Tagging for outdoor education centres

amenity=training has had a rollercoaster of a life story. Indeed, globally there are 1,609 amenity=training without training=*, but there are also 964 training=* without amenity=training. Many of the latter were tagged during the period when both amenity=training and training=* were documented as rejected tagging proposals, making it attractive to combine training=* with other primary feature tags like amenity=school.

I would be inclined to tag, say, a naturalist training academy as amenity=training, but I get the impression that the places in question aren’t narrowly focused on acquiring skills.


Also, one might consider how would outdoor team building facilities fit into this?

Those are often (in my experience) more closely related to landuse=recreation_ground / tourism=picnic_site with fee=yes then to education-related things; yet same locations here often (if not always) accommodate not only such team-building recreational activities, but also have a mid-sized amenity=events_venue / amenity=conference_centre which is available for customers to organize theoretical education parts (it is often combined, e.g. in the morning there are job-related lectures/presentations, in the evenings there are recreational team building activities outside, as well as bbq / catering / drinks)

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See, I think Matija has got it: the previous post’s many examples shows that what appears at first blush can be semantically denoted by a single tag likely should get many different tags for the many different “things” that this apparently simple (but isn’t) concept encompasses.

Without wanting to expand too far outside the immediate context of the thread (or to hijack it), I believe this happens a lot in OSM. It can be a difficult problem, what librarians, data scientists (and in a more local context, “tagging geeks”) might call “the difficulty of accurate ontologies.” Our consensus methodologies can make this even more difficult (realistically, taking a relatively long time). It DOES start with good dialog / discussion, like this.

And now back to our discussion of “outdoor education centers” (and their myriad flavors).


We have standardly used amenity for various categories of education and general activities associated with scholarship etc. The key is nothing like as overworked as man_made, ‘office’ or even historic, and more obvious candidates exist such as bar/pub/cafe etc., which could be moved to a hospitality key (although the reason this never happened is that hotels belong there too, and then it’s not possible to map hotels with restaurants as originally intended). As stated these sites fulfill a range of purposes, often simultaneously: education, professional training, fun, scholarly endeavour, personal development etc. Pushing everything into a top level key still means that another key-tag combination would need to be created, so I’m not totally convinced by this argument.

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This seems to me a case of “perfect being the enemy of the good”. We currently have no satisfactory way of mapping them, but we should hold off until we’ve documented every side case.

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I certainly see your point @SK53, though I advocate a “take a middle road” approach. This discussion is good. I don’t want to dampen or fully discourage what should always be “as accurate as possible” tagging, but on the other hand, thinking about how vastly-encompassing a semantic realm is (like this one) can go a long way to helping to select accurate, helpful, descriptive, widely-community-agreeable tags. Part of that happens as the community discusses, part of that happens between our ears as we think about selecting an appropriate tag. Widening one’s perspective helps, it doesn’t hinder this.

I’m proponent of “do your best-effort guess for closest match and move on”. In the particular case of “Camp Kernow” the @Casey_boy brings up, I’d probably tag it with something like:

  • leisure=summer_camp
  • fee=yes
  • access=customers
  • reservation=required
  • website=https://campkernow.org.uk/
  • description=off-grid environmental adventure centre dedicated to reconnecting and engaging children from across the world with the natural environment and inspiring them to live more sustainably (or whatever: this is copy/paste from website just for demonstration purposes)
  • wikimedia_commons=* for picture etc.
  • fixme=how to best tag this outdoor education centre? See https://community.openstreetmap.org/t/tagging-for-outdoor-education-centres/98422

and move on. Later, when there are quite a few more tagged like that, one can revisit the thread and see if in this new set of examples some subcategories have emerged which would warrant some more precise tags.

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My concern with this tag is that, taken at face value, it is a pretty bad descriptor for these types of places. They aren’t necessarily restricted to summer and they aren’t necessarily camps.

I also think a proper education centre is different from leisure type place such as summer camps, which seem more focussed on providing fun ways of keeping kids entertained over the summer whilst parents still need to work!

It’s not a term we really use in British English, seems more of an Americanism, so maybe I’m a little off base.


Sure, not disputing that. The main point of that post was however:

Whether you think the closest match is leisure=summer_camp or club=scout or amenity=training or amenity=conference_centre or landuse=recreation_ground (or something else) is of lesser importance – just pick one.

