Fuel Station name tags

I have spent a considerable amount of time noting and trying to differentiate between the different type of fuel stations in Thailand … often as I speed past in rural areas.
Rightly or wrongly, in the name= tag, they get some thing like this …

Major branded fuel station - PTT, Cosmo, PT etc etc
Smaller (unbranded) station with electric pumps - Fuel Station
Vending machine type pumps - Minipump
Fuel only in drums - Drummed fuel

Now I know some of you firmly believe the name tag is not to be used for this, but in Thai, OSM is a working tool to many, with people like me, both contributing, and using the data. We cant strap a laptop to our tanks, so a lot of info has to be gleaned simply from the name on a GPS screen

Yes, I don’t want to use drummed fuel in my new fuel injected bike, if there is a bigger station a few km down the road. Conversely, when I’m running short in the middle of nowhere, late in the evening, a 24 hour vending machine (Minipump) offers greater hope than a probably closed Drummed point.

So, I see some of my “Fuel Station” names being deleted, on a point of incorrect tagging ! This is not right. The wiki doesn’t stipulate exactly how the name field should be used in the case of a fuel station, when clearly the station is a small one.

Fine… if u know the real name of the station is Uncle Joe’s Fuel Dispensing Emporium, put it in. Thats right, and I respect it. And if you think I should use name:en= that’s OK too, change it. But please don’t just delete the name leaving a blank field, just because u think it doesn’t conform to your idea of a OSM rule, when I have put a lot of hard work into the differentiation process.

I don’t know the scale of the deletions but I am manually reversing the changes when I come across them … just seems a shame that its taking me away from more important work.


@Russ: I have been wanting to start a thread that would follow up on your last one concerning tagging of these special fuel shops. I’ve been so absorbed with mapping chores that I keep putting it off. This post comes at a good time.

I agree with you that such fueling shops should be in OSM and on my recent trip to Omkoi and Mae Sariang had occasion to use one on the 1099. I’m sure it was one you added, so thanks for that. Since I began working up my own icons and generating my own maps these places show up nicely on my GPS, which after all, has always been our goal. I added a couple of dozen new ones on that tour. And I want to assure you that while I don’t agree with naming these places Bike Petrol or Drummed fuel, I have never deleted or retagged any of them. But I think we can all agree we need a method to distinguish these fueling places from the normal ones.

Currently I apply a custom icon based on some testing I do in my style file when generating a map. This method works for me but it will soon grow cumbersome unless we can agree on a more standard tagging scheme. And of course, most of us don’t want the extra trouble of making our own maps when Lambertus makes it so easy to get them. Anyway, in my style file I check the name tag for either the word “Drummed”, or “Bike” or for the word “kiosk” (which appears in a description:en tag I use when I tag a barreled fuel station); if any of those conditions are true I add the “barreled fuel” icon you see in the screen shot, an icon I created in Photoshop. I use a similar set of tests to apply icons to the newer fuel vending machines that are popping up everywhere. You have been tagging these with name=Mini pump. I tag them with amenity=fuel of course and then I add a tag vending=fuel and several others.

The problem as I see it is that the top level tag, amenity=fuel, means to most of us, a full service station like a PT or Caltex station. Tagging the barreled fuel shop with that tag is correct, but misleading. What if we use a different scheme for those small mom & pop stations and add a new tag: shop=fuel. Adding shops to OSM is done all the time and this is a legitimate type of shop after all.

As for the vending machines. If we could agree to simply add the tag vending=fuel to those, as far as I’m concerned you can name them anything you want. That would solve my problem, and it would constitute correct tagging. These pumps can be used to re-fuel a large vehicle so I see nothing wrong with continuing the use of amenity=fuel for those.

I realize that if you agree to adding the shop=fuel tag that won’t give you what you want unless we can work together to develop a TYP file for our Thailand maps that will allow those fuel shops to display on your GPS as well as mine. Unfortunately, not all Garmins have or use the same codes to display icons so it’s a try this, then try that, approach to get them working. But in the long run I think getting them to render properly on our GPSes is the solution to this problem. After we get the rendering squared away, in my opinion, we should then remove the amenity=fuel tag from those stations.

I’ve attached a screen shot from Basecamp showing two petrol shops on the 1269 south of Chiang Mai, one a vending machine, the other a barreled fuel shop. I force a tag of “Drummed Fuel” on all Bike petrol or drummed fuel nodes and “Fuel-vending” on un-named vending machine pumps.

What do you think?

