Thursday, 26 January 2012

Shops that aren't

Sometimes OSM contributors mark a high street business as an "office" rather than a "shop". There is logic in this. Accountants, employment agencies, travel agents, and solicitors are delivering a service rather than offering goods for sale, and they are normally sat at desks rather than behind a counter or a till. But the boundaries between the two can become blurred.

For a number of professions both keys: "shop" and "office" are fairly widely used in the UK.

The chart shows the mix of "shop" and "office" for some of the more common professions on the high street. Each of the labels shows common variants (after the most widespread term).

There seems to be some consensus among contributors that most accountants, employment agents and travel agents work in offices, while most estate agents work in shops. Opinion is more evenly divided when it comes to solicitors and insurance brokers.

The mix of singular and plural forms (solicitor / solicitors) is a bit of a nuisance, but apart from that I've only got a couple of quibbles. To me, saying that a funeral director operates from a shop feels even more odd than saying that they operate from an office (I seem to be in a minority here). And in my understanding "financial services" covers very broad scope. Describing a financial adviser as offering financial services doesn't convey their role very precisely. Unfortunately that's how many of them characterise themselves. So dissent here is likely to prove fruitless.

Personally, I feel pretty comfortable with the other different combinations. For members of the legal profession who deal directly with the public I like to see the term "solicitor" rather than "lawyer" as it is in line with normal UK terminology. And using a mix of "shop" and "office" keys seems both reasonable and manageable.


Rovastar said...

I think many of the trends are what Openstreetmap wiki defines.

Has funeral in there so it is little wonder that that is term people use.

For years didn't even know office existed and I really use it unless for office blocks.

Older tags I imagine would be tagged everything as shop= whatever when office tag didn't exist.

If I am not sure of how to tag something (and i imagine many would do this) I would google for "openstreetmap funeral", etc and see what the common consensus is. And tag it like that.

Rovastar said...

missed off office link