Proposal:Amenity=reception desk

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Reception Desk
Proposal status: Rejected (inactive)
Proposed by: Warin61
Tagging: amenity=reception_desk
Applies to: node, way, area
Definition: a place where people are received by an organisation.

Rendered as: a desk with an attendant
Draft started: 2015-02-06
RFC start: 2015-03-07
Vote start: 2015-06-02
Vote end: 2015-06-23


On the second time this has been presented for voting the proposal has been rejected by 7 oppose to 15 approved (68% approval, present rules require 75% for formal approval). Most of those opposed appear to point to the use of 'desk in the name/value and suggest the use of point in its place. There is also one pointing to the use of reception_area.

A total of 22 people voted .. compared to some 38 the first time. Does a more controversial proposal attract more participation? I shall put up proposals for reception, reception_point and reception_area and see what happens.


A Reception Desk provides a place where people (visitors, patients, or clients) arrive to be greeted, any information recorded, the relevant person is contacted and the visitor/s, patient/s, or client/s sent on to the relevant person/place.

How to Map

Map the desk itself - not the waiting/reception area nor the building.

  • node On a Node - where the center of the desk is.
  • way On a Way - From one end of the desk to the other. A width=* may be used when known.
  • area On an Area - to map the outline (edge) of the desk.
  • relation As a member of a relation. When a relation is declared you include the node/way/area that contains the tag reception_desk as one member of the relation.

Additional Tags


As a desk, represented as a line, with a receptionist, represented as a head and shoulders figure over it, in the amenity colour of brown.

Rationale (Verbose Explanation)

It is particularly useful to know the location of the reception desk when it is located away from the typical place (near a front entry) or where there is only one amongst a number of large buildings. First seen as a suggested extended tag for camp sites, thought to have a wider application to offices, hotels, hospitals and educational features.

What key?

  • Tourism=reception_desk

The tourism key is used for "places and things of specific interest to tourists". While this works well for hotels, camp_sites it does not work for offices - say a government department, nor for a university. In those cases the facility is not for tourists. In fact my first application for this tag is a large industrial/scientific/research facility where the reception desk is some 600 m from the 'front entry' and is hard to find. It is not a tourist site in any way.

  • office=reception_desk

The office key is used for "a place predominantly selling services". A reception desk does not commonly sell a service, it usually directs to a service.

  • amenity=reception_desk

The amenity key is used for "an assortment of community facilities". You could view the reception_desk as similar to a toilet or telephone (both key:amenity), they are present on tourist sites, businesses/offices and educational institutions. They provide a needed facility to tourists and locals alike.

Of these 3 keys, amenity is the 'best' key for reception_desk.

What value? (Why desk?)

Reception by it self could be confused with GPS reception, radio or TV reception, wedding reception. In order to distinguish it the addition of the word 'desk' was used. I've never encountered this kind of reception that did not have a desk, usually with a telephone, these days with a computer, possibly a sign in book (for Occupational, Health and Safety - to record who enters and if they leave.. any evacuation then enables checking of people). So reception_desk.

Association with parent

The reception_desk would service some other feature (the 'parent', an office, camp_site etc) and should be associated with it. These may share the operator and/or name tags being the same for both. The relation between the reception_desk and its' parent feature may be indicated by;

  • the reception_desk being enclosed by the parent feature.
  • the proximity of the reception_desk and the parent feature.
  • A site relation. See site

This is something that that applies to some features and could be addressed by a wiki page.

Indoor Mapping?

Many of the present tags in use will need to be considered by any indoor mapping system. The addition of this tag does not add any complexity to that, it is similar to the tags toilet, telephone, all the key:office and key:shop values. A solution to those tag should also work for reception_desk. I see no reason why this tag has to be 'special' in some way for the indoor tagging.

See the indoor mapping wiki page.

Possibly the most relevant is the level=* tag.

This is something that could be addressed by a wiki page, associated with the 'Indoor_Mapping' page above.


This can be an element of a relation. But not as a tag on a relation (like a name, operator or contact could be). The relation has a declaration of "type=" .. in that area you cannot have "reception_desk" as it would not identify the location of the reception_desk. The above is true for all amenity values.

What relations would it be used with? Those that link it to the thing it services (its 'parent').


Any hotel will have a reception desk, as do many office, industrial, camp and caravan sites.

From Taginfo value=reception there are over 900 instances, most of those follow suggested extended tags for camp sites. Many of the rest are names for buildings ... probably where the mapper wants to identify where the reception desk is but lacks a tag for it.

