Talk:Tag:amenity=university

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Central campus vs. geographically scattered campuses: use relations to aggregate?

This should really be used for relations (assembly of buildings, sometimes scattered across town) too. Ipofanes 20:43, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

How do you suggest we go about this? Representing the entire (fluid, externally changeable, non-physical) political hierarchy of a university isn't something we want to do in OSM, but as a first approximation it might be good to represent distinct university sites, campuses, colleges, halls of residence, and sports grounds in such a relation. Somehow. Each of the above could be a sprawling mess of buildings too, so it's very likely that any schema we come up with would be an (over-)complex affair. --achadwick 11:55, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

related to this I've written a bunch of 'how to map' information on the page here. I was mainly thinking about individual buildings, and stating that we should (probably) be following the One feature, one OSM element principle (so not putting the university tag on the buildings). But yes. "Scattered campuses" present a problem which might require relations or something. -- Harry Wood 14:41, 19 May 2011 (BST)

I'm in favor of using relations for scattered campuses or similar situations, such as in Italy, where universities are sometimes spread across buildings all around the city without having a proper campus. My proposal is that in such situation each campus should be tagged independently as amenity=campus, with the name=* tag used to indicate the campus name; a university relation should be used to gather all the campuses (or spread out buildings) together. We don't need to be able to represent the entire political hierarchy of a university, but we can have simple roles such as campus, department, administrative (or offices or whatever), dining_hall, etc. -- gbilotta 12:52, 25 Jul 2013 (CEST)

To stress why a relation would be appropriate, it's probably best to consider the example of the University of California: spatial query to find all related services would require the query to be run almost on the entire State (and let's not even talk about Teikyo University, that has campuses scattered all over the world). The other common objection to the use of a relation is that it shouldn't be used for categories, but in this case we're not talking of categories, but rather of an entity.

It should be stressed that there's a need for a relation **only** in the case of a scattered university. When all of it is located in a single campus, the amenity=university tagging scheme is sufficient. -- gbilotta 13:53, 25 Jul 2013 (CEST)

Site relation?

Should we promote the proposed site relation for universities? The use of the multipolygon relation for universities is not ideal (especially with the touching inner rings problem – not sure if this is a problem with the site relation too?), and there are already about 132,000 site relations in the database, which shows how widely accepted it is already. Chtfn (talk) 06:12, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

(Moved this topic here, since it may be related --achadwick (talk)) I'm not sure it really makes sense to use site, as such, except possibly for single campuses where things are in close geographical proximity. Such things are probably best served with an area using the existing amenity=university too. I see a "site" as being only useful for geographically close aggregations which don't necessarily have one single

One possible way forward

I want to keep it simple, using areas primarily because they're easier to draw. However, simple areas don't work in all cases, so we'll have to allow site relations and multipolygons as "areas" too.

  • What to aggregate:
    • Use plain old amenity=university on the enclosing Areaarea for any site or campus belonging to any institution providing higher education, where the site or campus is involved in teaching or study by students, or for university-only ceremonial purposes such as matriculation and congregation.
    • Use appropriate commercial/leisure/place_of_worship/sports tagging on Areaareas for sites belonging to the same institutions which have those purposes, and which support student life.
    • Research stuff. Laboratories. Do we recommend commercial or industrial landuse for the usual? Depends on the lab, I guess.
    • Site relations are OK here, but please consider whether a single enclosing area or multipolygon would suffice.
    • Multipolygon relations are OK for sites, campuses, sports grounds etc.; consider these to be areas in the grouping below.
  • Aggregate these areas and site-relations as members of a single Relationrelation with type=university. This represents the institution's physical stuff as a whole, and it's (for now) a flat relation.
    • Tag the relation itself with the official name=* of the university.
    • Specify a role for each element, if it has a distinct and predominant use. Suggested roles: department(s) (areas containing the buildings of one (or more) departments with its (their) own lecture theatres and/or libraries), campus (either a single wikipedia:Campus university, or a campus which is part of a multi-site university), college (a college which is part of a wikipedia:Collegiate university), library, ceremonial, research, teaching (shared lecture theatres and tutorial rooms), ..., <anything-you-like>. If a member doesn't really have a single focus, a role isn't needed.
    • DO NOT include land holdings of a university which do not directly support teaching or study by students, or student life within the university. Remote forested or cultivated land which is the subject of study probably doesn't belong in the relation, for example.

Basically it's an aggregation of little blobs of land, and it doesn't matter how widely dispersed they are, or how compact. I may use the University of Oxford as an example, if people like this suggestion. It may be worth involving User icon 2.svg David.earl (on osm, edits, contrib, heatmap) too, since he's been doing a lot in Cambridge.

