How are trolley bays tagged?

My question is in the title. If I map an amenity=trolley_bay that looks like the picture in the wiki page, should I add building=* to this area? If yes, what value?

As of now I can find amenity=trolley_bay (9719x) with

  • no building=* (8169x)
  • building=roof (668x)
  • building=yes (510x)
  • building=shed (273x)
  • building=shelter (73x)
  • other building=* (26x)
  • covered=yes (1554x)
  • covered=no (84x)

Alternatively there is

  • amenity=shelter + shelter_type=shopping_cart (deprecated, 416x)

The only discussion I was able to find is this nearly 10 years old German discussion that does not seem to be up to date:

The tag amentiy=trolley_bay incorporates the trolley shelter which I would not understand as a building generally. That said I would not add any building=* tag at all.

How do other see this? I am never realy sure what a building realy is and I know that this is a never ending topic at OSM. How would you distinguish the two trolley bays down below? With covered=yes/no?

As of now building=* is used about the same number of times like covered=yes for amenity=trolley_bay. Probably both have the same meaning. That tells me that the current documentation is not clear enough. I would like to improve the wiki page of amenity=trolley_bay to make this clear. But for that we should first have consensus on how to actually map a trolley bay.



I fully agree with you that this is a never ending story in OSM and will always be. For me such man_made structure is not a building but others will surely see this different.

I have never even thougt about a separate tag to differentiate between a covered and an uncovered trolley bay. In fact I have never ever seen an uncovered trolley bay although having travelled half of the world. If I would want to make that difference I would surely use covered=yes instead of building=*. I strongly believe many building=* tags are mainly set to make sure the object being tagged will be renedered in carto.


I just found the definition of a building according to OSM:

In OpenStreetMap, a building is a man-made structure with a roof, standing more or less permanently in one place.


If we use this definition, then a lot of the trolley bays would be a building=*.

I agree. We should not use building=* just to render the trolley bay but we should also not leave building=* out just because some people missuse it. We should use building=* when we map a building, without considering rendernig. From my point of view, a trolley bay with a roof schould be a building=*. Like I said, covered=yes is about as popular as building=* for amenity=trolley_bay. That does not seem like consensus among mappers.

Do we have consensus on this forum? Which tags would you add to the amenity=trolley_bay seen on the photo below?

  • covered=yes
  • building=*
0 voters

I am aware of that and it is the only case where I prefer the description given on the german wiki page saying:

Der Schlüssel building wird zur Kartierung von Gebäuden benutzt, siehe Gebäude auf Wikipedia.

where the definition ist

Ein Gebäude ist ein Bauwerk, das Räume einschließt, betreten werden kann und dem Aufenthalt von Menschen, Tieren oder der Lagerung von Sachendient.

For me that does not include the plasic box were the trolleys are collected but the definition is ambiguous enogh to cover most man made structures, even gas tanks, grit silos and the like so one could well use it for the trolley bays as well.

Yes, but you mentioned the “German” translated Wikipage here; however, the English one is decisive. And here I refer to the previously mentioned definition:


Thus, the roof cannot be represented by a covered=*, it simply means that this object is under the roof.

1 Like

I think you are right. The thing that protects the shopping carts from the weather is a building=* and the fact that the place offers shopping carts to borrow makes this building an amenity=trolley_bay.

If I wanted to map the trolley bay down below, that would be an amenity=trolley_bay + covered=yes within a building=retail.


And consequently this trolley bay would be an area with amenity=trolley_bay + building=yes (I can’t find a better fitting building=*-value).

1 Like

I am aware of that an I pointed out in my post that this is the only case so far where I prefer the german wiki page instead of the english one. I am also aware that OSM maintains its own terms and definitions which are different from real life wording but I still believe the closer we stay to real life language the easier tagging would be for everyone, specially newcomers.

In real life, not many people would call such a trolley plastic box a “building” imho. In OSM we do, and
the result of this practice is such a tagging mess:

Unfortunatly I can’t see any consensus on this topic. The poll has currently 8 votes with a 3 to 5 distribution. The only consensus that seems to exist is that the current situation is a mess. Does anyone have an idea how to deal with this situation?

The Carrefour one with two plexiglass sides and other pimped trolley bay areas on parkings I’ve tagged as

and the fancy ones

roof:shape=round or gabled

but then it iffy as roof requires the use of a layer=1 turning the bay into a floater if mapped as one object finding a few hits in TagInfo of cover:shape= circular and square.

Not in favor of putting building tags on these bays, but a building:roof as area plus a centred node for amenity=trolley_bay +covered=yes + trolley:deposit=yes (latter tag 1.4K uses) would do it for me as closest sans conflict.

Like the trolley:deposit=yes noted in the wiki, 1 Euro usually and the super helpful on the parking who’re offering to roll your cart back to the bay.

building=yes is too much for me if out on the parking, similar to discussions of bus stop shelters with 3 seats, 1 side open is a building or not.

1 Like

Ich habe fĂĽr building=yes abgestimmt, besser natĂĽrlich building=roof die trolley_bay entweder dazu oder als Punkt mittig.
Hintergrund, wenn der Supermarkt auszieht bleibt das Dach im Regelfall stehen und nur die trolley_bay verschwindet.