I am currently leading a global discussion on the best tagging practices for various types of fuel dispensing points of sale:
Background: some new mapper while bike touring in northern Thailand, has decided to convert and map all drummed fuel shops, vending machines and independent gas station on his way as amenity=vending_machine , so there is urgency to document the different categories of dispensing fuel points and figure out some unique way to differentiate them, so these changes can be effectively repaired, and that the community can benefit from these guidelines. Only conventional gas stations have been documented so far.
My aim is to achieve a consensus regarding how to distinctively tag:
Here’s the latest proposal concerning fuel dispensing methods in Thailand:
This proposal represents a well-balanced compromise. It suggests retaining the shop=fuel tag introduced by @AlaskaDave for dedicated stores selling fuel (e.g. barrelled), while also introducing a distinct high-level tag (amenity=vending_machine + vending=fuel) for standalone vending machines, with valuable contributions from @pLoskutov.
Assuming there are no further objections, I intend to proceed with the official wiki update early next week.
The first one does not seem to be functionally different from self-service gas stations that are the norm in most western countries. While in Thailand and most of Southeast Asia serviced stations are the default, there’s established tagging for self_service=yes + full_service=no.
Changing primary tag for such stations from amenity=fuel to shop=fuel would lead to many people not being guided to closest refueling location.
Same for the drummed type, they’re suitable for refilling of vehicle tanks so amenity=fuel seems appropriate.
I think shop=fuel should only be used for POIs where fuel is sold in containers and direct refueling of vehicle tanks is not possible.
If you mean cars by vehicles, both vending machines and drummed fuel shops are not suitable for cars. You can only dispense a few liters at a time, they are 20-30% more expensive and are often closed or out of order. If you are in a car and need gas, you absolutely dont want to rely on them.
I have personally witnessed locals refilling their truck at one of those barrel stations. I have not asked the amount, but given the price and availability of fuel there I would assume that they only fill in 10 liters or so, which give them enough range to drive to the next larger station to completely fill up the tank.
If you drive around by car, it matters whether you can get diesel or 95 octane in enough quantity to reach the next large station.
Others might be interested to get a mix for a two stroke engine.
As data consumer I am interested in the suitability of it for a specific purpose.
The additional tags matter.
No one can expect a 24/7 service of amenity=fuel. As long as you can get some fuel which allows you to drive further, I would tag.
Interpretation of data is then knowledge of local customs. If I expected a clean toilet, a 711 and other things, then I either check map for these features or go with brand names like PTT
I’ve easily been to around 50 of these barrel stations in northern Thailand, and not a single one of them had any diesel fuel.
Valid point, but it’s not uncommon for vending machines to be out of order for several days at a time.
As a motorcycle rider, my main source of fuel in remote areas is usually barreled fuel shops because vending machines are often unreliable. While I don’t have any problems using ‘amenity=fuel’ for all fuel dispensing categories, I do need some additional tags to distinguish between them. What would you recommend?
If you take a close look at the thumbnail images for the tags shop=fuel and amenity=vending_machine + vending=fuel on the global wiki, you’ll see that these images are from Thailand and were uploaded almost 10 years ago.
So, even though we haven’t officially updated the Thailand wiki on this topic, it’s been a valid use-case for a long time.
I’m totally open to changing the tagging proposal, but we need a clear initial solution right now, not in two years, like last time I tried to reach a consensus on this same topic. We can always improve things later.
One of the main reasons our Thailand community has shrunk over the years is because many people have quit due to our inability to agree on various topics. So if you have any concerns, please kindly suggest a convincing practical solution that we could implement immediately (like @Timmy_Tesseract’s alternative tagging for vending machines).
I agree with this.
I’m not sure what tag to use because I’m not familiar with tagging fuel-related things. But at least, amenity=* should be used to direct the user to a certain service. To indicate differences in detail, sub-tags can be used, but I’m still unsure which tag is most suited.
The wiki is unclear because there is still no clear international consensus. I’ve seen some mailing lists around 2015 discussing this subject, but there is no clear solution.
Do not confuse this with amenity=fuel (fuel stations) which sell several varieties of motor fuel in quantities large enough to fill a full-size vehicle or truck.
Fuel shops selling motor fuels are mainly found in rural areas of less developed countries for refueling motorcycles and small tractors. They are often just a house with some barrels or bottles clearly displayed. They are generally not appropriate to refuel an automobile, truck or similar large vehicle due to the larger volume of fuel those vehicles require and the relatively high cost per liter of the fuel. Such shops typically have no signage to indicate their presence nor are any other services available.
