Vacant in shops


I have just started to put some things on the Open Street Map. In my town, a few shops were put there on the open street map, but they are now gone and vacant. It is the retail in this place - Way History: 28140595 | OpenStreetMap

There are a lot of shops vacant in the UK, so it would be very interesting if people could see what was happening in their town.0 With the tag, there is a percentage of the total amount of vacant. What I would like to do is to publish a percentage of vacancies within a specific place. So, for example, people see that in this street, where you go to the shops, 20% of them are vacant. Then, people can look again at this map a few months later when these tags have gotten up or down for the last week, for example.

I was wondering if there was a way I could create this and if people could help me figure out how to do it!

Thank you so much!

Are you looking for how to tag vacant shops or how to analyse and visualise data?

I don’t know how widely recognised it is, but shop=vacant has over 7,000 uses in the UK (over a wide area based on overpass-turbo results), so you might be able to do something with the proportion of shop=vacant tags compared to all shop tags in a given area.

For a visualisation, in the UK (and IE) you can use this map** - that shows the various ways that people people map vacant shops as “(vacant)”.

** Full disclosure - that’s a map I created. The logic for the vacant shop processing is here.

What about disused:shop, (which is also a little more)? Isn’t it better to use Lifecycle_prefix, which normally hides the shop on the map? :thinking:

But as I know OSM: There are many roads to Rome… :wink:


Some interesting forum discussions on this topic

Bäckerei dauerhaft geschlossen - löschen?
Shop korrekt taggen - #5 by Thoschi
Kleine Fragen 2019 - #324 by Geofreund1
Kleine Fragen - #2136 by gormo

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Put some of the Vacant Shops on there already so to analyse and visualise data. Its a bit of showing to people what is happeneing in the aria with some statistics

There’s a slight difference in meaning between shop=vacant and disused:shop=*, and both can be used in combination:

  • shop=vacant means the storefront is currently vacant.
  • disused:shop=* means whatever used to be in the storefront is no longer there, but whether the storefront is currently vacant is less clear.

Around me, many storefronts are built years before the first shop occupies them. The shop is no longer under construction; it remains vacant but has not fallen into disuse. shop=vacant is the only tag that can be used in this situation.

When a shop moves from one neighborhood to another, I immediately retag the former location as disused:shop=*, but I don’t feel confident tagging it as shop=vacant until I’ve surveyed the site to make sure some other shop hasn’t moved in already.

Often a disused:shop=* lingers even after a new shop arrives and is tagged in shop=*. Technically, was:shop=* would be more precise for this situation.


For a quick visualisation, I would go to Overpass Turbo and look for all objects with addr:street=High Street or whatever the street name is, and an amenity= or shop= tag that isn’t shop=vacant.

Then look for all objects that have addr:street=High Street and either disused:amenity=, disused:shop= or shop=vacant.

You can use MapCSS to style the results e.g. make the nodes for active shops blue and the vacant ones red.

If you want to do this for all of Newbury Wharf (the landuse=retail area), instead of just one street, you’ll have to use a spatial query. I am sure this is possible with Overpass though I don’t know how.

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This difference seems a bit precise and not one I’ve heard of before. I would be surprised if people are consistently using them like that.

Also, to me, a newly constructed shop that has not yet got an occupier (i.e is “not in use”) is still a disused shop. Something can be built, never used, and remain in a state of disuse.


Interesting, “disused” is already quite rare in my dialect compared to “fallen into disuse”, but I’ve never heard anyone treat “disused” and “unused” as synonyms.

Unused can definitely mean “never been used before (still new)”, and disused can definitely mean “no longer in use (previously used)”. In these two contexts they are not synonyms. But both words can also mean “not currently in use”. In this case they are synonyms. English is a crazy language :upside_down_face:.


Exactly, which is why I think tagging never-before-used features as disused is misleading and too literal a reading of the disused wiki page. After all, it says “no longer” half a dozen times, just to hammer home the point.


I opened Talk:Key:disused:* - OpenStreetMap Wiki


The idea of changing it to blue and red sounds like a great idea. How do I put on the MapCSS?

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Have a look at the examples here, under colour coding:

And let us know if you manage to do it, would be interesting to compare how different city centres look!

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Given that any mapper using shop=vacant at all is breaking the definition of shop=* (“A place selling retail products or services”), I see no reason to assume that they would consistently follow such a subtle distinction.


To you, a newly constructed shop is nothing currently (no main tag), but some time ago (probably while it was under construction) it was fully functional and operational shop (disused:shop=yes, which would’ve been shop=yes at that time). Is that correct?

A couple of very quick overpass queries:

I am very interested :thinking: in your opinion on this topic:

Which approach do you prefer?
  • shop=vacant
  • disused:shop=*
  • both tags together
0 voters

( :exclamation: My first poll - if anything is wrong, please forgive…)

edit: 1. mistake = 2 options > please use only one, sorry :woozy_face:

(not an option in the poll, so I’ll comment here):

  • Whichever option is the better fit for the particular shop.

If it’s a convenience store that has closed but is going to reopen as another convenience store, then disused:shop=convenience.

If the previous tenant has left and another (of unknown type) has not moved in yet, shop=vacant.

However, it’s really not that important. With a data consumer hat on, I treat both the same.