Should building=pavilion be renamed or deprecated?

As mentioned in this discussion, the word “pavilion” can have many different meanings. The tag building=pavilion is used, according to wiki, for sports pavilions with changing rooms and showers. But it seems that this is not the most common meaning of the word. Do you think it might make sense to create a new tag building=sports_pavilion and change the meaning of the old tag to something different? Or should we deprecate building=pavilion and create less ambiguous tags for the different meanings?


It’s a bit of an unfortunate tag but the current Wiki page does reflect the British English usage (which is what we use in OSM), even if it has different meanings elsewhere in the world.

I agree, building=sports_pavilion would probably have been the better tag. It is more specific and better understood globally but this is one of those tags that has grown organically rather than through a proposal.

This topic has been around for years and the tag is being used more and more, so a rename/deprecation seems unlikely at this point.


May I introduce you to automated edits? On a rainy day it takes 3 minutes to retag all of these buildings.

Does that include the length of the block you’ll get from the DWG for doing that (again) :slight_smile:


Then it will take 3 minutes and 2 days instead.

… and the data will be reverted to the status quo ante, as well.

Not if we can agree that building=sports_pavilion is a better tag.

as the issue is the suspicion that the tag was not used for the same kind of feature, mechanical retagging would not solve it

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I disagree. It’s perfectly possible to query building=pavilion in or near sports centres and to retag them to building=sports_pavilion. I just tried a global query with out count to get an idea of how many of these buildings could reasonably be retagged, but of course that timed out.

There’s a fundamental problem with using pavilion as a tag value that it means many different things in English (let alone other languages). Just some examples:

  • Part of a building, typically a large country house or palace:

Paris - Palais du Louvre - Pavillon de l’Horloge 001
Thesupermat, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Sports pavilion. A building housing facilities for a sports club (and particularly cricket). The first example is a very large one:

Lord's PavilionPaul Getty's Pavilion - - 3070218

  • Leisure facility. A leisure facility by the seaside, including some shelter:

De La Warr Pavilion, September 2021
YCDI2020, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Trade & International Fair buildings. Buildings at international fairs are often described as pavilions. Most are designed to be dismantled after use, although some continue in use for many years.

Industrial Pavilion, Brisbane Exhibition Grounds, 01

  • Fancy tents. A kind of (medieval) tent, think Monty Python & the Holy Grail. You can buy hand-made ones even now. Several examples here:

The Field of the Cloth of Gold


My understand for pavilion, just like most of the world, is the open building, usually found in parks. Similar meaning witk “kiosk”. I agree with the designated building=sports_pavilion and chaning the meaning of the main tag, even if that would mean to change building=pavilion features which were mapped for the sport ones.

Now we only need a tag for each of them. :innocent:

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I have generally thought that a pavilion describes a free standing (non-residential? Are there garden pavilions that would qualify? Likely non-industrial as well) building, it can be small or big (e.g. at expos like it was mentioned). I think it also is about the design (a pavilion has likely emphasis on its design, the term suggests it is “good looking” .

No idea about sports pavilions, maybe you need to add the “sports” part in order to be unambiguous? They seem to share with the garden pavilions that they are outbuildings, like hunting pavilions or lust pavilions (quite frank, different times :wink: ), maybe this is also where the leisure residence is borrowing from and this is a common property?

The one that is a building part cannot be tagged as “building=pavilion” as it is only a part of a building, hence no conflict.

Because the term can mean many different things, it is still probably best to avoid building=pavilion all together and to retag those that apply to sports_pavilion or other tags. building=garden_pavilion? exhibition_pavilion or exposition_pavilion? hunting_lodge (is this BE?), etc.

Cheers Martin

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Depending on the available alternative values, I agree aswell. Or we could leave building=pavilion as is and add pavilion=* for subvalues :stuck_out_tongue:

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Or we could leave building=pavilion as is and add pavilion=* for subvalues

this wouldn‘t make terribly sense, as these seem to be quite different features and we didn‘t find something that actually ties them together.

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Oh no, please. That would look as if all the types that @SK53 listed would be somehow related to each other.


In general I would avoid pavilion on its own for any building/shelter/building part: usage is just too variable, i.e., it will be best to progressively changes tags to something which disambiguates them, probably by adding “xxx_” as is suggested for sports_pavilion. Sub-typing doesn’t help because the range of things are different rather than objects of a single class.

In the UK if you talk about pavilion it will nearly always be taken to mean a sports pavilion (and perhaps, by default, a cricket pavilion). Obviously German usage is different (just as kiosk does not mean a specific kind of shop in EN-GB).

Note also these days the usual meaning of gazebo in EN-GB is a sideless portable tent, and typically not something which would be mapped.


Note also these days the usual meaning of gazebo in EN-GB is a sideless portable tent, and typically not something which would be mapped.

same in Italy, the kind that are used for example in political campaigning