--achadwick (talk) 18:22, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

Halls of residence

Am I right in thinking halls of residence use this tag? --LeedsTracker 02:38, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

  • For non-collegiate universities maybe landuse=residential combined with residential=university to distinguish it from other types of residential area would be appropriate. --achadwick 11:40, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Update as of May 2011: not many people do the above. I may be the only one... there is however some discussion happening at Talk:Tag:landuse=residential --achadwick 15:23, 19 May 2011 (BST)

To clarify further and try and provide some useful criteria for making a distinction: landuse=* sometimes applies better than amenity=university, particularly when the housing provision is outsourced to a separate company and the blocks aren't really part of the university itself. Tag the enclosing area with amenity=university when there's teaching, research, student union activity, university sports or pastoral care going on as well as housing, and leave it to landuse=residential if it's just a residential block in part of a city, I suppose. Either way, individual halls within the area should get their own Areabuilding=* in order to retain One feature, one OSM element. --achadwick 15:23, 19 May 2011 (BST)

Rendering on Mapnik

The amenity=university tag does not render as a shaded area on Mapnik as it does as a college. One example is Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, which was rendered as a path rather than a closed polygon whose name was posted along the adjacent railway. CrystalWalrein 02:15, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

I know this response is a bit late and the issue may be moot, but is the way closed? Are you sure? I had a similar issue a while ago, and it turned out that someone had broken the way and it was no longer closed. Yet, since the gap was so small, and streets overlapped most of the border, it was difficult to detect the problem. Vid the Kid 20:56, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Conflict to landuse in some areas

amenity=university has been used for areas around buldings that belong to a university. But on the same area there are other buildings that do not belong to the university. Therefore I would tag the area as landuse=*, because the areas should be more a description of what kind of buildings and vegetation can be found there. What do you think?

The idea of my question is that university buildings can either be of an industrial kind, or integrated in the town, therefore there is no sense for areas around buildings (campusses) to be mapped as amenity=university, it might be useful to define a new campus tag or something if you want to tag a strict campus university which is not always the case.

Another feature I am currently trying is to integrate universit buildings to campus relations, the question is: Can realtions be member of other relations?

Would be great to hear your statements and ideas about this questions. TobiBS 13:23, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

classification of universities

As proposed for schools (see: Talk:Tag:amenity=school) I would also recommend here the ISCED classification for classifying the highest level of education attainable from a tertiary establishment. What do you think? --ALE! 21:21, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Collegiate universities

One possibility for tagging a collegiate university

It make sense to me to represent collegiate universities like Oxford or Cambridge like this: represent any central or teaching/lab bits that don't belong to colleges as described on the main page, and name the colleges individually. The operator=* tag names the university the colleges belong to. Hopefully that's not too horrible a misuse of the operator tag.

A similar scheme could be applied to spread-out non-collegiate universities with multiple campuses or regional centres. Does OSM need to make a distinction? Should we go ahead and integrate it into the main page? --achadwick 13:24, 18 May 2011 (BST)

Ah yes. colleges should get the name tag. Makes sense to me.
It would be great if renderers would show the name of the university when you're quite zoomed out in these cases, but we wont be seeing this feature for some time. I can't think of a tagging scheme that would even hypothetically help that to happen. If a renderer really knew what was going on, it could pull out the operator from the scheme you suggest, so it's a good a scheme as any I suppose.
-- Harry Wood 14:35, 19 May 2011 (BST)



Abuse of name tag / faculties

The name tag should not be abused to describe the usage of the building. If attached to a building it will describe the name of the building (usually university buildings do have names and refs, but if they don't please keep the tags clear). There is a suggestion to tag name=Chemistry;Physics but this only made sense if "Chemistry;Physics" was the name of the building. To tag the faculties inside a university it makes sense to invent another key and to develop a list of formalized standard values. --Dieterdreist (talk) 09:29, 1 May 2013 (UTC)


I agree. The name tag of the building itself should be the name of the building (if any). Also, the suggestion on the page to split up a building into several parts if there are more than one departments in it with each building part having a different name (different department) conflicts with how complex buildings (building complexes composed of different interconnected buildings of different heights) are mapped. I would suggest the following: Faculties or departments inside of the buildings are created as nodes or areas inside the building. In the common case where the department covers exactly the building, the area would be another polygon with the same shape on top of the building. This node/area then gets the name of the faculty or department and additionally faculty=yes or one of faculty=chemistry, faculty=sociology etc.

--Westnordost (talk) 15:36, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

After thinking about this, I think amenity=faculty would be better here. faculty=xyz could be used in addition to the amenity=faculty tag.

--Westnordost (talk) 07:00, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

university=faculty and university=department have a good tagfeel, for me at least. I'm quite a fan of drill-down notation ☺

--achadwick (talk) 17:08, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

My idea would be: If faculty is small, then just place node inside the building with amenity=faculty, name= Faculty of xyz, operator=University of ... If faculty is larger then one can even draw it as an area with the same tags. I would tag all buildings in the area with building=university,name=Hall of sth, faculty=Faculty of xyz, operator=University of ...

--Mashin (talk) 08:12, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

After checking with taginfo it seems that faculty=* gets slowly established. I will put this suggestion on the university page now. --Dieterdreist (talk) 09:05, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

How to map a... (university/school) area

How to map a area

  • in front, behind or in the middle of the building,
  • where students/pupils stay in the break/recess, waiting for the bus, or congregate in case of a fire alarm?

-- cptechnik - DE:NRW:Windeck (talk) 19:44, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

Naming of individual campuses

So the page says I should use a multipoligon for using an university with various scattered campuses. But the page does not at all explain how to name the indidual campuses. :-( I suppose it is not uncommon for the campuses to have names on their own. --Wuzzy (talk) 12:59, 10 July 2015 (UTC)