Tagging for outdoor education centres

Hi all,

Any suggestions on a tagging scheme for outdoor education centres? For example, I stumbled upon “Camp Kernow” (OSM, website).

These are quite common in the UK (quick Google search) and I’m sure are a familiar concept elsewhere. Normally aimed at school children, often catering to school visits, they provide activities such as team working, orienteering, wildlife studies etc. Some may be day-only whilst others may offer overnight boarding.

amenity=school seems wrong to me as does amenity=training based on the current documented values.

I did see a proposal for amenity=education_centre but this is abandoned and is not particularly well documented what it was intended to represent.


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Sounds somewhat like club=scout to me?

A scout club does outdoor education but more for registered members imho whereas the education centres being the issue here appear to be open for anyone interested. Although there are many around the world apparently there is no specific tag for those.

As these places offer mainly activities for freetime and hobby I think the leisure-key would fit better than amenity but I am sure other mappers will feel the other way round. My suggestion


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The problem with this (at least with the centres I’m familiar with in Australia) is that they’re not open to the general public i.e. “you” can’t just arrive at the front gate & ask to stay for a few days, they’re restricted to use by organised (usually school, but others as well - church, business etc) groups.

& yes, I do use amenity=school for them, although =education_centre or =outdoor_education would also work.

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I can think of a variety of places that fit this description. As in your example, many in the U.S. are styled as camps. But day camps, summer camps, and scout camps are all kinds of camps, and often these places are expansive enough to serve educational, religious, and recreational uses all at once, depending on who rents out various facilities on site. For example, I’ve visited this YMCA-run campground on school field trips, religious retreats, and afternoon canoeing excursions.

I’ve been using tourism=camp_site for pretty much any kind of camp. Even though the one above isn’t mainly for tourism, it seems like an established practice to pair this tag with caravans=no group_only=yes impromptu=no to set expectations. (Yes, it kind of smells of troll tagging, but only the key is a misnomer, not the value.) I haven’t given much thought to the fact that schools often send their students on field trips to these places; that wouldn’t be limited to camps or even outdoors attractions.

An “outdoor education center” could also describe a living museum, heritage farm, or nature center, which would all be tagged very differently.

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I’ve tagged the one example I know as amenity=school but added the name (which means “green classroom”) and the operator (the National Park in which it is located) so it is clear what it is.

leisure=summer_camp (wiki) kind of fits the description. However, only 6 uses in the UK, according to taginfo.

Similar in function but very different in terms of who uses it.

I think both key and value are toll tagging truthfully. I agree with the wiki definition of:

an area, usually divided into a number of pitches, where people can camp overnight using tents, camper vans or caravans (aka RVs or motorhomes)

These outdoor education centres (even if called “camps” in the US) don’t fit that definition.

This is definitely closer but the definition of that tag is too restrictive (i.e. “summer months”). These outdoor education centres tend to run year round (though perhaps not in the deepest depths of winter).


I thought I’d used a tag for these, but apparently not.

In the UK there are at least three types:

  • Centres owned and operated by a single school. Used for education (geography, biology etc), organised extra-curruicular activities (Duke of Edinburgh scheme etc), and some leisure.
  • Outdoor activity centres owned by an education authority with schools booking for activities. These have been under significant commercial pressure, and, for instance the Peak District National Park one was sold to the YHA when they re-located the Castleton Youth Hostel, but Derbyshire retains Whitehall. There may be one or two privately operated: John Ridgeway used to have one in near Cape Wrath.
  • Outwood Bound centres.
  • Field Study centres. Mainly operated by the Field Studies Council, but there are others operated by Wildlife Trusts, National Parks etc. These offer educational courses for schools, universities, amateurs and continuing professional education. Some of these courses require substantial post-graduate levels of education, whereas others, such as Special Spring Moths are aimed at very dedicated amateurs.
  • Newer style centres. I noticed a few of these in Wales and had intended to include them in "seen in my virtual travels. The one at Abernant Lake comes to mind.

This is quite a range from ones dedicated for school children to others with a broad range of courses. The one thing I’m sure of is that these are not schools, nor holiday camps in the French or US senses. Instructors are more likely to have mountaineering than teaching qualifications in the pure outdoor ones.

Other points: they nearly all include hostel style accommodation and meal service. Outdoor centres will have things like climbing walls, archery butts, whereas field study centres will have laboratories and classrooms. Extensive grounds are a must for the range of activities. In the UK many occupied old country houses which were cheap at the end of WWII. All are under significant financial pressure.

Do similar places exist outside the UK? I’m aware of a field study centre in the Ardennes. UCPA, whilst somewhat different, offers a range of activity courses in association with cheapish accommodation. I mapped La Maison des Salines near Carnac as holiday_camp, but this may have a more educational purpose.


Turns out they weren’t getting enough bookings and have converted it to a hostel for seasonal workers (perhaps another discussion). News article from Ouest-France (FR).