There are a number of buildings in the data base with the name reception, this may imply a large area such as a hospital emergency departments reception area. Or it may simply be the mappers using the name to indicate where the reception is.

Features/Pages affected

Could be added to other wiki pages as a complimentary tag for offices, motels, camp sites, caravan sites.

Presently (April 2015) on the OSM data base there are

  • 14 amenity=reception_desk (this proposal)

related or possibly related

  • 557 camp_site=reception (previous proposal related to camp sites)
  • 295 name=Reception
  • 26 name=reception
  • 11 name=Main Reception
  • 11 office=reception
  • 105 amenity=reception_area

At least some of these show a need for the tagging of a 'reception desk'. Where the name=reception is used they are typically on a building usually within a group of buildings. I would think buildings named 'Reception' are few, rather the mapper is identifying the function and the mapper regards this as an important requirement.

These related tags may be changed over time as users become aware of this tag.


Instructions for voting. Log in to the wiki - top right corner of the page -scroll up. Then scroll down to voting and click on 'edit'.

Copy and paste for

yes - {{vote|yes}} ~~~~

no - {{vote|no}} ~~~~ Please state your reason/s for opposition!

Note The ~~~~ automatically inserts your name and date. Please refrain from publicly commenting on other peoples votes, no matter what the comment is, they are entitled to their ideas. Discussion should have settled any issues and the proposal should have adequately described the feature. Further discussion here is too late.

Previous Voting

Summary 21 for, 17 against.

Most objections to the key amenity. Some about 'indoor mapping'. One about 'desk'. Another how to relate it to the parent feature. And another says it needs more time. I have tried to address these objections by explanations above.

Previous votes have been moved to the discussion page to avoid confusion with the new process here.

New voting

Vote start 2 June 2015, possible end 16 June 2015.