This info is from the original shop=fuel wiki page, created by @AlaskaDave after the global community accepted his proposal via the mailing list back in 2015-2017.
Basically, it shows that the original idea was to use this tag for refueling small vehicle tanks with small containers like bottles or barrels. It also indicates that the community already preferred at the time having a separate high-level tag instead of making it a sub-tag under amenity=fuel.
Fine, so perhaps shop=fuel is the most widely accepted for now. I have no objections, however I am curious about the clear criteria used to differentiate between shop=fuel and amenity=fuel. It seems to be a method of storing fuel?
Based on the information I’ve gathered, the primary criteria for identifying such establishments are as follows:
The tag shop=fuel designates places that dispense fuel directly from small containers, such as barrels or bottles.
shop=fuel establishments are generally unsuitable for refilling the fuel tanks of motorcars or larger vehicles due to limited availability, capacity, high prices, and a relatively slow refilling process (each refill tube typically contains 300 THB worth of fuel).
Additionally, though not officially documented, one of the main reasons I believe why some hesitate to classify these shops under the amenity=fuel tag:
A shop=fuel is a small manned unsigned stand located alongside public roads or adjacent to other shops. It may not be considered a service “Station” that offers a drive-through experience within a private retail estate, complete with additional amenities like toilets and retail services (shops, repair, air refill).
Standalone fuel vending machines (amenity=vending_machine + vending=fuel) share similar criteria (2 and 3), with the main distinction being that they provide fuel through automatic vending machines.
I agree with @Julcnx in general. His reasoning makes sense for Thailand and is a workable solution.
To nitinatsangsit’s question, I say if you drive a motorcycle around Thailand you will come to know this type of shop when you see one. They are a completely different operation when compared to a full-service amenity=fuel station. They are of interest to a very limited subset of motor_vehicle drivers.
The entire rationale behind the use of shop=fuel is because of that limited usefulness to the community at large. Would tagging them amenity=fuel be wrong? No, not wrong but IMO, misleading.
Hi @pLoskutov, I’ve checked out the previous tags and Mapillary photos, and I’ve changed about a dozen of these vending machines back to ‘shop=fuel.’ I even spotted a couple of amenity=fuel independent stations with roofs and drive-through, and there’s a good chance they have underground tanks too. By the way, your hundreds of added nodes are pretty awesome and really helpful for the motorcycle community. Keep it up!
Latecomer to the discussion, but while agree with most refinements, I strongly disagree with the change to the fuel vending machine tagging.
Most navigation software will not recognise this combination of tags (amenity=vending_machine + vending=fuel), and if you need fuel come car or motorcycle, your new tagging will hide these nodes.
In Europe, and specifically France, there are hundreds of these fuel stations that vend automatically, with the only pertinent difference being the size of the storage tank. Are you saying this is the deciding factor ? Drum vs something bigger.
Some of these vending machines sell diesel, and that is bound to go in trucks/cars.
Reading the thread, it doesnt seem like a consensus was reached, and nitinganset and timmy appear to broadly support my logic.
Fine, if sold from a drum (or in bottles) and dispensed by a human, I can accept shop along the lines its sold in a similar manner to items in a shop.
If its vended from a pump with a nozzle, thats more akin to a fuel station and should get the amenity=fuel tag. Please change the Wiki accordingly.
I have tagged this way for 10 years and will continue to do so.
Nice to hear from you, and sorry for not reaching out earlier. It seemed like you’d gone off the Thailand radar for a bit.
You’ve made some good points, so let’s dive back into this topic.
From my perspective, we should tag all fuel dispensing points as amenity=fuel, but we still need some concrete and documented subtags to differentiate the three categories (station, vending machines and drummed shop), and without it I felt it might be preferable to employ a distinct high-level tag (@AlaskaDave, @pLoskutov agreed).
That’s accurate, especially regarding OsmAnd, and enabling support for this may take a while.
Good to know, and it seems that some drummed fuel shops also fit into this category, giving us another reason to categorize these dispensing points for cars.
Drummed fuel shops also use a nozzle to dispense fuel, although their mechanism differs from traditional pumps. Nonetheless, their primary function remains refilling motor vehicles (vs other machinery). So, if we’re tagging vending machines as amenity=fuel, I don’t see a reason to distinguish drummed fuel shops differently.