Refreshed proposal - Emergency=disaster response

To comunicate the start of voting I …

  • … created a new topic:
    [Voting] Feature Proposal - emergency=disaster response
  • … sent an email to the tagging mailing list
  • … addad an update about the proposal status to some wiki discussion pages. (“The voting on emergency=disaster_response started. If you are reading this discussion you may be interested in that proposal.”). I added it to the …
    • … English discussion of amenity=emergency_service. If you speak Russian, Ukrainian or Japanese adding a translation to the corresponding discussion pages would be great.
    • … German and English discussion of emergency_service=technical.
    • … English discussion of emergency=ses_station. If you speak Czech or Spanish adding a translation to the corresponding discussion pages would be grat.
  • … posted a link to the vote in this German post.

Do you see any other places where this information should be published?

I’ve added it to weeklyOSM :slight_smile:

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That’s above & beyond the normal requirements! :+1:

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Do you have a link to that?

You are right. I added a link in the discussion page of the tag emergency=disaster_response anyways. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Will be published on Sunday ~ 1pm here:


It is not even halftime for the voting, but 37 people participated already. There seems to be quite some interest in the proposal.

There is currently some discussion on the German thread going on. If anyone is interested, feel free to have a look. If you do not speak German you could use an online translator.

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The voting periode is over. Thank you to all of the 48 people who participated.

According to the proposal process, a proposal is approved if at least 8 people give an approval vote and at least 75% of the votes are approval votes. We reached 45 approval votes with 1 opposing vote and 2 abstaining comments. That gives us an approval rate of 97,83%. I am more than happy with the result. :smiley: :partying_face: :tada:

However, the proposal process page also states, “all suggestions should be taken into account before a proposal is approved or rejected”. So here is a summery of the comments that where made while voting:

  1. @riiga, approving: “Good proposal to unify tagging”
  2. @Warin61, opposing: “The definition is too restrictive. Certain SES units primarily exist to responed to road accidents. Possibly a secondary tag disaster_response=* to detail the disasters catered to?”
  3. @Polarbear, approving: “and thanks Os-emmer to continue the work here.”
  4. @gendy54, approving: “Why limit it to non-military stations? In France, these are military stations and this tag fits the situation well. The operator tag can be used to distinguish between cases.”
  5. @chris66, abstaining: “I’m fine with the existing tags”
  6. @SomeoneElse, abstaining: “Whilst it might make sense for Australia or other places that have this infrastructure, we’ll no doubt see these “local” tags appear in error elsewhere, like the previous attempt did at
  7. @DnaX, approving: “Very useful also for the Italian “Protezione Civile” (see wiki:en)”

Here are my comments on the critics with some questions:
→ 2. Finding the fine line between too restrictive and too loose is difficult. As my knowlege about the SES is very limited, it is hard for me to imagine how such a station looks like. A car crash is more or less an antrophogenic disaster. @Warin61 Are these stations completly focused on raod accidents? Or are the members of such stations also in service in other disasters like storms or blackouts?
→ 4. The limitation to non-military stations was motivated by the thought that otherwise in a lot of countrys every military base would need to be labeled emergency=disaster_response as soldiers are in peace times often used for tasks like filling sand bags in floods. The US-National Guard was sugested to be included into the proposal, but as they are an armed force focused on weapon-using-situations we decided to not include them. I think during the disussion we had noone speaking about the situation in France so we may have overseen something. Can you @gendy54 explain a little bit about the French military bases you mean? Are they purly existing to help in not-war-disasters? Are the members armed? What tools/vehicles do they use?
→ 5. I understand that deprcating existing schemes is always a challenge. But in my view, the one time “pain” of change is better than keeping the different tags with a very simmilar meaning that evolved in different countrys.
→ 6. I am not sure if I understand your @SomeoneElse comment correctly. Are you commenting to tell that you see a high risk of missuse of emergency=disaster_response? If yes, why exactly?

Even though we reached an astonishing 97,83% of approval, I would like to not just set the status to “approved” now. My plan is:

  1. Hear some other oppinins on these comments that where given during vote.
  2. Learn from these oppinions what and what not to exactly clarify in the wiki.
  3. Edit the wiki pages as described here.
  4. Contact data consumers that could be affected by this proposal about the changes made to prevent anything from breaking unexpectetly. I started a list, feel free to expand it.
  5. Start editing according to new scheme. I am already planing a mass edit for the “Ortsverbände” (local stations) of the German THW.

Sorry for writing so much. Thank you to @Polarbear for initiating the proposal over 3 years ago, thank you to @Fizzie41 for creating this thread to advertise the proposal and thank you to everyone who participated by commenting, voting or helping during the proposal process in any way.