  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. This is a needed tag, and amenity is just fine. I wish it did not say "desk", as it's not always a "desk", but that's not a fatal problem. Brycenesbitt (talk) 23:43, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. When I vist Very large corporate campuses and government facilities to see a worker - I have to go to a special place called the reception desk. I have visited more reception desks at government facilities and high security places to gain entry to fix computers - many more than the concierge at a hotel. People who say this is tourism are very narrow minded and very wrong - Or didn't bother to read a wiki page they just voted on (which is my bet). Go to SAIC or General Atomics in San Diego and try to find their reception entrance and reception desk just by looking at a satellite image. it is impossible, and non-obvious from the ground. How about where to check in when visiting Apple? Where do you go at the infinite loop campus to check-in to see Mr Cook? When visiting a Factory with a wide open gate and 50 buildings - Where do visitiors check-in to see the plant manager? All of these are a non-tourism function - it is merely an amenity. *every single place* I would wish to tag a reception desk is in a non-tourist, commercial or industrial (or military) facility. People voting otherwise simply have no life experience outside of hotels - and should be more imaginative. Javbw (talk) 01:21, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. Polarbear w (talk) 07:46, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. --Peter Mead (talk) 08:36, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. I think micromapping in general is the way to go for OSM and this is a part of it. -- Kocio (talk) 09:04, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. I was in favour of it until I noticed the instruction "map the desk itself". In my opinion, focussing on the piece of furniture rather than the facility as a whole is a really strange decision. --Tordanik 11:59, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
Selected the desk as a fixed point that can be easily located on the ground. It may not be central to an area, but it is THE place you go to.
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. Dr Centerline (talk) 15:45, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. --Kotya (talk) 22:34, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. Jojo4u (talk) 09:20, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. --Mapper999 (talk) 14:54, 6 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. Too vague in between tourism, office etc. and needed only in very special cases. Vademecum (talk) 18:42, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
The definitions for tourism, office etc. come from the OSM wiki, you find them vague? They are broad definitions so that all cases of tourism, office etc fit under those definition .. but other cases don't.
You say this is "needed only in special cases" yet you oppose the inclusion? Police Stations too are only needed in special cases! If it is needed or of use then it should be included. Warin61 (talk) 00:40, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
I would rather say, if it's there it needs to be mapped :) --Kotya (talk) 16:17, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
Don't twist my words. First it's "needed only in very special cases" and therefore the definition is too vague and not exact and tries to combine cases which don't belong together. Vademecum (talk) 18:11, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
My apology for leaving out the descriptive work "very". But I fail to see what you are tryiong to exclude. Warin61 (talk) 00:56, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. Waldhans (talk) 07:29, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. I had voted yes, but I'd prefer a different tag like amenity=reception_area which what I noticed now, outnumbers the desk tag in actual use, and which can be more universally applied. This should be a tag about a feature (the spot/area where you should arrive, and where you typically get help, I don't support a tag that is about a piece of furniture --Dieterdreist (talk) 12:34, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
One problem with 'area' is that a large area could be tagged, what is needed is the smaller area where you get help, not a waiting area.
Another problem with reception_area it that the term is used for satellite reception areas, TV reception areas. In other words it is used for other things that I'd rather not have confused with this tag.
The amenity=reception_area has no documentation. Further they are all nodes .. no areas (ways) at all. One of them is a building .. on a node.
Amenity has a few tags about 'furniture' - bench, waste_bin etc. I see nothing wrong with tagging furniture that is of use, and is there on the 'ground'. Warin61 (talk) 00:56, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. This proposal is even worse than the previous version. The amenity tag should be for mapping facilities of use to the general public, not for mapping furniture. It is not useful to just map a 'desk', it is useful to map a reception facility. Which might be desk, or it might be several desks (plus chairs and other furniture), or a distinct reception building, or a booth, or a phone or screen etc. So all of those should be mapped as a reception. The "How to map" section is ridiculous micromapping. Why just map the outline of the desk, and not the chair next to it? Instead you should map the whole reception area or building etc. --Vclaw (talk) 10:56, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
The problem with 'area' is that a large area could be tagged, what is needed is the smaller area where you get help, not a waiting area.
Amenity has a few tags about 'furniture' - bench, waste_bin etc. I see nothing wrong with tagging furniture that is of use, and is there on the 'ground'.
Mapping a chair that may be easily moved has not been proposed. Warin61 (talk) 00:56, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. In my opinion, the reception is always at the main entrance. Even the building with tourism=information. The tagging amenity=porters_lodge would be more important for companies. On campsites would good the node amenity=reception. Reception desk is always for indoor-tagging. RoGer6 (talk) 16:34, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm still not satisfied. Nevertheless, I agree times for it. However, I will not use the tag. RoGer6 (talk) 07:33, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
I know of two places where the reception is a long way from the 'main entrance' in Australia. Someone else knows of a camp site reception that is a long way from the camp site (Africa I think). So the reception is not always at the main entrance! Warin61 (talk) 00:56, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
I have never ever come across a 'porters lodge' in any company, hotel, motel, camp site or office. They do have reception desks. If you want to tag a 'porters lodge' why don't you propose it? Porter = a person who carries luggage. Porters lodge may be found in university accommodation, not something the general public comes across frequently? According to taginfo there are no uses of porter lodge, there are police transporters 16 off, and court reporters 1 ... but no porters. Warin61 (talk) 02:06, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. this is needed in hospitals and companies (entrance=main does not work there) . I added many in the last weeks. -- Zuse
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. .. with the same reason as Dieterdreist and Vclaw. --Foxxi59 (talk) 04:31, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. —M!dgard [ talk | projects | current proposal ] 15:36, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. Janko (talk) 16:01, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. Althio (talk) 20:52, 21 June 2015 (UTC) The idea is good, but the emphasis on 'desk' in the key/value and description is rather annoying. Following other votes and comments from Brycenesbitt, Tordanik, Dieterdreist, Vclaw. I would prefer a more generic value (say amenity=reception_point) with potential subtagging and optional mention of furniture and desks. Along the lines of (please mix and match):
    • amenity=reception_point +[reception_point=customer] +[furniture=booth]
    • amenity=reception_point +[reception_point=visitor] +[furniture=desk]
    • amenity=reception_point +[reception_point=delivery] +[furniture=door_phone]
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. Skippern (talk) 03:11, 22 June 2015 (UTC) I objected in the first round because of amenity=*, but I am also against the use of desk. Agree with Althio that reception_point is better, but it should be put in another namespace than amenity. This feature has to do with micro-mapping and indoor mapping, and can take any form, not only a desk. I have seen anything from a small hatch in a wall, to a window, to a large waiting room, to a signed point, to a telephone, so calling it a desk will eventually lead to tags such as reception_room, reception_window, reception_phone, etc. Rename it to reception_point and if needed specify the design and nature of the reception with different sub-tags. TL;DR rename reception_desk to reception_point, no to amenity=
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. Warin61 (talk) 10:25, 23 June 2015 (UTC)