Tagging of aquariums

One of the wonderful quirks of the English language is that we use the term aquarium to describe both a large scale tourist attraction as well as an individual water-filled vivarium (of any size).

In OSM, we have the tag tourism=aquarium which is supposed to be used only for the large-scale tourist attraction (i.e. multiple, large tanks, pay entry etc.). However, it does appear it is also being used for individual aquaria, which we might colloquially call a “fish tank”.

I’d like to see the large scale aquaria rendered in Carto (as they are important tourist attractions) but one of the issues is that there’s a mix of usage of this tag.

My suggestion is that:

  • tourism=aquarium is used only for the large scale tourist attraction (e.g., similar to a zoo or museum)
  • attraction=animal + animal=fish is used for individual fish tanks. These could be either located inside a tourism=aquarium or as stand-alone items such as a large fish tank in the centre of a shopping mall for instance
  • I’m unsure about tanks inside a pet shop (shop=pet + pet=fish) or restaurant. They could be tagged as attraction=animal + animal=fish but I’m not sure they’re really an “attraction” as we currently define it.



attraction=animal has an issue of being duplicated as area for the site, and points for animals inside. Am thinking attraction= could be used for the entire site of that topic, including the building or any structure, landscaping, walkways and waiting areas. Then exhibit= can be used for the fish tanks. (of course, if it is only a cage or tank in the open, they are the same) This may be compared with exhibit=artwork in =mall or =restaurant if used. Specifically, some eateries at zoo-type aquariums have an integrated fish tank inside or adjacent, for viewing while eating.
Another format to be aware of is some aquatic and “amphibious” animals are displayed with natural=water + water=pond on the ground. Semi-aquatic animal display areas can span multiple land and tank or pond areas.
Unknowingly, there are 8 https://taginfo.openstreetmap.org/tags/man_made=fish_tank and 1 https://taginfo.openstreetmap.org/tags/man_made=aquarium


I did some analysis of the current tagging of aquaria in OSM and posted in the Carto Github issue.

A short summary:

  • 94.6% of the 1,232 instances did not contain “banned” words (associated with pet stores mostly).
  • At least 68.0% of instances with a name, were named as an aquarium (or similar) or I was able to manually verify that they were an aquarium through a web search.
  • 52.4% were tagged as a building with an additional 7.7% tagged as a way or relation (likely larger exhibits with outdoor areas).

So it did seem to me that the majority of tourism=aquarium tags applied to larger tourist exhibits.

But it would be good to agree on how to tag individual tanks.

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I’m new to OSM, and this is my first time posting on this forum.

Recently I was busy addressing notes in the UK, and someone claimed a cafe was missing from an aquarium, which confused me as there was no aquarium rendered. Only after entering iD edit mode did I realise that the aquarium was fully mapped and tagged, thus leading me to find the github thread, leading here.

Nobody has provided a good reason why aquarium’s with [building=* name=* tourism=aquarium] shouldn’t have their name rendered. Since there are only 1,399 uses of tourism=aquarium, it doesn’t seem too big of a task to assemble a team to manually verify that none of them are mis-tagged or ‘erroneous’ (a word OSM users seem to love using) - if that’s the only contention people have.



In such case name is candidate for being displayed (as building name).

If not shown, it means it collided with other labels/icons.

In such case name is candidate for being displayed (as building name).

ok, but that’s a different topic and not related to aquarium display. Everything can get a label if you add building tags to it, but then you get building labels and it remains unclear whether the name refers to a building or a feature. Something like an aquarium should maybe also get an icon and have the name displayed earlier than buildings.

This map will show aquariums in the UK and IE mapped as tourism=aquarium as a general tourist thing. It ahould perhaps show larger ones a bit sooner, but it does show them.

When deciding whether to show them I did look at tag usage and found that it wasn’t a major problem.

I’ve updated the aquarium Wiki page with a new disambiguation section.

I’ve suggested the attraction=animal + animal=fish approach since it matches the current zoo tagging, though I appreciate Kovoschiz’s comments above. I have also suggested adding man_made=fish_tank for individual fish tanks.

Hopefully that’s useful.

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