My quest to map the fairgrounds.

Posted by jgon6 on 28 July 2018 in English.

I’ve seen for a while that my county’s fairgrounds are unmapped, but I haven’t mapped them as I have been unable to figure out a good way to tag them. Yesterday I was going though local notes and I saw one that was asking if the fairgrounds were indeed at the location there are at. This got me intrested in tagging them again, so I asked on the OSM-US slack for ideas on how to map them. A few sugestions I got were to use the amenity=festival_grounds or the leasure=park tags.

I like the sound of the festival_grounds tag, it seems like it is just the right tag for a fairgrounds. Then I opened the wiki…

The description on the page for amenity=festival_grounds is describeing an outdoor music venue. The page doesn’t have anything that even resembles a county fairgrounds. This doesn’t add up, so I head over to taginfo to see how the tag is used and where. It has 101 uses total, so it’s not used that much, but it’s more than a couple uses. I can’t use the map on taginfo because the tag is not used enough, so I do a search with overpass-turbo. Overpass shows a asortment of uses around the world, but mostly in America and Europe.

I took the results from my query into Qgis and went though each one placing them into categorys as best as I could. A world map showing the points with the tag I did also convert all of the ways and areas into centriods so they would be easier to see and work with. So without further ado here are the results in order of most to least uses:

  1. (46) Site of festival – This means that a festival takes place here, but the festival is what was tagged and not what is on the ground
  2. (20) Music Venue – This is for outdoor music venues. Places that hold big concerts outside and also could host a music festival.
  3. (16) Fairgrounds – These are areas used by the local comunity to host fairs. They have open areas for outdoor events, but they generally have buildings as well, tracks and grandstands are not uncommon, and they can also have large stages. At least in the midwest of America they generally have animal buildings, as animals will get shown at the fair.
  4. (6) Festival Park – These are parks that host festivals, but when there is no festival they are just a regular park.
  5. (2) Festival Grounds – This catagory holds two places one is a logging show grounds, and the other is called a festival grounds and is land ment for hosting festivals.
  6. (2) Expo Center – These are expo centers, I’m not sure why they are tagged with this tag, but they are.
  7. (1) music Hall – A literal music hall.
  8. (7) Unkown – These are locations that I could not figure out.

How should this tag be used then?

I think the first use runs afowl of “Don’t map temporary events and temporary features” and should not be a way that the tag is used.

Number two, Using the tag on music venues is very cunfossing, and the tag doesn’t fit the use. There is a proposed tag amenity=music_venue The proposal for it says it should only be indoor music venues, but I don’t see why it shouldn’t be used for outdoor venues as well.

Numbers 3, 4, and 5 are each slightly different, but I think each one could be considerd a valid use of the tag.

Numbers 6 and 7 just seem to have a completly differnt use, and I really don’t get why they use this tag. and of course number 8 I just couldn’t figure out what the actual feature was so they are kinda hard to talk about.

As for my local fairgrounds I think the best way to tag it would be with the festival_grounds tag, and of course the name. I know tagging it as a park was also suggested, but it really isn’t a park, so that doesn’t really seem right.

Location: Allen County, Indiana, United States


Comment from Warin61 on 28 July 2018 at 04:13

Humm in Australia we have ‘Show grounds’ .. these usually hold an annual agricultural show with some amusement rides for children. At other times the main ‘arena’ is also used for sporting matches, rodeos and some are used for tourist camping. Fair list of them in Kent show ground in UK mapped as a tourist=attraction Way: Kent Showground (91401877) Newark Show ground in UK mapped as a tourist=attraction Way: Newark Showground (178396540) West Mids Show ground in UK mapped as a amenity=showground Way: West Mids Showground (48473181) Ingliston Show ground in UK mapped as a landuse=grass {idiocy} (100122713) Way: Ingliston Showground (100122713)

Sydney Show ground in Australia mapped as a leisure=recreation_ground Way: Sydney Showground (22943525) Royal Hobart Show ground in Australia mapped as a leisure=park Way: Royal Hobart Showground (27614838)

Lots of inconsistency here. Possibly owing to the varied purposes to which they are put, and the resulting things found there.

Comment from jgon6 on 28 July 2018 at 04:23

Warin61, Those show grounds sound almost exactly like fairgrounds, And the annual shows sound just like our county fair(Which is actually going on right now over here). So I think the same tagging should apply pretty well for both. I would just like to find something that can be used fairly consistently.

Comment from SomeoneElse on 28 July 2018 at 13:02

Yes - “showground” is British English for what Americans would call “Fairgrounds”. Local ones often less permanent - the nearest one to me is just a field with fancy gates 363 days of the year.

Comment from maxerickson on 28 July 2018 at 17:08

Many in the US are tagged as landuse=recreation_ground. I guess it’s mostly my fault.

Comment from apm-wa on 29 July 2018 at 10:54

It seems “show grounds” was proposed in 2010 but never adopted. Perhaps it is time either to revive it or to propose “amenity=fairgrounds”. Such venues tend to be permanent (and in the case of my home county, to host other events throughout the year, not just the annual county fair).

Fairgrounds in my home state of Washington state seem to be tagged either as tourism=attraction or as parks (but they are not really parks).

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