Proposed features/Shelter

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Status: Proposed (under way)
Proposed by: FrankM
Tagging: amenity=shelter
Drafted on:
Proposed on: 2006-12-20

New values: amenity=shelter

A typical shelter hut in Germany

Some hut to protect against bad weather conditions.

I use it for roofed benches in a forest, but it could also be used for a Bothy [1] or small alpine huts.

Possible icons:

originally proposed (A) Icon-shelter-overview.png

(B) Amenity-shelter.png 24 px

(C) Amenity-shelter2.png 24 px

I did some SVG Icons for this feature, including a "fireplace" indicator to represent shelters that include a fireplace (maybe tagged with "amenity/building=shelter fireplace=yes"?) - Grenzdebil 12:56, 5 November 2007

You can also find SVG versions of these icons made by him at -- Ulfl 18:42, 5 November 2007 (UTC)


  • Good idea. I'd point out for other readers that this is primarilly (only?)for hikers. building=shelter might also be an alternative. description= has just been voted into the standard feature set and can be used to describe what the tired, wet walker might expect when arriving there. MikeCollinson 08:21, 11 June 2007 (BST)

building=shelter is a better choice. --Hawke 22:01, 11 June 2007 (BST)

As in shelter from mountain weather as opposed to a bus shelter? ShakespeareFan00 23:26, 22 October 2007 (BST)
  • I support this proposal. I'd prefer distinguishing building=shelter for all kinds of shelters, while this proposal IMO is about dedicated shelters spread over the woods to protect hikers from sudden raindrops. I'd thus prefer amenity=shelter --SlowRider 21:45, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
  • building=shelter might be better. Round here (western outskirts of london) we have several old bus stop shelters dotted around where the bis stop has moved. It would be nice to map them as locals are getting the council to repair/keep them. - LastGrape
  • I would prefer bivouac, which in the moutains refers to anything protecting more or less from bad weather. And some bothies are not build at all: see the massive stone in Cairngorm. Gummibaerli 17:03, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
[2] is a temporary camp made of tents, not really appropriate. at least in english, anyway. Myfanwy 23:07, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Careful with this one - at least in Scotland, it's considered bad form to reveal the location of bothies (fear of vandalism etc.) Ojw 12:22, 23 September 2007 (BST)
  • Can this be used for Fallout shelter or Bomb shelter or war shelter or what are this things called in english? there are hundreds of these things in Czech Republic, and they are active and (should be) ready for use.--Walley 21:26, 30 September 2007 (BST)
not really, they are more for walkers, although the bomb shelters could be used for this as well, if they're open access. Myfanwy 23:07, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

  • I'm aware that the raindrops in the icon probably took the most effort. But actually I find them a little disturbing and would consider the icon better (striaght forward) without them -- Fröstel 01:22, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
  • @Fröstel: This would be no problem at all since its a svg file. I added them to make clear that it's a shelter for weather protection. If this is recogniseable without the raindrops, there is no problem with simply deleting/disabling thier layer in the file. BTW:

I support this proposal in the form of amenity=shelter plus the abovementioned fireplace indicator Grenzdebil 10:30, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

