Tagging healthcare:speciality=* inside a hospital

Hey, I would suggest addressing this with a revision in general, if necessary. After my previously failed Healthcare 1.1, I had planned to make another attempt, where I wanted to take up the justified criticism between amenity= and healthcare= and choose the tags differently accordingly. Also to include a department-like. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time until here. Perhaps this can be solved together? I would be pleased :slight_smile:

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I added the Existing tagging paragraph with some history.

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I’m not quite sure what’s your suggestion. To merge this proposal with the Healthcare 1.1 proposal?

Is it possible that healthcare=department + amenity=clinic would be correct tagging?

Wait, is healthcare=department intended to be taggable for parts of amenity=doctors? Because name gives hint that it could be.

That sounds wrong to me, but maybe someone could make sense of it. It definitely isn’t intuitive what that would mean.

It can be, but I never thought of amenity=doctors as something so big it can have departments. It would be a clinic at that point, no?

To merge this with a revised healthcare 1.1 proposal

I found a tag health_facility:type=department

This was a part of the Healthcare 2.0 proposal which was abandoned. Do we ignore this? In the wiki I added that this proposal would deprecate this tag.

I guess it’s time for Request For Comments on the Tagging list?

This sounds like it could be mapped with some sort of healthcare=campus or landuse=healthcare tag. It probably doesn’t make sense to address larger-than-hospital mapping in the same proposal as this smaller-than-hospital tag, but maybe someone sees a way to squeeze it in.

Hi everyone!

We had a short discussion about how to tag departments of hospitals and clinics a year ago:

Several people (me included) spoke in favor of a tagging scheme that could also be used for other parts, such as faculties, departments and institutes of a university, parts of a botanical garden, or named parts of a lake. Thorsten had the idea to generalize the building:part pattern. Because some objects can be divided into more than one way, i suggest the following tagging scheme:

<value of main tag>:<division>=<part type>

If there’s only one <part type> or if there’s already another tag that describes it (like healthcare:speciality), <part type> could simply be yes.


  • hospital:department=yes + healthcare:speciality=nephrology
  • clinic:department=yes + healthcare:speciality=neurology
  • university:faculty=natural_sciences
  • university:department=physics
  • university:institute=astronomy
  • garden:part=alpinarium
  • lake:part=yes + name=Upper Lake

There is already https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:faculty for University faculties, & also https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:department, which says can be used for either Universities or Department Stores.

Could probably also be used for hospitals?

It is better to use new keys, than to change the meaning of already used and documented keys.

(now, if those keys were to follow Proposal process instead of ATYL, that issue might’ve been spotted and they could’ve indeed be made more generic and thus more useful, as you correctly note. Alas, it is too late for that now (i.e. without investing much more effort to contact current editors and data users, and convincing them to support wider use, such ad-hoc changing of tag meaning would likely break things and make people unhappy, so is best avoided).

While there is no problem with mentioning this use case in healthcase 1.1 proposal too; I feel that small proposal which fulfill simple and more easily defensible niche for which no alternatives exists (like this one for healthcare=department), has a much better chance of being approved than lump-sum proposals like healthcare 1.1 (which would likely step on many people toes, because, if nothing else, it deprecates things: which means it forces people to put in extra work or their already working stuff will break, and people tend not to like that).

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& that applies to a lot of things! :thinking: :crazy_face:

People should not be amenities. In most situations they are considered just part of the staff. This especially true for large hospital departments. A large number may only there on a temporary basis. In this case it only makes sense to list the doctors in charge, along the specialties that are normally associated with department.

For smaller medical entities, doctor are either part owners of is practice group or atleast have an office a physical office

I do not think that the idea is to identify “doctors” with “amenities”. The existing tag amenity=doctors is badly named, as it is not referring to “doctors” (plural of “doctor”) but instead to “doctor’s office”, what is depending on the county often called doctor’s surgery (in UK), family physician office or similar.

They are often single doctor’s office, which you would visit for annual checkup or to get recommendations/appointments for specialists checks in case of health problems, etc.

Thus it would not make much sense to split single-doctor office into multiple “healthcare departments”, as there is usually not much to split anyway.

The situation of university units is very complicated and non-uniform. The terminology of school, faculty, department, programme, centre, institute, etc can all exist in different order.
Hospitals are simpler. It could be solved alone first. Although there may still be the case for university teaching or research hospital being integrated with the university organizational structure, meaning they can be checked for incompatibility.

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Yes, not only universities (you forgot college, academic senate, sports_centre…) are complex, hospitals can be less or more complex. OSM’s ontologies (tagging schemes, methods of “categorization” and sometimes hierarchy) start out ad hoc and then become de facto in OSM (and renderers, routers, text-to-speech parsers…) after a time. Then, sometimes, we wish to really get fancy and really craft these into complex schemes (like how public_transport:version=1 became =2).

Developing new tagging scheme(s) for “hospitals” (healthcare, et al) is a large undertaking, but OSM can do so, we’ve done similar things before and this seems like a natural evolution. Though, if you’re going to take a big bite, please be prepared for the community to chew, (and chew, and chew). It can be done, it can take a lot of typing, words, consensus and time.

If i understand surgery correctly as the room where actual examination occurs (or dentists chair) that is where would most like encounter a patient. It is also likely that the office used by a doctor may not be in the same area as their surgery. This may be important when having discussions that include more than a parent or spouse.

This looks like a nice tagging tactic, it would solve a lot of things. But right now, I’m just trying to pass a proposal to fix this little problem, your solution is way bigger than this. Starting a separate topic is probably a good idea, I’d participate.

If you want to avoid the complexity of with the office versus surgery difference at the moment. I would still suggest avoiding the “doctor” tag from similar reason. It might be better to focus on the medical specialities present at the location. These specialities can represent those held by advantage degree nursing staff as well any doctor on duty. This would handle situations where those qualified nurses could effectively run a clinic with minimal oversight by an MD.

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