Retagging the Australian SES'es with emergency=disaster_response

Recently a new tag got approved: emergency=disaster_response
That proposal deprecated emergency=ses_station, that is currently used nearly 250x in Australia. While already some of the State Emergency Service Stations are retagged with emergency=disaster_response, especially in New South Wales and Queensland the old emergency=ses_station is still in use.

During the creation of the proposal of emergency=disaster_response it was argued that maybe not all of the SES-Stations should be tagged as emergency=disaster_response because there seem to be some stations that are to specialised. With my limited knowlege about the Australian SES’es I do not know if that is true. It was also argued against this.

Is there someone who has detailed knowlege about the Australian SES’es? I would like to know:

  1. Are there SES-facilitys that are completly different from a “normal” station? Something like a logistic warehouse, an administrative office or a school/academy to educate the members? (How) are they mapped at the moment?
  2. Do all stations of the SES’es match the definition from the wiki? (see below)
  3. What are the correct names of the 6 (?) independent Australian SES’es? For example for New South wales, it is sometimes operator="NSW State Emergency Service" and in very rare cases operator="New South Wales State Emergency Service". I can’t find an official source stating the exact name of the organisation, but the wiki suggests to not abbroviate anything if it can be spelled out. I asked a similar question about the German version of the SES, the THW, in the German forum.

My goal is to make the sata about the Australian SES’es consistent and correct. Eighter with a mass edit or with manual edits, depending on what is possible/sensfull.

emergency=disaster_response applies to a station of a non-military organisation that has the main objective to help the civil population during and after natural or anthropogenic disasters by working in the affected area but does not have firefighting or medical service as their main competence. The place is used for storing and repairing equipment (hand tools, trucks, boats, safety gear, etc…), training the members (volunteers or paid ones) and doing administrative tasks. It is the place where the members start a mission after being alerted to an incident.

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.

Australian Tagging Guidelines/Australian features - OpenStreetMap Wiki includes the suggested operator tagging for each of the State and Territory organisations within Australia.

While we do generally avoid abbreviations for the name, I think it’s okay to shorten it like ‘NSW State Emergency Service’, this matches how it’s spelled out at Especially since we also suggest to add operator:wikidata which provides a more machine readable reference to the actual operator entity.

Way: ‪State SES‬ (‪138390187‬) | OpenStreetMap is the NSW SES Headquarters and functions as the main administrative office, and is tagged as office=government + government=emergency.

I’ve also added these as a PR to the Name Suggestion Index add operators/emergency/disaster_response for AU by andrewharvey · Pull Request #9221 · osmlab/name-suggestion-index · GitHub, please any feedback appreciated.

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While there undoubtedly will be one, I don’t think there’s a single common usage?

e.g. even their website is SES at NSW Gov, but the page refers to both NSW SES & also NSW State Emergency Service, while their copyright page says “© State of New South Wales (NSW State Emergency Service)”

Same for Queensland, either SES or State Emergency Service: (Oh, & ignore what it says there as being part of QFES - July this year, SES comes under control of Police & QFES will become Qld Fire Department (or maybe Service?))

Hi Andrew,

Should this line

“locationSet”: {“include”: [“au-tas”]},

actually be

“locationSet”: {“include”: [“au-tas.geojson”]},


Hi Phil, you have sharp eyes, but surprisingly it shouldn’t, see Apparently Tasmania has it’s own entry in GitHub - rapideditor/country-coder: 📍➡️ 🇩🇰 Convert longitude-latitude pairs to ISO 3166-1 codes quickly and locally, someone must really want you guys to be a different country.

Some folks like to think we are a “little bit special” down here but I am not sure that we deserve any special treatment :rofl:

Many thanks for the explanation. I will crawl back under my log…

I didn’t know that list, thanks for linking.

I asked the same question about the abbroviation about the German Technisches Hilfswerk in this German thread. On the surface finding the name of an organisation seems very easy. But if you look closer, you find something like this:

(source: THW)

“Bundesanstalt” means “federal agency”. Within a few centimeters of screen the offical website states 3 different versions of the name.

De-facto there seems to be consens on abbroviating the state name and spelling out the “State Emergency Service” in Australia. And since it is even documented in the wiki I could live with that, even when it is not my most favourite version.

Thanks fo doing so. :+1:
Like said, we are currently discussing some details about how to map different facilitys of the German THW. Once we have consensus on that I’d like to iniciate the same for the German THW.

Yeah so no different to here. So long as we have the operator:wikidata entry instead, then the exact format of the operator is less important. It would still be a good idea to standardise this in Germany like what we’ve tried to do here.

I would like to come back to one of myoriginal questions:

To find the relevant SES-Stations we can use this filter (overpass turbo):

operator=something with "SES" or "State Emergency Service"
name=something with "SES" or "State Emergency Service"
located in Australia

This finds 202 objects using emergency=ses_station in Australia. Most of them are in NSW and Victoria. Can someone with actual knowlege about the SES’es confirm that all of these stations should be retagged with emergency=disaster_response?

Mostly yes, assuming the original emergency=ses_station was correct.

I noticed that a lot of the SES-stations in NSW got edited by you @Warin61 in the last months. Do you have an overview about the situation? Do you know if the assumption that emergency=ses_station was used correctly in Australia in the past is sensible? Do we have a chance for a mass edit or do we need to manually check every object?

Without knowing how he mapped them, I would say that yes, they were done correctly

A mass edit should work for the basic SES > disaster_response change, but manually checking would be nice to update other details as required.

There are also a lot more stations that still need to be added!

If that is the case a mass edit for emergency=ses_stationemergency=disaster_response would be possbile.

Is there a (high quality) list with all SES-stations that is available under a compatible license? That would make it very easy to update existing stations and add missing ones.

Not that I’m aware of unfortunately :cry:, but Wiki says “NSW SES’s 240+ units” & for Qld : “337 QSES Groups in Queensland”!

May have to be some letters to all of the various State Headquarters asking if they can share some info with us?

Is there anyone with conections/contacts to the SES’es who could try to get a list with all Locations of SES-Stations in Australia? Perfect would be a table including coordinates and addresses.

If we do not get such a list, we could maybe just mass edit all the usages of emergency=ses_station for the Australian SES’es to emergency=disaster_response because it would not make the data less accurate. We would not remove any missuse but also not introduce new missuse. I am not sure if this argumentation is good enough to propose a mass edit.

I wouldn’t be holding my breath for that data under terms we can use.

I would be okay with a mass edit, after all the new tag was created to replace the Australian specific ses_station.

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I proposed a mass edit to remove emergency=ses_station and apply emergency=disaster_response to objects of the Australian SES’es. Please leave an approving or opposing comment in the seperate thread:

Independently from my proposed mass edit to change emergency=ses_station to emergency=disaster_response I would like to move forward with a general clean up and addition of the Australian SES-facilitys. I found this database from the Digital Atlas of Australia:

It includes nearly 4500 emergency facilitys in Australia as seen as blue dots on this map:

If I get it right it is a mixture of SES-stations and fire stations.

The problem I see: It is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 whitch is not completly compatible to OSM’s ODbL. In the wiki there is an Australian Import Catalogue listing imports under CC-BY. Is there any general agreement that we can use data from the Australian Government in OSM?

This is the list of our currently approved sources: Australian Data Sources - OpenStreetMap Wiki, which includes, which should be OK to import?

Appears no-one has ever actually done it all though.