Unusual and not documented shop values in UK

I created listing of unusual and not documented shop values, maybe it will be useful for mappers: User:Mateusz Konieczny/unusual shop values/United Kingdom - OpenStreetMap Wiki

Or more specifically, there are separate lists at:





Note that “unusual and not documented” does not mean “wrong” - many should be simply documented.

Some may be fixable remotely:

  • clear typos (shop=suupermarket)
  • written in language other than English but with clear mapping to local language (for example shop selling meat in Polish is “mięsny”, so shop=mięsny is clearly shop=butcher)
  • too specialized tags (shop=coal is better tagged as shop=fuel fuel=coal, shop=office_furniture as shop=furniture furniture=office, shop=indian_spices as shop=spices cuisine=indian)
  • very clear duplicates (shop=meat_shop vs shop=butcher)
  • shop with website, maybe even linked in OSM object, that allows establishing proper value of shop tag - it is also worth adding website tag
  • in some cases something is clearly not a shop (shop=factory_producing_widgets is likely man_made=works)
  • needed and valid shop value that should be documented at OSM wiki

Some may require resurvey, if one is luckily in your area you can check it. Contacting original mapper may make sense.

Remember, it is better to not edit than break data in case of tagflidling - better do nothing if unclear or unsure.

Let me know if this list is useful but outdated (I will setup refreshing it in such case) or pointless/problematic (I can delete it if it is causing more problems than benefits).

Some improvements can be made to this list… Maybe mark cases with nearby notes opened already so these can be skipped for now? And mark cases where website link is available so these can be processed first?
Cases on "entries from list of suspicious ones: " list can get explanations why this values are treated as invalid. Maybe more.

(helping here is useful as it allows to reduce number of not needed and pointless top-level shop values, on 2023-08-14 we had 11 215 distinct shop values, vast majority bogus, broken or not needed. Reviewing such lists also allows us to spot missing shop values, problems with documentation and presets. Repeated appearance of shop value may indicate that wiki or presets should be improved. Maybe iD translation is bad or requires additional aliases for easier search? Maybe OSM wiki would benefit from translating it to local language or being more clear?)

(I can also generate such listing for other areas, let me know if someone is interested)


Thank you @Mateusz_Konieczny

As someone who is new to this neighbourhood, I would be interested to know how you pulled this list together.

It would seem that this would benefit from a structured approach:

  • Review of list to agree which tags should be added as valid to the official wiki. (Remove those items from the list as they don’t need fixing.)
  • For each remaining category, show the official value and any allowed alternatives.
  • Request for review/survey of those shops that are incorrectly coded.

What I don’t know (I’m new here) and trying to understand:

  • Is there any ‘official’/formal process for reviewing tags and updating the wiki?
  • Are these types of updates (substituting tag A for tag B) something that is normally done programatically (using an official, tested script) or really would require a mapper to review and update each node?
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What I don’t know (I’m new here) and trying to understand:

  • Is there any ‘official’/formal process for reviewing tags and updating the wiki?

no, there is a fornal proposal process which allows to propose, discuss and vote on tagging proposals, https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposal
but the outcome of these votings is not considered authoritative, and often tags get documented by people without following this process. They investigate how the tag is used, start documenting it (typically as “in use”) and with the time, the definition eventually gets refined and improved, ideally as outcome of more community discussion. Everybody just “improves” the definitions without discussion (typically, while ideally changes should be discussed beforehand, but it is not rare that Joe Doe just changes the wiki and we find out by chance some months later).

I think there is some agreement that you cannot change the definition of an approved-through-voting tag definition without a new formal proposal. Generally, the wiki is about documenting the actual use of tags, rather than prescribing how tags must be used.

  • Are these types of updates (substituting tag A for tag B) something that is normally done programatically (using an official, tested script) or really would require a mapper to review and update each node?

substituting tags is something that rarely occurs, almost never, because it is very expensive and takes a lot of time. There is a process, but it is hardly every done:


Queried OSM database with Overpass - Overpass API/Overpass API by Example - OpenStreetMap Wiki

In this case list is generated and published by a script, see OpenStreetMap_cleanup_scripts/note_processing/publish_on_wiki_list_of_weird_shop_values_for_review.py at master - matkoniecz/OpenStreetMap_cleanup_scripts - Codeberg.org

This is being done already, I have a different tool to detect newly documented shop values that get added to list of what is not listed here

In cases where it can be done and makes sense - automated replacement is possible and I done some. See Mechanical Edits/Mateusz Konieczny - bot account - OpenStreetMap Wiki

But it is fitting relatively rarely, typically you need case by case review, sometimes with in-place survey.

