Inviting suggestions for Indian POIs

(In a spirit similar to an earlier thread…)

Earlier, @NLBRT raised the issue of India-specific tags on the wiki. Later, we put together a list of features for which we were unable to find documented tags -

  1. A tea vendor, usually a street vendor on a push cart (but sometimes a shop in a building). May have benches or other impromptu open-air seating nearby. amenity=cafe doesn’t seem to be a good fit. Not to be confused with shop=tea, which sells tea leaves and/or tea bags.

  2. A panwādi AKA paan vendor. Usually part of a building, but sometimes in a kiosk. May also sell (traditionally) Gulkand - Wikipedia and (in recent years) tobbaco products (cigarettes, bidis), snacks, etc.

    This was discussed in the room. shop=paan was proposed first. shop=betel was suggested to avoid confusion with “pans”, and may be acceptable if an English word is preferred. shop=betel_quid may be more accurate.

  3. A digital services shop. Services include phone recharge, train/plane tickets, application for various government schemes (ration card, Aadhar card, etc), and/or money transfer. May or may not be government-appointed. Frequently overlaps with copy shops and/or cyber cafes.

    • Perhaps we need a service:* prefix. Some of the above services are also provided by other shops, such as mobile shops and convenience stores.
  4. An office for a tent provider. They set up large “tents” (and tables, seating, etc) for outdoor Indian events e.g. weddings. Some also provide catering services.

  5. An office for booking a musician or an ensemble. These provide musicians (typically one of two kinds - a brass band, or a dhol player) for hire, typically for wedding processions.

Please provide suggestions on how to tag the above.


Street vendor type coffee places are quite common in the UK, either a mobile van or a simple kiosk on stations. I think these have still been tagged amenity=cafe, but with street_vendor=yes. I presume street_vendor=yes implies location=outdoor, but it might be sensible to make this explicit. I see I once used kiosk to map such a place. This is a very underused tag even in North America and Europe, but is nigh on essential in many other countries.

There are a number of values for the cafe tag, but perhaps cuisine is most often used to identify the sort of place it is (e.g., cuisine=tea|teahouse|coffee_shop).

Similarly there are multiple kinds of street-based fast food vendors across Europe: roast chestnuts, roast potatoes, pretzels, bratwurst, pies, burgers, kebabs … . Although fast_food doesn’t suffer as much from associated connotations as cafe.

Places hiring out larger tents for events usually use “marquee hire” in their description in UK (random example), even if their offerings are more broad ranging (these days often including yurts, although I have no idea how authentic they are). I think these all have a service where they erect the tent and dismantle it. I would therefore suggest office=marquee_hire. Other alternatives would need to discriminate between regular camping tents and the larger event marquees, but at least here office is the appropriate key. Also check the rental key: a couple of values event and party may overlap.

1 Like

Thanks for the suggestions!

amenity=cafe + street_vendor=yes + cuisine=teahouse sounds good for the push-cart tea vendors, although I’m not sure street_vendor=yes suits the ones set up in a building. I was hoping for some way to differentiate such lower-priced places from what Indians actually expect from a “café” (which is significantly more upscale). Perhaps cuisine=teahouse, the location, and the (usual) lack of name=*, indoor seating, and airconditioning for such places will prove to be a sufficient differentiator…

Aha! I was certain there was a different term for “tent” in these situations, but was unable to find it as I wrote the post. “Marquee” it is indeed. I’ll try to make a proposal for office=marquee_hire.

Inspired by office=marquee_hire, I looked for values of office=* containing “music” - there are
10 office=music,
5 office=musician,
one office=music_group (apparently added by me, and subsequently forgotten :face_with_raised_eyebrow:)
and one office=music_agency.
Looking up the accompanying tags for these on Overpass Turbo, all uses of office=musician seem to fit the intended meaning for #5. I guess we could use office=musician + musician=* (with one or more values like brass_band, dhol, etc). I’ll try to make a proposal for this, too.

Cuisine teahouse is a little problematic as it can mean a place where you get a formal afternoon tea in the UK (posh & expensive), Welsh cafes in Argentina (nice, not too expensive, but absurd quantities of cake), traditional Casa de Te in Argentina, etc. Wikipedia gives a reasonable overview. I would also have expected it to be used on places on trails in Nepal, but I don’t think it has been. Not too much of a problem if used consistently within an area.

As an aside I was a bit surprised that neither ginseng nor [yerba] mate featured in tags to do with cafes.

English word is definitely preferred. Note that betel shop are also elsewhere.
See say shop=areca, shop=Areca, shop=Betel_shop, shop=betel_nut

I discussed maybe similar shop type in Changeset: 139617225 | OpenStreetMap (but maybe it is distinct? This shop type mentioned there seems to have some a bit unusual specific)

or maybe shop=marquee_hire ?