You are right, that applies to all of those I know and having said “open to anyone interested” I did not mean you can just pop in for a couple of days. Nevertheless you don’t need to be a club member like for a scout camp - you just have to join one of the groups booking one of the courses offered, and yes, you have to fit into the group which may have limited access.

Just have a look at the quick google search link posted by @Casey_boy in the OP and you will find lots of these OEC all over the world. They all offer a range of outdoor activities, outdoor training, outdoor research and the like mostly for groups of various composition - school children, students, company emplyoees, private associations etc. What they have in common is the description “outdoor education centre”.

I agree to @Casey_boy that these centers are no scout camps, no camp sites and no summer camps and would deserve a tag matching “outdoor education centre”.

These are extremely diverse institutions across the world. They go by many names, can in some cases remain fairly “invisible” to “outsiders” who are not familiar with them or their activities, are sometimes public, but mostly private, have affiliations with religious organizations, cultural communities, civic groups, (sometimes) public institutions and more and range from “distinctly for-profit” to “break-even or operate as a loss” (to their parent organization).

I think because it is relatively rural and beautiful (often covered with redwood forest), in my fairly small county there appear to be dozens of these. These have a wide range from religious communities where people (who may or may not affiliate with that religion) can hike, worship, gather, engage in often-family-oriented sporting activities, these can be oriented towards “corporate team building” with things like ropes courses, climbing walls, zip lining, include rather formal sporting facilities (indoor basketball, outdoor volleyball…) that might also be used by minor leagues or children/non-school sporting groups, these can be used for “conferences” (sometimes with camping / caravan areas for people to stay for days or weeks during good weather), these maybe are part of a youth/teenage “criminal diversion program” (instead of prison, they go to these and learn skills like firefighting and forestry), these maybe are a very outdoor drug counseling program “among the trees and nature” and again, are called by many, many different names. And, I’m only scratching the surface of what’s in my little California county.

Agreeing with @Fizzie41, these are distinctly “outdoor,” contain some element of “education” (maybe for profit, maybe specific sporting skills, maybe religious education, maybe for the entertainment, but also education specifically of children…) and can be called anything from a “centre” to a “conference grounds” to a “camp” (and more).

These are hugely different across cultures / regions / countries and we could endlessly try to categorize or catalog them. While I’m not saying we shouldn’t do that (some intrepid wiki-writer/s could develop some sub-keys and values, I suppose), do know that if the criteria of “outdoor” and “education” and a fairly vast tract (many hectares) of substantially rural, natural-setting outdoorsiness is extant, “you’ve got one of these.”

You used “leisure=outdoor_centre” on https://www.openstreetmap.org/node/2949847055/history .

I did try looking for consistent tagging for these in UK/IE, and didn’t find any. Search for “name” containing “Outdoor” etc. and you’ll find a few :slight_smile:

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Long time ago, and that is or rather was a scout camp, but I think it is open to others now.

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OK, so it seems like there’s general agreement that these are distinct “things” which probably aren’t covered very well by current established tagging.

In terms of a key, seeing as education=* isn’t well established, we’re looking at either leisure or amenity. It seems like education centres tend to fall under amenity.

In terms of a value, the “outdoor” and “education” parts seem most important, so I’d suggest just going with “outdoor_education_centre”?

So: amenity=outdoor_education_centre?

Happy to put this to a proposal but would be good to see if others in this thread are content.


General consensus seems to be to stop putting any more stuff under overused amenity=*.

Given that amenity=training already exists for exactly that purpose, if the existing tags don’t cover your use case, I’d think it would be more prudent (and less contentious) to instead create new value for training=* tag, like e.g. training=outdoor.

(training=outdoor_education_centre would also be needlessly long and repetitive - because everything under amenity=training is some kind of centre about some type of education/training)

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Is it training or… appreciation? :thinking:

Training how to appreciate, perhaps? :smile:

More seriously, the same could be asked about other popular values: training=art, training=sport, training=music

The assumption is that “outdoor education centers” have to do something with education/training (training being education theory put into practice) such as mentioned “team working, orienteering, wildlife studies” etc. Sure, one might also enjoy them (and most people likely would - if they chose it themselves, instead of e.g. being chosen by their parents or parole officers :smile:)

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There remains so much to say here. I’m not sure one tag could cover the myriad of “these sorts of things” even in my little county.

“Outdoor” if it exists, yes. “Education” is a big key. “Centre” doesn’t seem like the right word, as that implies they are “right in the middle of what’s the right place to go for this sort of (activity),” and that isn’t always going to be true. And yes, amenity=* is heavily-loaded now, maybe even overloaded (too late).

I’d encourage exploring into multiple keys. This needs a more exploratory ontology, certainly, and I’m almost positive a single key isn’t going to suffice.

If “amenity” is genuinely the best fit, I wouldn’t worry about that…

I’m not convinced. Also, locally to me, “amenity=training” seems to be one of those modern, “designed by committee” tags that is difficult to consume because the subtags used are inconsistent. 122 in total, 68 without training subtag, covering a wide variety of different places.