Movable feasts

I’m not talking about religious holidays here such as Easter, I just couldn’t think of a better subject line (actually, I couldn’t resist the pun).

There are a couple of places within 10 miles of me that have regular appearances by what wikipedia calls “food trucks” ( In the UK we’d call them vans, rather than trucks, but the point is the same. They supply food (at least one of them does hot food). Each van appears daily at a specific location for several hours. The vans drive there early, open up, serve for hours, then pack up and drive home.

Should they even be mapped at all if they’re not permanent fixtures? At any one time my town has around a dozen vacant shops which stay vacant for months or even years, then a new business pops up, lasts a few months and goes bust. In the long term, nothing is permanent. But even though these are mobile, and might not show up for a day or two because of illness or mechanical breakdown, they are generally regular fixtures. Their whole business model is predicated upon them being in a known location on a regular business. Locals know these vans exist and expect them to be there. They might not be in the exact same location from one day to the next but they’ll be within metres of it. My feeling is that they should be mapped for the benefit of non-locals, but maybe the consensus here will be otherwise.

Assuming that there is general agreement that they should be mapped, the next question is how? Obviously, amenity=fast_food and takeaway=only. But how to indicate that it’s a van/truck? Map an area and flag building=no or even building=truck? After all, building=houseboat exists (and I’ve used it, legitimately, for a nearby restaurant on a converted boat floating in a river).

Any ideas?

Usually they frequent specific locations (such as lay-bys), so it would be justified and legitimate to tag the “pitches” as they are always there, with or without a food truck. But the van itself, well, it may be too volatile and transient to make the cut, like a road which is closed for a few days for resurfacing.

Yep. One of the two I know of frequents a lay-by (which I just added to the map).

In English “pitch” implies an allocated space. If you meant tag the lay-by, I did that. If you meant to actually indicate the pitch, that’s fine but how? It would still need amenity=fast_food to be of any real use. I could pretend it’s an ordinary building but that is a lie (worse, it’s verifiably a lie, so breaks convention). If I just mark it as an anonymous area then no non-locals will see anything useful on the map.

These food vans are regulars. They might have a problem that stops them showing up for a day or two, but small shops can have problems that closes them for a day or two.

Actually, I just did some more digging. I’ve never used the one in the lay-by, only noticed it as I went past on the bus (and it’s been a few years since I’ve used that bus). I just found a stock photo of it on and it appears to be a permanent installation. I can’t see any wheels on it. I’d assumed it had wheels because it’s on the road surface of the lay-by itself, and I would have though the council would have complained about that unless it was mobile, but apparently not. So that one is solved because it’s a fixed building (for very small values of building because it’s essentially a van with the wheels removed).

I also found details of the other one. That actually does have wheels. But it’s on an industrial estate and serves the businesses on that estate. It even has a facebook page and has added a pin for itself on google maps.

So I’m still open for suggestions on the best way to tag these. They’re as permanent as anything is in this world.

FWIW I was initially reluctant to add these since some are clearly transient. However where “They’re as permanent as anything is in this world” I’d definitely add them - is an example of that near me.

I agree that some are transient. I’m not proposing mapping something like an ice-cream van which is pretty random.

That was my thinking too. They’re useful. One day they may no longer be there, but shops also close down.

I did some more digging. The one on the lay-by turns out to be moveable after all: I found other photos of it and it appears to have a decorative skirt around the base covering the wheels, because I can see a ripple in it. It’s clearly a trailer because I can see the tail lights and the towing metalwork. It’s also been operating there for the past 14 years. And their facebook page proudly boasts that when they had a surprise inspection by Environmental Health they got a rating of 5 (the top rating - there are food outlets in town with only a 3). I think it’s definitely as permanent as anything is in this world. :smiley:

Ah-ha! Tagged with building=trailer. Makes sense to me. That saves me digging through taginfo to try to find something suitable. Thanks. Yes, it’s a horrible kluge, but sometimes a mapper’s gotta to what a mapper’s gotta do. :slight_smile: