Zanzibar Building Tagging Guidelines

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This page currently being modified. It is incomplete.
This page describes the subset of Tags that were used for the mapping of the Ng'ambo area, the city centre of Zanzibar, by the NGT team.

This page only contains the detailed description for the Tag. A full list of Tags that you could print out for in the field and should have at hand while digitizing is the Zanzibar Building Tagging Guidelines Summary. <do we need this here?


Urban Typology

Tagging options for the urban typologies of Ng'ambo, according to the NGT team project field survey.
Use of the key urban:typology=* introducing new, more specific for this context values.

The official Proposal for the key:urban is currently a sandbox.
The official Proposal for the key:urban:typology is currently a sandbox.

Urban Typology values

Key Value Description Photo
urban:typology organic_swahili_urban
urban:typology grid_swahili_urban
urban:typology bazaar_street
urban:typology temporary_commercial
urban:typology high_street
urban:typology institutional_complex
urban:typology low_density_suburban
urban:typology karume_new_town
urban:typology public_recreation
urban:typology limited_access_zone


These are the options you can put into the key building=*. You must use an option. When you trace you will almost always put in 'yes', but when you are out in the field, you should pick a more specific value.

Building Function


Key Value Comment Photo
building apartments A building arranged into individual dwellings, often on separate floors. May also have retail outlets on the ground floor.
building hotel A building designed with separate rooms available for overnight accommodation. Normally used in conjunction with tourism=hotel for the hotel grounds including recreation areas and parking.
Hcom 1097758 7 b.jpg
building house A dwelling unit inhabited by a single household (a family or small group sharing facilities such as a kitchen). Houses forming half of a semi-detached pair, or one of a row of terraced houses, should share at least two nodes with joined neighbours, thereby defining the party wall between the properties.
building residential A general tag for a building used primarily for residential purposes. Where additional detail is available consider using 'apartments', 'terrace', 'house' or 'detached'.
Timarpur Residential Complex.jpg


building commercial A building where non-specific commercial activities take place; use office=* to describe the type of office. Consider tagging the area using landuse=commercial. Use 'retail' if the building consists primarily of shops.
building industrial A building where some industrial process takes place. Use warehouse if the purpose is known to be primarily for storage/distribution. Consider using landuse=industrial for the surrounding area and the proposed industrial=* tag to describe the industrial activity.
Eley Industrial Estate1.JPG
building retail A building primarily used for selling goods are sold to the public; use shop=* to identify the sort of goods sold. Consider use landuse=retail for the surrounding area. 100px
building warehouse A building primarily used for the storage or goods or as part of a distribution system.
Eigtveds Pakhus, Copenhagen warehouse.jpg


building mosque A mosque. Used in conjunction with amenity=place_of_worship, religion=*, denomination=* and landuse=religious for the grounds where it is in current use.
Khadija-Moschee (Berlin).jpg
building civic For any civic amenity, for example amenity=community_centre, amenity=library, amenity=toilets, leisure=sports_centre, leisure=swimming_pool, amenity=townhall etc. Use amenity=* or leisure=* etc to provide further details. See building=public as well.
Scarborough Civic Centre.jpg
building hospital A building which forms part of a hospital. Use amenity=hospital for the hospital grounds.
building school For any generic school buildings. Buildings for specific uses (sports halls etc) should be tagged for their purpose. Use amenity=school for the perimeter of the school grounds.
Convent School's Pippal - Convent School Rawalpindi.jpg
building public A public building. Don't use amenity=public_building.
Dominion Public Building.JPG

Other Buildings

building kiosk Use this for single box Duka's that are not inside a bigger building
Kiosk germany.jpg
Need a Zanzibar Picture
building container When a container is used as a building. If there is a shop in the container use 'retail;container'. Need a Zanzibar Picture
building ruins An house, a village or other building abandonned.
building yes Use this value where it is not possible to determine a more specific value.
building construction Used for buildings under construction. Use construction=* to hold the value for the completed building.
Riga, stavba.jpg
Need a Zanzibar Picture

Architectural Style

Tagging options for the architectural style of Ng'ambo buildings, according to the NGT team project field survey.
Use of the key building:architecture=* introducing new, more specific for this context values. Architectural_style

Architectural Style values

Key Value Description (to be edited) Photo (to be filled)
building:architecture classic_swahili ... (to do: add a chapter in Wikipedia "Swahili Culture" page about "Architecture")

Swahili culture or Swahili Architecture? -If we update it yes... we can use that one instead.

building:architecture omani Oman#18th and 19th centuries
building:architecture indian Culture of India#Architecture (RB: I found [1] and there are many more indian Architecture styles on this page, too.) -hmmmm. we wait for the description first.
building:architecture british_colonial Colonial architecture
building:architecture art_deco Art Deco#Architecture
building:architecture modernism Modernism
building:architecture eclectic Eclecticism
building:architecture hypermodern Hypermodernism (art)

Architectural Typology

We should mention how this key relates to building=. Especially for mosque or market_stall. Of the quite generic definition in the previous paragraph, how do we encourage people in the OSM community to use this field and what kind of values do we want them to start using? -Maybe we do that in the proposal page?

Tagging options for the architectural typologies of Ng'ambo buildings, according to the NGT team project field survey.
Use of the key building:architecture:typology=* introducing specific for this context values.

The official Proposal for key:building:architecture:typology is currently a sandbox.

Architectural Typology values

Key Value Description (to be edited) Photo (to be filled)
building:architecture:typology single_storey_swahili Predominantly residential, single storey, multi-functional.
building:architecture:typology modern_multi_storey_swahili Predominantly residential, two or more storeys, built on footprint of single-storey Swahili house
building:architecture:typology post_modern_multi_storey_swahili Contemporary multi-storey buildings built on one- or multiple footprints of an old Swahili house (single_storey_swahili value link here). The post-modern multi-storey Swahili comprises both residential and mixed-use buildings found in the Ng’ambo area. For the time being most of the post-modern multi-storey Swahili buildings are either solitary buildings placed within the context of single-storey Swahili houses or groups of two or more independent buildings built close to each other with little consideration to the neighbouring structure, yet respecting the street line. Post-modern multi-storey Swahili can also be seen as an emerging tendency within the architectural development of the area.
building:architecture:typology suburban_villa Single family house, surrounded by garden, often fenced.
building:architecture:typology apartment_block
building:architecture:typology indian_shopfront Mixed-use, residential and commercial
building:architecture:typology modern_indian_shopfront Three or more storeys, built on the footprint of an Indian shopfront, mixed-use, residential and commercial.
building:architecture:typology arcade_building 1-2 storeys with arcades housing commerce, remaining storeys residential or other use.

Architectural typology mainly found in Dar es Salaam describing multi-storey buildings comprised of shopping arcades on the two first storeys and with more enclosed remaining storeys used for offices, hotels and residential purposes.

building:architecture:typology high_street Multi-storey and mixed-use typically urban phenomenon found in the United Kingdom. It is used as a metonym for the concept of the primary business street of towns or cities especially to distinguish it from more concentrated city centres. As Ng’ambo lacks a clearly defined CBD we have decided to borrow the High Street concept to define streets with high concentration of business developed in recent years.
building:architecture:typology public_school
building:architecture:typology madrasa
building:architecture:typology mosque
building:architecture:typology market_stall
building:architecture:typology others Leisure /tourism - sport clubs/clubs/guest houses/hotels etc.

Building Structure

Tagging options for the building structure [1], meaning building technologies or main materials of buildings found in Ng'ambo, according to the NGT team project field survey. Use of the key building:structure=* introducing new, more specific for this context values.

The key building:structure is different than the key building:material as building:material describes only the outer layer of the building or roof. It is used by 3D rendering engines. building:structure describes how the building/roof was constructed. eg. a building:structure=cement_blocks may have material=metal or material=plaster depending on what the ultimate finish layer of the building is.

The official Proposal for the key:building:structure is currently a sandbox.

Building Structure values

Key Value Description Photo
building:structure wattle_and_daub Wattle and daub is a composite building material used for making walls, in which a woven lattice of wooden strips called wattle is daubed with a sticky material usually made of some combination of wet soil, clay, sand, animal dung and straw.

Wattle and daub

Spiro wattleanddaub HRoe 2005
building:structure concrete_frame_and_cement_blocks Building technique in which concrete counteracted with steel reinforcing bars is forming the building’s structural system, while the filling of walls is made of cement blocks.

Reinforced concrete

Photo Courtesy: NSET
building:structure cement_blocks Masonry technique of making mainly one floor buildings with cement blocks and a binding material. Sometimes reinforced with simple concrete rings.

Concrete masonry unit

building:structure coralstone_and_lime Masonry technique of making stone structures from a type of limestone called coralstone, a binding lime mortar and lime plaster.

Limestone Lime (material)

building:structure makeshift "Acting as an interim and temporary measure” [2]

A structure that was made with whatever material was around to meet a certain immediate need.

Building Condition

Tagging options for the physical condition of buildings found in Ng'ambo, according to the NGT team project field survey.
Use of the key building:condition=*.

Building Condition values

Key Value Description
building:condition good
building:condition average
building:condition poor
building:condition ruinous
building construction Under construction state.

Building Levels

Tagging for the number of levels/storeys found in Ng'ambo buildings, according to the NGT team project field survey. Use of the key building:levels=*.


Tagging options for the roof structure [3] found in Ng'ambo buildings, according to the NGT team project field survey. Describing the two main parts of a roof. Its supporting structure and its outer skin, or uppermost weatherproof layer. [4]

Use of the key building:structure=* introducing new, more specific for this context values.

The official Proposal for the key:roof:structure is currently a sandbox.

Roof Structure values

Key Value Description Photo
roof:structure concrete Concrete slab.

Concrete slab

roof:structure timber_frame_and_metal_sheets Supporting frame is structured with a framework of a timber roof truss, covered with corrugated iron sheets.

Timber roof truss

MountLawleyRooftops gobeirne
roof:structure timber_frame_and_roof_tiles Supporting frame is structured with a framework of a timber roof truss, covered with roof tiles.

Roof tiles

roof:structure bushpole_frame_and_makuti Supporting frame structured with bush poles and roofing made of makuti thatching.

Makuti thatching Thatching

Malindi town view