Vending machine style petrol stations


I’ve been noticing many unattended petrol pumps around northern Thailand. I’m thinking these will probably eventually replace the little mom & pop petrol sellers where you buy gasoline from a hand pumped barrel or liter bottles.

I want to discuss how to tag these pumps so we can be consistent, at least in Thailand. There is a Wiki page already dedicated to payments of this type, so it’s just a matter of clarifying what we want to include. I have been photographing these stations for some time but regrettably have not tagged them in any special way except to use the tag “opening_hours=24/7” so hopefully I can use Overpass to find those and retag them after we conclude this discussion.

Now, I also must admit to not visiting one of these stations until yesterday when one of our group discovered he was running out of fuel on a notorious stretch of R 11 south of Lampang. I say notorious because there are no mapped petrol stations (as yet) between Lampang and Den Chai. We stopped and asked about fuel and were directed to one of these pumps. It is situated in Mae Long on route 1023 just west of R 11 . My friend bought 100 baht worth of gas and we were off again to Lampang. But I did not see a way to use either an ATM card or a credit card. This particular pump had the name “Singer” on it but I think that would be the same manufacturer who makes so many other vending machines in Thailand, Singer Thailand PCL. Other such pumps I’ve tagged display what I presume to be operator’s names on them, e.g., Red Oil, etc. My friend used a 100 baht note in this one and my photo indicates that it will also accept coins. (I have not put it on the map it as yet.)

Do any of you have experience using them? Can some accept debit or ATM cards? Credit cards?

To continue, the question is how should we tag these?

Obviously, amenity=fuel, but then

payment:notes=yes, OR better yet, seeing as it accepts both coins and notes, payment:cash=yes

I think opening_hours=24/7 would be correct but I’m not positive about that.

How about using a ref=* tag if the machine is located on a classified highway? The example for amenity=vending_machine possibly uses the ref tag in that way. I love this idea because then renderers would have a way to include some very useful information in the display in the future. Note too that we cannot use the tag amenity=vending_machine because we must give precedence to the tag amenity=fuel.

Suggestions? Comments?

I vote against using the ref tag. It is not the ref number of that station.

What would be extremely useful might be to tag the type of fuel available. Routing software can use this to guide you to a suitable station. So distinguish between benzin, diesel, mix for small bikes or lpg.

I checked for the ref tag in conjunction with amenity=vending_machine and found many of that combination in one small city in Germany. Then, just for comparison I checked the NY City and Washington DC areas and found no matches at all. In the entire city of New York, there have been only 4 vending machines tagged and none of those have a ref tag! In all of SE Asia there are only 11 vending_machine tags extant.

Talk about German thoroughness. Cigarette machines, parking lots, bus stops, all fall into the German scheme of tagging literally everything in sight. LOL

So, Stephan, what is the ref tag used for in those cases? Is the ref a number found somewhere on the machine itself? What meaning does it have and why is it useful information for OSM?

Can you provide a link to one of those vending machines with a ref?

Here are a few in Wurzburg, Germany, from Overpass:

“type”: “node”,
“id”: 295542971,
“lat”: 49.7942408,
“lon”: 9.8998807,
“tags”: {
“addr:city”: “Würzburg”,
“addr:country”: “DE”,
“addr:housenumber”: “75”,
“addr:postcode”: “97082”,
“addr:street”: “Frankfurter Straße”,
“amenity”: “vending_machine”,
“name”: “Packstation 104”,
“operator”: “DHL”,
“postal_code”: “97082”,
“ref”: “104”,
“vending”: “parcel_pickup;parcel_mail_in”,
“website”: “

“type”: “node”,
“id”: 382314747,
“lat”: 49.8024325,
“lon”: 9.9567495,
“tags”: {
“amenity”: “vending_machine”,
“ref”: “P Kasse 61”,
“vending”: “parking_tickets”

“type”: “node”,
“id”: 910524142,
“lat”: 49.7838236,
“lon”: 9.9548782,
“tags”: {
“amenity”: “vending_machine”,
“operator”: “Ehmann”,
“payment:coins”: “yes”,
“payment:electronic_purses”: “yes”,
“payment:notes”: “yes”,
“ref”: “49717”,
“vending”: “cigarettes”



OK, had some time to find them myself now:

I am guessing the numbers used as refs are physically written somewhere on the vending machine, and not related to any nearby road.