  • i think this would be better moved to building=shelter , there's no particular reason for singling out these for mapping differently Myfanwy 23:07, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
    • I believe amenity suits it better because building describes the physical appearence. When I'm looking for a shelter on the map I a) want to see a propper icon instead of a tiny square and b) Don't care about the physical appearence, wheter it's a classical hut, a specially equipped cave, a steel container or whatever. It just needs to be a designated shelter. Would your argumentation also apply on fuel_stations, airport-terminals, and all other POIs/amenities situated in their own building? -- Fröstel 10:58, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
      • I'd agree on additionally using something like building=hut, which could then also be applied to private garden sheds and alike to describe the physical appearance of things. -- Fröstel 10:58, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
  • There are more than hundred amenity=shelter in planet.osm by now. IMHO we should vote on this soon. -- Fröstel 12:46, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
  • After checking the dictionary I lost confidence in shelter. maybe amenity=bothy or amenity=refuge suits better. Native speakers please! --Fröstel 14:59, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
  • My vote - amenity=shelter. The icon with fire would be my choice, or (one similar to) the one I created - with a person in the shelter instead of the fire. --Laznik 20:38, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
  • My vote - amenity=shelter with the option of fireplace=yes|no. This is highly useful if you are out there hiking and lots of commercial topo maps get this wrong. - robberknight 30 May 2008
  • meanwhile I got the impression that it made sense to create a key of its own. Someone even pointed out that there are special shelters in eastern european countries whose intention was to protect people from nuclear fallouts. Was it worth to have a key named refuge with various values like refuge=shelter refuge=bothy refuge=biwakschachtel ... ? --SlowRider 22:51, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I'd go for a new category that collects emergency/protection places. Within this (refuge/shelter/...) category could be distinguished between things like "alpine hut", "alpine hut with winter room", "shelter stone", "bothy", "biouvac" (different grades possible), "first aid boxes" (eg. in german climbing areas"), refuge/shelter hut/cave,... Short Description: A place where travelers find protection or means of help in times of need. (I admit,that alpine huts are somewhere between refuge and hotel nowadays, I'd go for the historic usage there unless the touristic aspect is overwhelming.) --Larsf 21:06, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
  • I vote for shelter instead of refuge whether we go for amenity=shelter or a shelter category. I'm not sure if we need to distinguish between refuges and caves etc that all provide shelter, but it probably doesn't hurt, either. As for the Icon, i#d vote for Icon a, and also think it probably would look better without those raindrops. --Mike` 15:39, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
  • I vote for amenity=shelter, too. Because shelter is not that specific and can be used for more general descriptions. For more detailed descriptions I think we can add a option like type=alpine_hut/nuclear_protection or building=bothy or something similar. - For the Icons: I like the yellow-ones from (A) (with and without fire, depending on the option fireplace=), but I also like the idea auf (C) (without the walls), to show if the shelter has wind-protection or not (or if it's completely closable?). I think Version (A) with/without fireplace and with/without walls could be nice :) S.A.L. 08:28, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm guessing a lean-to goes into this category as well (type=lean-to). They are quite common in Sweden as night shelters for hiking trails and I'd like a proper tag for them. And Ojw: I really don't think the generic vandal use a map as a reference for objects to vandalise. --Bengibollen 23:31, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
  • I think the building=shelter would be a better idea, since it is a building (and not a 'feature of a neighborhood'(google:def)). The idea of using a fireplace indicator is also nice, although I don't know any shelters in Austria where it would not be possible to lighten a fire. The only contra is, that for me a shelter is more an emergency bivouac than a hood you showed on the picture above... --Uhu01 02:21, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Hm, I consult my pillow several days and I think building=shelter could be a better choice. By the way, for none-native speakers (like me), to understand what shelter could be mean: I watched the movie "I am legend" with Will Smith yesterday in english. In one scene he makes a radio-broadcast to inform other living people, that he's alive and, I invoke "I can provide food and _shelter_" (he has a big house with security doors). So I think shelter is not only a small hut where you are protected against rain etc. S.A.L. 09:07, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
    • Shelter means cover against the (physical) dangers out there. In a world full of zombies that's a house with security doors, but on a hiking trip in our normal world where the greatest danger comes from the wheather that's a small hut. --Fröstel 00:00, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
      • Yes, thats what I tried to say :) S.A.L. 10:29, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I think amenity=shelter is a good idea, because most buildings are tagged with amenity. fireplace=yes/no could be helpfull if you are hiking,riding,cycling on tour. --Manfred P 23:44, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

8 month later... I think people are tagging with this as they understand it. I fear "shelter" is not precise enought. It might cover really different cases and turn the data into a rough guess. A rough guess is better than nothing but I'd like to make some refinement, and I propose Proposed_features/wilderness_mountain_buildings Sletuffe 16:16, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

  • It's not necessarily a building, man_made, natural, or for leisure/tourism. I'd consider amenity=emergency_shelter for it but I'd worry that would quickly get confused with large bomb/hurricane/homeless/domestic violence shelters for large numbers of people in cities.
tourism=Proposed_features/bothy is similar but it is more like a standard back country hut here (with fireplace and windows, walls, and other nice things to have when cold and wet).
leisure=Proposed_features/wilderness_mountain_buildings doesn't quite fit either, but see the talk page there for an extensive discussion.
--Hamish 12:33, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
  • In my opinion the tag shelter is a little bit too generic. I suggest to specify additionally the type of use, for example amenity=shelter with shelter=hiking (this may be default), but also shelter=fallout or shelter=bomb for other types of shelters. --Scai 16:57, 17 July 2010 (UTC)