High risk of misuse - no. Risk of misuse, yes.

Ok, that risk exists with every key/value. With a clear structured and well formulated wiki page that gets control read by multiple people we can minimise this risk.

The national guard is basically serves as axillary to its military branch. Meaning most troops don’t tend to see combat unless there is a particular skill set. Their primary purpose it to assist their home state with security and disasters. This is major distinction between the larger armed forces.

I would suggest only tag national guard bases since regular military bases would not have the specialized and often heavy equipment use in emergencies. They will also have actual training in handling disasters common to the area. The nat I wouldn’t be surprised if thwould have many of the vehicles and equipment designed for local emergencies.

There waa a large number of medical personnel that were involved in COVID related activities such as running testing center and giving vaccinations along with assisting overworked hospitals.

Below are some links explaining more about the emergency services they provide:

We had this topic several times already. Just search for “National Guard” in this thread to find it. To my best knowlege, the US National Guard is an armed military force that also responds to disasters, like a lot of armys around the world do. It may be, that the US National Guard has a comparable high percentage of disaster-response missions compared to ther military services. But they still look very different to the German THW and the Australian SES in what they do. So combining these in one tag is not desirable. The proposal includes the definition starting with:

emergency=disaster_response applies to a station of a non-military organisation that …

and there was a 97,83% approval rate among 46 voters for this. So I see a high consensus on that.

I had a look into the wiki and did an overpass query for "name"~"national guard". Most of the query hits are located in the USA. landuse=military and military=office seems to be the most widly used tagging scheme. I can’t find a more detailed tagging scheme documented in the wiki.

I understand your desire for having a more detailed tagging scheme for the US National Guard. But this proposal does not fit.

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As there where no major obstacles during post-voting discussion, I set the status of the proposal to approved. I reworked the wiki page to fit the newly approved scheme. Please check the page and give some feedback especailly about these questions:

  1. Does the page match the proposal?
  2. Is it is well structured and understandable?
  3. Is any information missing?
  4. Should any information be removed?
  5. Do you have a well fitting picture that simbolizes a station of the German THW, the Australian SES and other similar organisations? I for now choose a drone pictrue showing an office-styled builing and a truck garage of the German THW.
  6. Are there any typos/misstranslations/bad formulations in the text? As a not native English speaker I may have missed something obvious.

I am not sure how to interpret the non-existence of feedback. Is the wiki page so good that you have nothing to criticise? Is it so bad that you do not even know where to start with criticism?

I would be very thankfull if someone could check the wiki page below and give some feedback as described in my last post.

Seems good to me. Not big walls of texts, understandable, pretty much what was mentioned in the proposal.

Probably that no-one cares enough to read it and comment?

People are busy, and providing feedback on a wiki page isn’t likely one of the “fun” things that they do from choice.

If there is a problem with it (for example, people misinterpret it and tag things incorrectly as a result) I’m sure they’ll comment then.

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I think it’s fine. I’d add the “this is for a specific type of organisation that exists in some countries but not in others” warning, and also the example organisations that the proposal said should be tagged this way (THW, SES) with links to their Wikipedia pages. This should help people understand what it’s for and what it isn’t for.

Thanks for the response!

I understand that. But it is very important to check writings by different people to ensure high quality.

I added:

Be aware that not every facility that is involved in disasters or emergency situations should be using this tag. See Emergency facilities and amenities for mapping of other emergency related objects. It is possible that there are countrys where no station fitting this tag exist.

Does that sound good?

I also thought about listing example organisations, maybe even with a more detailed approach. We could add something like this:

name=Ortsverband Idstein (local station in the city of Idstein)
operator=Bundesanstalt Technisches Hilfswerk

One argument against listing examples is that such a list can never be complete and not finding your organisation on such a list could lead to the believing that the tag does not fit. I am not sure wheather to add examples or not. What do others think?

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No, I think it’s pretty good as it stands (Which I guess is a natural thing for me to say! :smiley:)

From here on in, it’s going to simply be a matter of people starting to actually use it, then realising that it should also say “xxxxx”, or that “yyyyyy” isn’t quite right, so making changes.

I agree. I removed the “under construciton” template from the wiki page. If we feel the need to list examples we can do this later. The wiki-page now looks like this.

I started contacting the data consumers listed here to make sure they know about the change.

@SomeoneElse according to taginfo you seem to be using emergency=ses_station for 2 projects. As you have already been involved in the discussion I assume you are informed about the appoval and the consequences in data change.

I added support for it because there is one in Ireland - arguably it’s mistagged, and arguably it isn’t. It sounds like a volunteer local organiaation, not part of a national service.

If the “new tagging” pops up in UK or IE in any numbers I might add support for it (“pull requests welcome” of course).

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