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Old proposed content


text copied from former proposal post_box:operator


Often it's useful to describe that a certain map object "belongs" to a company or corporation in any way. For example: With the emerging of private postal service providers, it may be of interest for the map user which postal services provider operates a certain post_box. For example, in germany there are already some private companies like PIN or Stadtbrief who install their own post boxes. Who wants to ship a letter has to choose the post box of "his" postal service provider. Other examples are pub, restaurant and hotel chains, maybe also streets maintained by private companies where a fee is required.

Applies to

Nodes, Ways, Areas

(Maybe) useful for...

  • Hotels (tourism:hotel);
  • Restaurants (amenity:restaurant), Pubs, Fast Food ;
  • Post Boxes (amenity:post_box);
  • ATMs (amenity:atm);
  • Car sharing sites;
  • PPP Streets (public-private partnership)
  • Public phones;
  • special buildings
  • Ferry terminals, bus stations, rail stations, metro stations


<tag k="amenity" v="post_box"/>
<tag k="operator" v="<name_of_operating_company>"/>
<tag k="tourism" v="hotel"/>
<tag k="operator" v="Le Meridien"/>

The operator tag could be used to name a company or corporation (alos a person???) who's responsible for a certain map object or who operates it. The value doesn't have to match the exact name: For "AnyCompany, Inc.", "AnyCompany" is sufficient. If the vast majority of a certain object is operated by a certain company and only very few by others, only the "exceptions" should be tagged.


No special icons needed / too many different values?

Possible Alternatives

Use the name key to distinguish operators? Maybe a bad idea, because for example Hotels may have special names independently of the operating hotel chain;

This resemble a lot the Proposed_features/Network for the routes, it should be easier to use the same denomination--PhilippeP 12:24, 27 October 2007 (BST)

I think operator doesn't interfere with the network feature, it supplements it. For example, the Green Circle Trail cited there as example could be tagged with both keys:
 <tag k="network" v="Green Circle Trail"/>
 <tag k="network_ref" v="University Trail"/>
 <tag k="operator" v="Stevens Point Area Foundation" />
--Florianschmitt 13:16, 27 October 2007 (BST)


  • As someone on the OSM mailing list has already pointed, this is useful beyond post boxes: pub, restaurant and hotel chains; ferry terminals, shopping centres ... even old buildings, in the UK "operator=National Trust" would be useful. Thumbs up from me. MikeCollinson 16:30, 6 October 2007 (BST)
  • And a second thought, I suggest not restricting it to just nodes. MikeCollinson 16:32, 6 October 2007 (BST)
  • You're completely right - i've modified the proposal towards a broader meaning. --Florianschmitt 08:23, 13 October 2007 (BST)
  • I like this too, suggest it could be used for public pay phones and ATMs. --Mcknut 17:30, 14 October 2007 (BST)
  • added a list of nodes/ways where this tag may be useful --Florianschmitt 08:49, 15 October 2007 (BST)


  • I approve this proposal --Dido 10:14, 27 October 2007 (BST)
  • I approve this proposal --Ulfl 10:15, 27 October 2007 (BST)
  • I approve this proposal --Mcknut 10:21, 27 October 2007 (BST)
  • I approve this proposal --Cohort 10:26, 27 October 2007 (BST)
  • I approve this proposal --MikeCollinson 10:45, 27 October 2007 (BST)
  • I approve this proposal --Fröstel 11:23, 27 October 2007 (BST)
  • I approve this proposal --Godai2 11:26, 27 October 2007 (BST)
  • I approve this proposal --Exeldro 11:56, 27 October 2007 (BST)
  • I approve this proposal --Skywave 13:13, 27 October 2007 (CEST)
  • I approve this proposal --Giggls 13:18 27 October 2007 (CEST)
  • I approve this proposal --hobbsch 14:10 27 October 2007 (CEST)
  • I approve this proposal --Colin Marquardt 13:18, 27 October 2007 (BST)
  • I approve this proposal --Pholker 14:43, 27 October 2007 (CEST)
  • I approve this proposal --Etric Celine 15:06, 27 October 2007 (BST)
  • I approve this proposal --Damian 17:06, 27 October 2007 (BST)
  • I approve this proposal --Andy 22:24, 27 October 2007 (BST)
  • I approve this proposal Andrewpmk 23:51, 27 October 2007 (BST)
  • I approve this proposal --Dalkvist 22:24, 27 October 2007 (BST)
  • I approve this proposal --Southglos 01:09, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal --Friedel 19:12, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal --Deelkar (talk) 01:24, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Newer than approved