(office= tagging is problematic as it merges internal offices and places where clients can walk in and order some service)

All the ones in the UK are offices. You phone them up, discuss requirements, agree a contract. They turn up, pitch the marquee (usually morning of the event), provide anything else (chairs etc), and then remove everything after the event. Larger marquees take rather longer to assemble & these are definitely provided by specialist offices.

This may be one of those things which is a shop in some countries or an office in others.


some other tags to make explicit: indoor_seating=no, (what about outdoor_seating=?), toilets=no

As for the seating, perhaps.

What’s up with toilets=* though? Does amenity=cafe/restaurant imply that there is one? If so, can’t just street_vendor=yes imply the opposite, with the obvious exception of just using toilets=*?

Perhaps we need a service:* prefix. Some of the above services are also provided by other shops, such as mobile shops and convenience stores.

Either this, that is, service:* (to specify wide range of loosely related services) with just shop=yes, OR shop=digital_services, depending on what’s easier and/or more significant.

For India, you’ll find a multitude of these shops scattered all across the country, and it’s more or less of a culture here, so I think adding shop=digital_services will be the most easy and worthy solution.

Just thought of another one, Ghats. There was a thread in the previous Community Forum about this exact thing, but there’s some stuff which needs to be mentioned IMO.

In many places (or at least per my observation in West Bengal), Ghats are more than just steps and also includes the river banks, levees/retaining walls and small portions of area beyond the steps. Therefore, we can make use of the following for effective addressing in remote areas.

Keeping that in mind, we can possibly make use of the tag place=ghat, given that it perfectly fits the definition, i.e, “to indicate that a particular location is known by a particular name, to indicate what sort of ‘place’ it is.”, and “…regardless of administrative status, and also for notable unpopulated, named places.”

Do let me know what do you guys think of the same.

1 Like

Or place=locality, locality=ghat which would render the locality key has been used extensively in Ireland for townlands and subtownlands.


Sounds good to me, but I think that use case should be documented on the wiki.

It has been since 2014

I’ve added a summary to the page for place=locality.

1 Like
  1. May I know how is the selling of gutka, and paan masala, handled now? I imagine they should be examined together before deciding on =betel* specifically. While specific items may be considered, there are yet further regional variations on what are sold together or relatedly.
    I’m reminded of cuisine=bubble_tea from Taiwan, which is used on =cafe or =fast_food , and attempted to be voted for amenity=drinks . Will shop=snacks be applicable if it can be seen as a “snack”? 檳榔攤的Tag要如何標?想到的一些想法。

The sale of gutka (Often labeled as “Paan Masala”, which serves as a loophole for advertising) and Paan Masala are mostly done through either:

  • dedicated makeshift kiosks along the roadside, or
  • upsold by a tea vendor, along with other stuff like cigarettes, or
  • Kirana stores

Meanwhile, Paan (as in both the individual betel leaf and the betel quid) are sold mostly through the same dedicated kiosks, or “variety” stores (analogous to Kirana stores), often recognised by the presence of a small case made of glass with the betel leaves in display on the counter.

However, none of the aforementioned stuff are a “snack” in any way and are usually consumed after a meal to help with digestion or to eliminate bad breath/mouth odour.

=snack is only the remote closest I can think of that exists, showing there’s no general category for these “refreshments”. What I thought is the new dedicated shop= should be able to handle of these.

At a recent OSM Bengaluru meetup we came across a few items which were not easy to add to the map:

  1. Hot chips (hots) that are usually fried and spicy snacks. Possibly can be added as shop=snacks, maybe with cuisine=hots_chips?
  2. Traffic police boxes: small sheds for traffic police to wait and be protected from the weather. Might sometimes have controls for the nearby traffic lights and a loud speaker to shout at the traffic. Usually blocks the sidewalk.
  3. Wholesale depots - Tiny corner stores that deliver rice at wholesale prices
  4. Oil shop - shop that sells various cooking oils

Any ideas on what would be desirable tags for these?


To add,

  1. waste/scrap shops (kabadiwala) shop=scrap?
  2. puncture repair and tyre changes (for bicycles, motorcycles, cars and maybe heavy vehicles). No other repairs or fixes done. shop=puncture_repair?
  3. water filter sales and service. shop=water_filter. Might also add tank cleaning, domestic/commercial RO installation and other services.
  4. Gold Loan banks. These are larger and more formal than shop=money_lender. Can office=financial be applied?
  5. Flour mill. Small shops with a couple of small grinders that grind and/or sell flour, batter and masala. It is definitely not at industrial scale. shop=flour_mill?

recycling center might make more sense since we sell scrap to them?

shop=tyres + service:bicycle:tyre_repair=yes + … Key:service:vehicle:* - OpenStreetMap Wiki* seems to fit what existing routers/maps would expect. We can explicitly add service:vehicle:tyres=no to indicate that tyres aren’t sold.

Makes sense

craft=flour_mill since they are producing the flour right there. craft | Keys | OpenStreetMap Taginfo

1 Like