonged to “A” and is mobilized for a specific disaster.
In other words, “A-2”, “B-1”, and “B-2” don’t have independent properties, but are each subproperties of “A” and “B”, and additionally have the property of disaster response.

Not every country in the world is like this, but at least many that I know of respond to disasters this way.
If I’ve misunderstood something, please let me know.

I’d like to make it clear that I wasn’t the one that refreshed this proposal, that was Os-emmer, who apparently isn’t on either the Forum or Tagging list, but has been talking on the talk page: Proposal talk:Emergency=disaster response - OpenStreetMap Wiki.

If you have specific questions for them, you may need to ask them there?

I have just posted to Tagging to advise that the proposal has been refreshed.

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The base areas / buildings that are used by the “disaster response” organisations, in those countries which have them (not all countries do). It’s a continuation of the way that fire, police and ambulance stations are currently tagged.

It does, & I’d agree that it shouldn’t.

emergency=disaster_response + operator=Queensland SES / State Emergency Service should be suffucient?

I am the one who edited the proposal. Its the first time that I tried adding something to the wiki. Sorry that I didn’t find the time to answer here until now.

I added the Tagging and Rendering sections. I wrote down what I thought would be helpfull because the proposal didn’t have much activity in the last 2 years, at least as far as I was able to see.

I totally understand that disaster/catastrophy management is handeled differently in different countrys. So there is help needed from people all around the world.
@adreamy If I understand you right you are talking about a South-Korean governmental organisation that does not have any equipment but organises people and equipment from firefighters or ambulances after for example a big earthquake. Did I understand that right? What is the name of the organisation?

@Matija_Nalis, Fizzie41: About the amenity=emergency tag. I wasn’t realy sure about this when I added it. I think it can be removed from the proposal because it does not realy add any information.

I have one question about proposals here at openstreetmap in general: What is the best way of participating in a proposal? Is it better to edit the proposal and then discussing the edits in this forum? Or should I first introduce ideas here in the forum and after finding consens in disussion add them to the proposal?

Thank you all for all your ideas and help.

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First off, I think the suggestion process is a better process to start a discussion in the forums (except for minor disagreements, like if you want to change the tagging method or create, remove, or merge tags).

To reiterate, I realize that the situation I’m aware of is not unique to Korea (i.e. I’m sure other countries are similar).
Anyway, let’s talk about the Korean case.

In the event of a small disaster, such as a fire, firefighters and equipment are dispatched. In this case, the firefighting organization becomes the crisis response department.
However, in the event of a major disaster, a “Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters”(CDSCHQ) is set up within the government.
Normally, it is an agency under the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, with the Minister of the Interior and Safety as the head of the center, but in the case of a disaster that occurs overseas, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will exercise the authority of the head of the center, and in the case of a radiological disaster, the chairman of the Nuclear Safety Commission, who is the head of the Central Radiological Disaster Response Center.
Naturally, depending on who the head is, the number of people available and the scope of authority differs.
If the disaster is severe enough, the Prime Minister, who is delegated the authority by the President, may take over instead of the Minister.
The head of CDSCHQ may command and control police personnel, based on government organization, personnel, and equipment, and fire department organization, personnel, and equipment, and may call upon military personnel, equipment, and supplies as circumstances warrant. (Depending on the situation, they also have access to medical areas and social facilities.)
I understand the reason for this is that a single, small disaster is handled by the appropriate disaster response department, but a large or mega-disaster is difficult to handle that way.

What I don’t quite understand is how to tag facilities for such a vast and complex department.
Fire facilities can be tagged by default, but should we also tag police facilities, hospital facilities, social facilities, or military facilities that might be mobilized to respond to a disaster?

  • You don’t have to look at it, but if you need official government guidance in English rather than my English, this is a good place to start.
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Here’s the full process: Proposal process - OpenStreetMap Wiki

I’ll fix that, if you like?

It’s not that he doesn’t know about suggestions or the proposal process, it’s just that he’s asking which method is better for gathering consensus from multiple people.

Just speaking from my experience in the United States and mainly having to do with forest fires (although I think it’s applicable more generally) while there are specific organizations within the government that are deployed in emergences at least from what I’ve seen they don’t ever have permanent, centralized places that can (or really should) be mapped. Otherwise most of the time disaster response teams are essentially just extensions of exiting entities where their main offices have either already been mapped or should be instead of mapping a temporary deployment area or whatever.

Like with forest fires in California, usually the state will deploy the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and they will set up temporary infrastructure for disaster response near the fire, for instance a command center and parking areas for fire trucks, but it always gets removed once the fire is put out. So it shouldn’t be mapped. But there are central offices for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. I just don’t think emergency=disaster_response would be the tag to use when mapping them since the organization does more then disaster response and I don’t know. It just seems like the wrong tag and I think there’s already better ones out there. Although I’m sure there are NGOs out there that mainly focus on disaster response, but they are already being mapped with other tags.


As mentioned earlier, it won’t apply to all countries as everybody does things differently.

In Australia, we have the volunteer State Emergency Service: State Emergency Service - Wikipedia

They are the people you call when e.g. your roof starts leaking during a storm, who carry out flood evacuations & a myriad of other tasks, including helping emergency services e.g. Police, Fire & Ambulance when asked.

They work out of established permanent depots / sheds, where their equipment (vehicles, chainsaws, ladders, tarpaulins, boats etc) is stored & maintained, & which is where they also do their weekly training. Those depots are the subject of this tag.

Do you have a suggestion for any other way to tag them? NB In Australia at least, they are NOT Police, Fire, military or anything else “official”.


Thank you.
From what you said, I understood that some countries might be able to use this tag.
I think it is good to clarify the premise that “it is limited to cases where disaster response is carried out with its own organization, equipment, and facilities.”

And, I also think it’s good to be clear about things like whether it’s a formal government organization, a private organization or institution, or a group of volunteers.
Because I think there’s a certain amount of difference in authority or enforceability or formality based on those differences.
(In particular, there are many governmental or quasi-governmental or private organizations, organizations, and volunteer groups that support disasters or quasi-disasters in modern times.)

It looks like they are being tagged with emergency=ses_station. What’s your particular issue with them being mapped that way?

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The problem comes in with the country that use the tag. There’s really only two choices in those cases. Either come up with a tagging scheme that everyone can use or try to have the tag approved even if it will never be used widely used or accepted. At least IMO the second options has a very small chance of happening. So why not at least put some effort into figuring a tag that works for everyone?

I’m not saying you aren’t, but it is an issue if the main takeaway from this discussion is alone of the lines “oh well, this will only work in a small number of countries. So whatever. We should get it approved anyway.” There’s no reason there can’t be a universally usable tag for disaster response facilities if people put the time and energy into figuring one out. Otherwise there’s no reason not to just go with exiting ones. Like emergency=ses_station in Australia. If emergency=disaster_response only works in some places to begin with then I don’t really see what the difference is between someone using it or emergency=ses_station in Australia at that point. Since neither one is likely to be more widely adopted.

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I agree with what you say.
However, there may also be tags that only work in certain regions or countries, and unless something new comes to light that I’m not aware of, it’s almost certain that at least in Korea, there are no disaster response teams that operate independently with their own facilities and equipment in major disasters.
Additionally, other countries I’ve seen operate similarly, but I can’t confirm that every country in the world is like this.
So, if it doesn’t conflict with the disaster response systems of the countries I know, there’s no reason for me to stop this proposal from moving forward (of course, I don’t understand the need for the tag, so I can’t join in).
I just meant that. :slight_smile:

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