Creating your own maps is a solution for tech-savvy specialists only - who have been working with OSM and likely sharing their information since a lot of time.
If someone just heard of OSM and wants to get a map, that’s not at all an option. He will look at e.g. the online map - and that does not even display a name if there is a name:en tag only (but no name tag). I do not know how well Lambertus’s maps cope with that (I started creating my own Garmin maps because of other problems with them long ago). And other users may use some apps on their smartphones, again with a different rendering.
Hence from a pragmatical point of view (i.e. someone wanting to use the map), Russ’s use of the name tag seems appropriate.
An additional - new? - tag should be added, and the name tag “misused” until the rendering issues are solved.


I partly agree with you but the issue arises again and again. I have recently been emailing with a new OSM mapper about his tagging of restaurants with name=Noodle Shop. In his words, “I tag them that away so I can see them on the map.” He goes on to say he feels justified in doing that because other mappers are doing the same thing. The petrol station tagging situation feeds into that mindset. I’ll admit it’s tricky working in Thailand because the names of many places are in Thai script making it difficult for most of us to read and copy them, let alone understand them. A major stumbling block too is that this sort of informal naming isn’t consistent; one mapper’s Drummed fuel is another mapper’s Barreled fuel or Bike petrol. An exactly analogous situation applies to the new fuel vending pumps. How should one tag those so they can be seen and distinguished from “real” stations?

If the idea of a shop=fuel were adopted and we could convince Lambertus to render it on his maps, at least then we’d have a workable method of dealing with this issue and can make a strong argument for using a consistent tagging scheme. I don’t know what happened to Russ as he hasn’t made a response to his post as yet but I’m curious to know what you think about the shop idea.

As for making maps, I agree it is a specialist solution and I fully realize most people will not resort to that as a way to solve the problems with the Lambertus maps.
I’m a much happier mapper now that the things that interest me can be found on my custom maps.

I was the one who cleaned up “name=Fuel Station” in changelist 27702310.

I have reverted the changes in 29127630 with the exception of node 3237996399
which was changed meanwhile to World Gas station and node 3237996399 which was changed to “name=minipump”.

I believe this is an abuse of the name tag and sets a bad example for new mappers.
OSM is about structured data collection, not about textual describing geographical features.

If the “name tag” contains more information, as indicated by Russ in his first post, why not tagging and documenting it?

Currently only Russ can use this information. And with this forum post maybe someone who come by this thread by accident.

There is the suggestion to use operator=independent to indicate that the facility is not operated by any big brand name.

So this sounds like a much better tagging than “Fuel Station”.
Is this something we can agree on?

For the automated machines and the drummed fuel it gets a bit more complicated.

Not sure why Russ mentioned an electric pump at the station. the vending machines also use an electric pump.

So maybe the key difference is the amount of fuel on stock and opening hours

Stations typically have large underground tanks.

The vending machines get their fuel from a barrel. The only difference to the barrel with the manual operated pump is that they are automated and open 24/7.
(The accessories list suggest that for the pump are also larger tanks than the default 200 liters available)

Dave has already suggested a tagging for the 24/7 vending machines which sounds very reasonable. This could replace the “Minipump”.

What is left are the manual operated pumps which I believe are called “drummed fuel” by Russ.

I believe Russ is adding very valuable data to map, and I do feel that just reverting it is the wrong approach as we’ll eventually have to go a recollect the information he already collected once. That said, I do tend to move the content of the name tag to a note tag which still makes the data unusable for all practical use cases except for keeping the data around until we have a better tagging scheme.

That said, I do not agree that we decide that something is so important it doesn’t need to be tagged correctly. Everyone views OSM data from a different perspective and we all have different ideas about what is important, the data can be used in more ways than we can ever imagine, and to truly make the data useful to everyone it needs to be structured and without intentional errors. Just adding all unrendered details to name tags is not the right way to go.

We need to spend the time and figure out the correct tagging, and then we need to work with the map renderers and see if we can get our tags rendered correctly, and yes I agree that this whole process can be slow and cumbersome, but it is probably not going to happen unless we actually try.

Russ, I don’t mind doing a day (or weekend) workshop where we can try and work out the issues you are currently facing and trying to find the correct solutions. I would love for other people to join in, especially Dave who already knows about good tagging practices and Garmin Maps. The goal would be to make the data you are already collecting available to you in an acceptable way and having it in OSM with correct tagging. This should also include the whole “Ban ?” problem, which is another abuse of the name tag.

I’ll try and arrange a workshop if this is of any interest to you, please let me know.