We should probably get back on topic.

How do we tag fuel drums and vending machines? I have been unable so far to find any previous examples, but I haven’t spend too much time on it either.

just to clarify these ref numbers.
Machines selling tickets usually have a ref number. If the machine is broken you can call the company and report that exact machine. If you happen to be in the subway without valid ticket and you can tell the ref number of the broken machine you won’t be fined.
Other ref numbers refer to automated parcel handling machines. You use the ref number to address your parcel to be picked up there.

So clearly something else an not suitable for your purpose.

How important is it to tag it as a fuel drum?

When you’re driving around and running low on petrol you won’t care about that, right?
The important information would be whether it’s open (opening_hours) and whether it serves the type of fuel you need.

If you want a “proper” or specific station you will select in your navigation system by operator/brand tag.

I guess the drum part is not really important, except that you can’t get a car close enough in some places. But that might just be a case of “car=no;hgv=no” or similar.

Well for my five cents, I map a load of “jungle trails” and knowing the location of Drummed Fuel, or a Minipump (as I saw it named once), is important to me. I have been mapping the strategic ones for many years.
Now the purists will tell me I wrong, but these little outlets dont have names, so I have been using “DRUMMED FUEL” and “MINIPUMP” in the name tag. Of course I add the Fuel tag and a source tag, but dont go so far as to tag for benzene / diesel etc.
I think the differentiation in the name allows you to make some conclusions… ie, the minipumps are always open but u need change, the drums maybe limited hours, but accept notes etc.
That’s the important info … yes, opening hours are useful, but they dont show on the Garmin, and my Thai language skills don’t extend to opening hours or fuel type, questions, yet !

So far, for barreled fuel I’m using

note=A small shop or kiosk selling fuel pumped from a barrel or in small bottles. There are typically no signs present or other services available.
source=GPS, survey

and for coin op pumps,

operator=* (if known)

I realize that you, Russ, map these for your own special needs and I understand that. I too am frustrated by the lack of detail displayed by my Garmin GPS. Many of the niceties and refinements the OSM community insists on are just extra effort that, in my case, I might never benefit from. I guess if you must continue to use your own coding methods, at least be consistent so that someday when you (or the OSM community) want to bring these POIs into compliance with the standard it can be done easily.

I’m open for more ideas. And especially for some method that will help Russ, and myself, find these stations on our GPSrs.

Thanks for the info about those machines.

The importance of those fuel drums can only be appreciated if you’re out of gas in a small rural Thailand town. I feel strongly that we need to tag these places. Even if driving a car, 4 or 5 liters of fuel will get you back on the highway and eventually to a full service station.

I don’t think anyone is arguing against mapping the drums, all that is being said is that whether it is a drum or a “normal” fuel station isn’t too important as long as you can get the right fuel there.

Putting the discussion of barreled fuel aside for a moment, I wish there were a good way to indicate that these new style shops are automated. All service stations accept cash as payment after all. That is the only tag that suggests an automatic machine so far. I want to somehow include the words vending_machine. Perhaps we could use a variant on that such as vending_machine=yes…

vending_machine=yes is used by other tags as well, I don’t see a problem with this and if we later find a better tag we can do an automated update.

Thanks Johnny,

Also on the Wiki page for amenity=vending_machine is shown a tag that would be quite useful, vending=* to indicate what is being sold. Although fuel is not currently one of the values on that page it would be entirely appropriate to add it.

To summarize what we have so far:

payment:cash=yes (in addition we could add payment:credit_cards=yes if appropriate)


In addition, the Wiki page for fuel=*, does not contain an entry for gasohol. That term is in wide use here and I suggest we add it to the list of fuels. There are entries for methanol and ethanol but I have no idea what is in use here or at what concentration and I’ve never seen it specified on any pump.


I developed a general purpose preset for JOSM that I’m now using to tag these stations. Since starting this thread I’ve been seeing more and more of these on my travels around Chiang Mai which reinforces my impression that those little mom & pop fuel shops selling hand pumped fuel will disappear as these catch on. This preset contains all of the tags we’ve been discussing. The asterisks (stars) should be either yes/no. Any tag for which you have no information can be deleted.

I hope we can agree that the tagging of these stations needs to be consistent. If you are still using Potlatch or the new iD editor, you will no doubt pale at the thought of using all the tags I’ve included in the preset. But I would encourage you to use at least the bare minimum of