Tagging a coffee shop that doesn't allow laptops

Is there a convention for tagging a coffee shop that doesn’t allow laptops? This is quite common for cafés in London, particularly on weekends


I don’t think so. Are only laptops not allowed? I suppose books are still okay? What about Kindles or iPads? The plethora of things that could be banned in various stores’ premises makes me think this hasn’t been suggested yet as a tagging convention.

It would definitely be useful to have this information on the map, although, as seav said, there are likely issues with the fact that each business could have different rules. I haven’t seen any sort of tagging for it.

While I haven’t seen any cafés that ban laptops yet, I’ve definitely seen cafés that have been filled by people on laptops! Is this sort of rule usually posted (e.g.) on the door?

Why not use description for this?

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I’ve only ever seen signs indicating laptops are not allowed. This is a growing trend in the UK, so much so that the Guardian wrote an article on it: No laptops allowed – the cafes bringing back the art of conviviality | Society | The Guardian

@TwistedSnake it varies, sometimes the sign is posted on the door and applies to the whole space. Other times it might apply to specific tables that have a sign on them.

@Peter_Elderson a description would suffice, though having a proper tag that lets you set conditional days or hours would be handy if you wanted to search for a café that both allows laptops and has wi-fi.


Sam Smiths’ pubs have similar (but covering more things) rules - see this example (currently not open, but the details are still there). I originally mapped that here with the prohibitions as per access tags (“games_console=no”) but another mapper objected. Description tags are great for ensuring that information doesn’t get lost, but if “no laptops in coffee shops” is becoming a thing then it makes sense to have a specific OSM tag for it.

You could try searching taginfo for previously used values, but I’ve had a look and can’t see anything obvious. Maybe someone will suggest something that has been used other than description.

It’s certainly OK to “just make a tag up”, with the obvious caveat that you don’t want to use something that is already used for someone else.

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I would use the description key for that. However, other possibilities can be explored. For example, it is common to tag access restrictions for dogs with dog=yes/no. A similar tagging scheme could be followed for laptops and then use laptop=yes/no.

Some mappers might get confused and think that you can’t access the coffee shop if you’re a laptop, although I think it unlikely :smiley: In any case, if you wish to keep it easy, use the description key for that.

“No handheld devices” - Does that include phones?

Yes. See “the brewery became further notorious” on the wikipedia article here.

Maybe access=amish_only ? (if I understood the idea / doctrine sufficiently?)

But I would consider any new tagging only if there is reasonable percentage of them (at least 0.1%, say? or 0.01% if exceptionally large main-tag base?) - otherwise I’d stick with description=* – lest we end up with zillions of random tags used only a dozen times wordwide (which surely would not attract enough support in data consumers, and would be a nightmare even to document, much less expect any mapper to actually find and use them, instead of inventing their own undocumented synonym)

Dibs on no_laptop=yes|no|seasonal|intermittent|dismount and I am not afraid to document it thoroughly!

Firstly, I’d advise against using tags leading to double negatives, as they are linguistically problematic (e.g. no_laptop=no in example above).

laptop=* (without leading no_) might be better for that particular case, but note my post above asking how many such coffee shops there are in percentage? If too low, that would actually be counterproductive (as no data consumer would even show such tags, as opposed to description=*).

And what to do if they do not accept tablets either, would they get (and you document) tablet=no too? And if no mobile phones allowed either (as indicated above)? mobile_phone=no? phablet=no? ebook_reader=no? electronic_translation_device=no? walkman (That is like mp3 player for you newer generations) with earphones? Or more global electronics=no? Would be need heading_aid=yes (or pacemaker=yes) to override that?

And what would no mean exactly:

  • you may not use it visibly (but e.g. may go to toilet to quickly check important message), or
  • you may not use it at all under any circumstances (but is ok to have phone on yourself, so you can turn it on when you leave), or
  • that it is even against the rules to even have bring such device inside, even if completely off and stored e.g. in luggage (e.g. as phones in high security areas).
  • Or that you may have it, but some functionality must be disabled (RF frequency emitters as in airplanes, or bright light / camera flash as in bat cave, or sound as in theaters, or anything with camera in some embassies… etc.)

So, I’d just go with freeform description=* (at least until usage grows in > 0.1% range of all coffee shops having rules against it, and rules get at least somewhat standardized).

So currently you could do:

  • description=You may not use ANY electronic devices like laptops, mobile phones, etc. at all, but are allowed to carry them if they are turned completely off , or

  • description=Bringing in ANY electronic device, even if turned off, is strictly forbidden and will result in criminal prosecution. Only exceptions are hearing aids and pacemakers, or

  • description=You may not use laptops or similar for work. Quick checkups of important messages are permitted. However if you use any electronic device for longer than 5 minutes at the time, you will be asked to leave.

Probably with at least access=permissive to indicate there might be restrictions.

Trying to have separate tags to convey such information would be counterproductive, even if excessively well thought-out and documented tagging schema.