Any of them is better than no tag at all; and all the other tags I’ve mentioned (especially description, website and fixme; but others too) are the most important ones to clarify what it actually is in such unclear cases.

And at some point in the future when we have few dozen of them tagged with such fixme, they can be analyzed and sorted into subgroups which may then be tagged differently / additionally. But don’t get paralyzed just because there is no obvious perfectly matching solution (as quite often there won’t be!)

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@Matija_Nalis’ suggestion (above) is an excellent, tried-and-true solution (somewhat stopgap, but “good” rather than “waiting for perfect, and so left undone”) to this dilemma.

A lot of us have made our points in this thread (including me), but that one should “stick pretty hard” (be applied liberally and strongly) as a good approach / good solution (for now) to this.

It can be a fixme=* tag, a note=* tag, or a description=* tag, but it should be one of those that explains there might be something lacking, or that the tag(s) on this datum could use some sharpening. But that’s how we do things, and it seems to be working. There are lot of examples of tagging in OSM where we start with a version 1 and it becomes a version 2 (or more). It’s OK!

No - there’s no reason to shoe-horn this into an existing tag if it really doesn’t fit into an existing tag.

Imagine that no-one had ever tagged camel, would we really try and think of it as a type of horse?

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Agree with Andy.

Sure, a v1 tag is better than no tag, but I don’t think we should mis-tag something just because that tag already exists. Otherwise we could end up embedding a usage that doesn’t really match the tag.

I just stumbled across a 2016 thread on the Talk-GB mailing list that briefly discusses these places. The suggestion was also amenity=outdoor_education_centre - so I’ll go with that and suggest others do too (at least until something better comes along!).


I bet that some of this taginfo list showing “name=Blah Outdoor Education Centre” could be retagged, if someone was familiar with the specific examples. Some, like this one, have no main tag at all currently.

well, if you feel it is best course of action, sure - ATYL. But please, first create a page on wiki for it documenting:

  • explicitly listing what features it must have to be tagged as such (e.g. must have a building dedicated to theoretical learning, as well as obligatory practical learning outside related to subjects xxxx or yyyy)
  • explicitly listing what feature it may have in addition (and how they should be tagged, if you know)(e.g. might have sports equipment for teambuilding work, bbq etc.) or which are irrelevant (i.e. if it does not matter what subject is being tought, as long as it happen outside of the building - e.g. is it OK if this outdoor education center is dedicated only to teach how to fish? or how to shoot gun? or how to survive in wilderness? or how to paint the nature?)
  • explicitly listing what features it must not have, i.e. which would disqualify it from this tag but may make it fit other one (e.g. if it only works in summer for kids, it might be leisure=summer_camp instead; or if has no in-building theoretical learning first but is for fun, team building and recreation only it is not for this tag; or if disqualifies if one may book for one day or weekend only, as one must apply for at least 1-4 weeks to complete even a simplest course etc.)
  • add tags mentioned here under “See also”.

Otherwise, if not documented (or too vaguely documented), it will simply compound the problem, as other people might have completely different understanding of what that tag means, and map it accordingly, and get angry when you map something completely different by it :crying_cat_face:

Especially as I didn’t see clarifications on this question, I’m not at all sure if my understanding of “outdoor education centre” and yours understanding of it have much in common.

Well I’m certainly not advocating deliberate mistagging, but my reading of that tag seem to be very close to the definition wanted here, main difference being that they might operate outside of the summer
(and complaint that the term is Americanism). Looking at wikipedia definition of them many seem to be much more than “keeping kids entertained while parents still need to work” as @Casey_boy seems to percieve them, and instead focus on education and kids learning new skills in various fields, especially outside.

P.S. While not a requirement, I feel it would also benefit the tag greatly if you’d decided to follow proposal process for that tag instead of ATYL, as it would significantly increase the chance the tag will remain usable and maybe even be used by renderers and other data consumers. But that requires somewhat more effort.

(P.P.S. here I’d usually offer help for those who have not edited OSM wiki before, but it seems there is no need in this case)

That might do for that example, but it clearly won’t wash for those I’m most interested in. These are the field study and outward bound types, the former of which I have stayed at and visited (for leisure, work, study and as a lecturer).

Also nearly all the ones for kids in the UK are not summer/holiday camps which don’t really exist here (school holidays are too short).

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