operator values for multinational corporations

Hi, we, Japanese, are discussing about how to tag operator, name and ref for shops and amenities at [[Talk:Ja:Howto Map A]]. Although we don't get a consensus for them yet, only for the operator tag, we are seeing the consensus.

What makes us to discuss so hard is that Japanese people usually write corporations in Japanese letters but sometimes in alphabets. We all think that operator tags are proposed for grouping or searching purposes. So we would like unified rule for values of operator tag all over the world, as long as possible.

For one-national corporations, it doesn't matter writing a operator value in national letters. How about multinational corporations? For example, McDonald's or TOYOTA. I think those multinational corporations have alphabetic bland names, so writing only the alphabetic one looks better, for example operator=TOYOTA. Other Japanese don't agree it because Japanese usually use Japanese original letters, Katakana, for them. So they are suggesting "Brand name in Japanese (Brand name in alphabet)" (operator=トヨタ (TOYOTA)), according to name tag of Japan tagging. I disagree the method because the priority of alphabetic brand is higher than that of national letter's brand. I am going to suggest "Brand name in alphabet (Brand name in Japanese)"(operator=TOYOTA (トヨタ)) for them.

By the way, how do you feel about such language problems? I would like to hear your (especially, non-alphabetic cultural people's) opinions. --Nazotoko 08:19, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

When tagging in Japan: operator:en=Toyota, operator=トヨタ, and in countries where Katakana are not used, plain operator=Toyota suffices. Alv 08:50, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

What to do with buildings that belong to various operators?

What do you do with buildings that belong to more than one operator? --ALE! 22:16, 31 August 2010 (BST)

operator=owner company doesn't sound right, what about owner=owner company? --Skippern 23:28, 31 August 2010 (BST)
I did not quite get your point. Just to make my question clearer: How do you tag a building that is used by two different companies? Ownership is not the issue here. The issue here is how do I indicate that a building is used by two (or more) companies? --ALE! 16:37, 1 September 2010 (BST)


Based on the tagging ml post we should include operator:type in this standard. Example tagging:

  • shop=books
  • operator=Oxfam
  • operator:type=charity

Possible usual values include:

  • operator:type=charity
  • operator:type=government
  • operator:type=workers_cooperative

This will be important for those users, who don't know the operator from its name.


At present, few (none?) of the mainstream renderers use 'operator', and I think this may be what leads many users to stick the operators of banks and shops into the 'name' tag instead.

If any renderers choose to start using 'operator', I recommend something similar to what I use for my personal maps: "${operator}: ${name}" unless name includes operator, otherwise "${name}".

Franchises should use brand= *

As mentioned under brand= *, many businesses are actually franchises, so the operator is not the big multi-national whose name appears on everything, but a small, possibly not even incorporated, local business. This particular applies to petrol stations and fast food outlets.

Doing a random trawl of recent bulk edits, I noticed that an E. Leclerc petrol station had been changed from brand to operator. A google search found advertisement for people to become E. Leclerc franchisees, so the existing brand was almost certainly correct. Further research would have been needed to establish whether E. Leclerc actually directly operate any of their outlets, and, in particular, the one one question.

Searching also found that, in the UK, Esso, Shell and Total, at least, are all franchisers, rather than operators. -- Hadw (talk) 07:17, 13 August 2013 (UTC)