I agree and would be available for such a meeting or workshop. I don’t know why Russ hasn’t yet replied to any of this. He went to the UK a couple of months ago but I thought he would be back by now.

Hi Johnny.

I had removed the “name=Fuel Station” on nodes where it was the only other tagging next to “amenity=fuel”. For me it gave no additional value and was an example of “tagging for the renderer”. Just abuse the name tag to have it show up for you.

I have reverted the removal I did and the nodes now have the original “name=Fuel Station” back like Russ entered it.

As Russ has indicated in his first post on this thread there is an additional meaning to “Fuel Station”. He wanted to express that it is a bigger fuel station which is run by an independent company and not by one of the big brands. At least this is how I understood it.

How about adding an “operator=independent” to it? This is the way suggested in the wiki to tag an amenity which is run by something not associated with a big brand name.
I would feel much better if we could get rid of the name=Fuel Station as well but if you guys consider it useful then it is just another opinion. I will follow the decision of the majority of active mappers here.

As the whole topic is having multiple facets, I suggest we focus first on the “name=Fuel Station” before moving the discussion to the other topics.

In our email discussion Russ brought up the idea of adding a tagging of the dispensing of fuel, which I will quote here. Maybe Russ explains the idea further.


The reason Russ and others tag things that way is so that they are visible on their GPSs. Neither my suggestions (shop=fuel and vending=fuel/yes) nor yours will give them what they want, which is a visible name for a place to buy fuel. Until we come up with a solution that renders such objects so they can be seen on a GPS this practice will surely continue. In addition to that, many people come to the OSM project so that they can see their additions to the map. Speaking for myself, since I now can render radio and water towers, I’ve begun tagging more of them. I like the way they look on my GPS screen. Knowing I was the one who tagged them is frosting on the cake.

I have been working on a set of style rules and icons for Garmin maps for some time now. I am quite happy with the results so far but the look and feel of my maps continues to change as my understanding increases and my preferences change. I have posted a sample compiled Garmin map on my Dropbox for any of you that want to see where I’m at with the project. The coverage of the sample is northern Thailand only as it suits my current needs and can be compiled in one shot without additional processing.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/6233140/gmapsupp.img (~12 MB)

This covers the area from Mae Sai to just south of Mae Sot and extends from the Myanmar boundary to the boundary with Laos east of Nan. For those of you with older units (GPS 60Cx, etc.) just copy the gmapsupp.img to your micro-SD card overwriting the one that’s there now. If you want to save your present map, copy the existing gmapsupp.img to a safe place on your hard drive first. If you’re still using Mapsource, I believe the only way you can see this map is to use the first method and then view it with your GPS. One of the good things about Basecamp is that you can display maps from any sort USB connected drive as long as they reside in a folder named Garmin.

For those of you with more modern units that can handle multiple maps, change the name to something that makes sense and load that onto your micro-SD. I call mine Lanna.img. If you would rather just check it out in Basecamp the easiest way to do that is to use a USB stick or compact flash drive from a camera and copy the file into a folder named Garmin on it. You will first need to create that top-level folder if it doesn’t already exist.

Some of you might think my rendering is cluttered because I have added icons for power lines and power towers and some other stuff you might not like. But this is the best way to see where I’m at with the rendering of the fuel stations we were discussing in this thread. Also, because it is a pet project of mine, I have created custom icons for milestones. Keep in mind that this is a work in progress. I’m in North Carolina currently and while I was adding details to the local airport realized that I didn’t like the way runways and taxiways were displayed on the standard Lambertus maps. So I spent a couple of hours changing them to better suit my tastes. And so it goes.

I also put a collection of placemarks that I use for evaluating the icons I’ve created so far. You can load this into Basecamp or Mapsource and check them out for yourself. It is here:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/6233140/Custom%20WPs.gpx (See especially the drummed fuel shop at N18.89128° E98.83366°)

One last note. I have purposely added text that helps me distinguish the various polygons and areas so I can tell at a glance what Garmin code is being used to display them. Orchards, for example, show 10612. This is the Garmin code for an area tagged as landuse=orchard. There are other such labels you might notice that serve a similar purpose. This stuff will all go away when everything is nailed down better. Keep in mind too that some of these icons and areas will not display properly or at all on older units. My Garmin Montana is relatively new and has no problem with 32-bit colors or with the numeric values I’ve chosen to use. YMMV

If you like, I can upload a similar img file once a week so you can see those fuel stops and other amenities that are currently not being rendered by Lambertus.