Vacant in shops

Right, I wouldn’t expect data consumers to treat the two tags any differently. The distinction matters more to me as a mapper. I don’t think this poll would cause me to abandon one tag or the other.

My city’s retail spaces have a lot of turnover. Often I’m unable to detect that a shop has closed or moved until months later, by noticing that they failed to renew their website domain or stopped posting to their Facebook page at some point. By this point, the shop very well could be occupied by another tenant. If I know who replaced them, I can simply retag the storefront with the new tenant’s details. But otherwise, I would move the shop=* tag to disused:shop=*, and only tag it as shop=vacant once I swing by and see that it still has a “FOR LEASE” sign in the window.

I do quite a bit of armchair mapping of other places using street-level imagery. The imagery is usually years old, from before the pandemic wiped out so many businesses, so I have to verify that each shop still exists before mapping it. Often the shop turns out to be long gone, but I have no way of determining what, if anything, has replaced it. I map it in the first place as disused:shop=*. On the other hand, if there’s already a “FOR LEASE” sign in this imagery, I use shop=vacant. After all, in this case, I have no idea what the shop used to be.

I always go for disused:shop= since I feel like any value of shop= should represent a type of currently operating shop. Vacant means the absence of an operating shop, so using a different key feels appropriate to me. That said, unless a data consumer is looking for all active shops by matching shop=* and not excluding shop=vacant, the difference shouldn’t matter too much.


True, the fact that shop=vacant is under shop=* is awkward. But it’s still an answer to the question “What is it?”, whereas disused:shop=* would be an answer to the question, “What has it been?” Both are valid questions to ask.

As with other old trollish tags like building=construction, shop=vacant is already well-established, so at this point it would be more disruptive to rename it to something more descriptive like amenity=shopfront occupied=no. Maybe not disruptive to renderers that want to hide vacant shops entirely, but certainly vacant to geocoders that have been returning vacant shops without issue.

(For anyone wondering, “shopfront” or “storefront” technically means just the façade, but it almost always refers to the whole retail space by metonymy. Again, weird English.)


definitely, inventing yet another combination for the same situation would be awkward, but refraining from shop=vacant in favor of
disused:shop=*/yes is an established alternative that doesn’t suffer from the problem that “vacant” isn’t a shop type.
68k uses (54% yes, so you do not need to know what shop it was)
shop=vacant only has 44k uses: shop=vacant | Tags | OpenStreetMap Taginfo

Fun fact, there are also 231 occurences of disused:shop=vacant


A building with breeze block walls, no windows or plaster and an unfinished roof is still recognisable as a building even if you haven’t got the occupancy permit yet. It’s a perfectly sensible tag.

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Like probably many other mappers I just use Every Door for POIs. It makes it very easy to mark a shop as defunct, which sets it to disused. Therefore many vacant shops in my city are tagged as disused.

The distinction suggested in this thread makes sense to me, so if there was a convenient way of applying it (e.g. one button for defunct and one for vacant), I’d probably make a choice between the two.


Yes, I don’t mean to be too hard on this tag. These aren’t troll tags, only slightly “trollish” in that a data consumer probably should special-case them, even if they have a good reason for being under the same key as the other values.

building=construction can also be applied as soon as the foundation is laid. Normally, the rest of the building will be coming in shortly, so who cares that it isn’t really a building yet? On the other hand, if a recession hits, that bare foundation may sit there until the economy improves. I think building=construction isn’t any more surprising on the bare foundation than it is on the high-rise building that hasn’t topped out yet. F4Map can show its cute construction cranes regardless.

So it is with shop=vacant. A data consumer can handle a vacant former shop in the same manner as a vacant shop-to-be and the vacant shop-that-never-was. A geocoder can call it a “vacant shop” and I think most people would understand what that means currently, even if no one knows the retail space’s history. A dramatized, carte noir renderer might show a shop=vacant as having boarded-up windows and some graffiti, but it might merely keep the lights off at a disused:shop=* because it’s more ambiguous.

For what it’s worth, iD and other editors have separate presets for Vacant Shop (shop=vacant), Disused Shop (disused:shop=*), and Disused Amenity (disused:amenity=*). Only Vacant Shop appears when searching for a preset. The disused presets are hidden from search results and only shown when selecting a feature that already has one of these tags. In part, this is because the disused:* keys can be combined with another primary feature tag that’s more noteworthy.

With a little effort, the owner can still return it to a state of vacancy, as if the space had never been despoiled by commercial activity. :stuck_out_tongue:

You’re joking, but this formulation does satisfy both “vacant is not a shop” and “shop=vacant is different to disused:shop=whatever” people :smiley:


IMHO before there is a roof it isn’t a building. Yes, you might be advancing the building mapping because you assume that soon it will be a building, but if the construction site is standing still, I would not tag foundations as building. Or if yes, why not someone digging ditches for the foundations? Or maybe it would be sufficient someone seriously thinking about building a house? :smiley:

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Speaking of construction, I spotted two storefront changes on a stroll in my neighborhood this morning that I added to OSM and OHM. This brow salon was pretty straightforward: they vacated the premises and there’s little trace of it left. Through the window, I could see that the space is pretty generic and could be used for just about anything in the future. If I didn’t know the history of the space, I wouldn’t even be able to tag it as disused:shop=beauty. But shop=vacant it definitely is.

Meanwhile, this shop next door is a little more complicated. Outside, they’ve taken down the signs for the fruit basket shop that used to be there and put up a sign for the butcher that will replace it. But the remodeling job on the inside is apparently taking longer. Through the window, I can still see the old posters advertising Valentine’s Day gifts. This POI now sports a trifecta of disused:shop=gift, shop=vacant, and construction:shop=butcher. Who knows, though: maybe if they open in time, I can grab a romantic gift basket of raw meat rolls.

To me the difference between disused:shop=* and shop=vacant would be that the former still has the appearance of its previous use (may still have shelves decorations etc. (without stock)), but the latter has been properly cleared out and made bare ready for the next occupant.

I think this is splitting hairs though. In most places the timescales for the transition from one to the other will be short enough that it probably isn’t worth manually typing in the tags for one option if the software I’m using has a preset for the other.


Yes it seems to me that the shop has left more quickly with one that is disused, where you can see what was there before in one that is empty for a long time before.