For shops finding their websites often helps (and if it was not listed already then adding website tag to their object will help)

Wiki is supposed to document actual tag use and it is not required to go through any formal proposal to edit it.

Though as mentioned - https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposal_process exists and may be useful to gather feedback. In fact Proposal:Shop=tortilla - OpenStreetMap Wiki is going through this process right now.

But for widely used, not documented values proposal process cannot anyway change meaning of what is mapped already.

If someone wants to document some shop value and is unsure at all - then making a thread here on forum (in GB section, in general tagging section, in talk-gb mailing list) would be a good idea.

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+1, usually I think it is better to discuss tagging questions on an international level, because this is where it ends up anyway sooner or later, and if different regions start using the same tag for different things (because they are unaware of the other definition / usage) it is quite bad.

Thank you very much @dieterdreist for taking the time to explain.

Thank you for sharing your code @Mateusz_Konieczny and for your detailed explanation, much appreciated.

I guess I’m wondering how I can help?

Thanks for making this list, what I would find useful is a map with all the shops with undocumented values (e.g. on Osmose, or simply Overpass Turbo). Then everyone could check their neighbourhood. It’s easier to know what to do (e.g. retag to a better value or document) when you know the shop.


I feel like builder’s merchants were discussed recently, I just can’t seem to find where. They sell the stuff needed in bulk in the construction industry, normally aimed ad the trades, but will sometimes sell to “normal” people if they know what they want. Possibly a shop=trade + trade=building_supplies?

I think the shop=taxi thing is probably something that needs a documented tag. We have amenity=taxi for taxi ranks where you can get a taxi immediately, but some companies are only licensed to do “pre-booked” pickups. They might or night not let you book one at their office, but if they do they’ll be assigning someone to “go and pick you up” even if you’re 10 feet away, you won’t just be taking the next one in line. If they don’t allow you to book on premises then office=* would probably work but I think some do?

shop=plumbing pis probably shop=trade+trade=plumbing but some might be craft=plumbing so survey might be needed.

shop=angling looks like it should be a subtype of shop=fishing it’s a bit more general than the subtypes shown there, so probably needs a new tag.


Good idea! This overpass turbo may be useful (but will not autoupdate once new shop values get listed as valid).

Bottom of each list will now include autogenerated and automatically listed query.

oh. that definitely deserve documentation (I was utterly unfamiliar with this specific thing)

Or maybe shop=plumbing_supplies ? At least ones I have seen were used also by regular people (and I heard that shop=trade is supposedly for shops with restricted access, but I also heard other definitions and at this point I am just confused by this shop value)

seemed similar to me but I know approximately nothing about fishing so I hope that someone more knowledgeable will propose and document solution here :slight_smile:

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You can look at overpass turbo and check your local area - are there any shops that would be better and correctly tagged with something else?

If any listed values seems fine and are undocumented at OSM Wiki - then documenting them as valid may be a good idea.

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More candidates for documenting:

  • shop=auction_house (or should it be shop=auction? The split is roughly 50/50)

  • shop=soap

Or maybe shop=cosmetics cosmetics=soap ? (though again, not really knowledgeable about this type of shops and maybe dedicated value makes sense)

Allow me to throw a hand grenade into this discussion:

  • Broadly speaking, it does not matter what shop values are assigned to shops in the “long tail” of values.

If data consumers want to process this data, they can - values in use are available from taginfo. What most do is say “it’s a shop of some sort, so I’ll show it” and/or “it’s particularly common shop so I’ll use a sepcial icon for it”. Worrying about shop=cosmetics; cosmetics=soap vs shop=soap offers far less benefit to OSM when compared to actually walking through a town centre and looking at what has opened or closed recently.

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The fun part is that shop=cosmetics is not in a long tail. See Tag:shop=cosmetics - OpenStreetMap Wiki - over 32k uses, dedicated support in a few places.

If shop selling primarily/only soap can be correctly tagged as shop=cosmetics with some subtags then it can be useful to do so (though if it does not match well then doing this would be tagging for renderer).

And deciding on tagging one way or another (or at least giving hints) helps in mapping. Recently on train station I have seen shop-only shop, from what I remember I ended having problem how to mark it.

I’m proud to have made the list with Mad Hatters hat shop in Brighton :smile: