US Gas Stations Guidance (after April 2013 merge)

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US Gas Stations Guidance (after April 2013 merge)

Postby AlanOfTheBerg » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:37 am

US Mappers,

The following guidance on gas station landmarks in the US is what the US Champs have figured out in terms of how we should proceed.

Background

Prior to April 14, 2013, all US gas stations which were updatable from the app were not visible, updatable, and could not be added from the Waze Map Editor. The Gas Station landmarks people created in the editor had no relation whatsoever to the gas prices people could search and update in the app.

The stations visible in the app were a separate data element and linked to an external data provider.


The Merge

On the evening of April 13 (US Time), Waze started a merge of the gas station data with the landmarks layer in the Waze Map Editor.

As part of the merge process, Waze tried to minimize duplicated gas station data, but it is inevitable that some stations were not able to be merged due to incompatible or mismatched data in either the existing landmarks layer or the data from the 3rd party provider.


What We See in the Waze Map Editor

After the merge, for stations which either did not have any kind of matchable station, or where the matching failed, you will see very small gas station landmarks. In fact, you probably need to be down to the 20m zoom level in order to see most of them. Here is an example of the small size of the imported landmark:

Image

You will often find that the updatable station location is 1-3 blocks away from the actual station location. It is important to visit the actual gas station in the editor, and then search around it for the imported station landmark.


How do you know if the station is from an import?

  • All stations imported on April 13 have their name set to ALL CAPS
  • All imported stations do not have a City or State assigned
  • Until someone edits the station, it will also show a last update of "April 13, 2013 by staff"


What if there is a duplicate?

If there is a station which is a duplicate, that is, there is a landmark already in Waze with the station info, and now there is another station with an ALL CAPS name, then we have a duplicate situation.

DO NOT DELETE THE IMPORTED DATA WITH THE ALL CAPS NAME.

You need to delete the other landmark in Waze which is in the correct location and has the correct name, and was updated/created previously by a Waze map editor.


What must be updated

In order for the data to be useful to the Waze community, all the details of the station need to be updated. This includes: Name, Address, Phone number, Brand, City, State, Country. These are shown graphically surrounded by red boxes below. Note the Address line between the Name and Phone boxes is only for the street address. The City and State is located in the lower Address box.

Naming Information
  • Store Numbers are NOT needed in Names, please remove them
  • For Gas Stations that are part of Highway Service Plazas/Rest Areas please use the following format <NAME> - <Service Plaza/Rest Area> (<Road Name & Direction>). Please match local signage when determining if the location is a "Service Plaza", "Rest Area" or whatever the signage calls it. For example on I-95 in Madison, CT the two landmarks are named: Mobil - Service Plaza (I-95 N) & Mobil - Service Plaza (I-95 S).

Image


Brand Selection

If you know what brand gasoline a station sells, you should select it as the Brand. Stations named after their brands, such as big companies like Shell, 76, Mobil, Chevron, are easy to identify the brand which should be selected. Smaller or non-national stations may be harder to identify. Some are their own brand, and some buy a specific larger nationwide brand of gasoline. Do some research to find out this information. If it isn't clear or information isn't available, mark these as Unbranded.

Big-box and one-stop-type stores like Fred Meyer, Costco, Sams Club, Home Depot, Safeway, Winco, etc., often buy a larger national gas brand. However, to allow drivers to select their preferred retail brand (rather than Brand of gasoline), select the store name as the brand as well.

For any other stations you cannot determine the gasoline brand, select Unbranded.


Current known issues

Adding stations: Stations which are added to Waze as a new landmark, will not appear in app search results or be updatable until Waze implements some new code and update process on the server side. Go ahead and add stations which do not appear and for which you cannot find an imported station. They will be live in the app once Waze makes their code changes.

Was station data merged or not? We can easily identify a newly imported station which didn't find an existing landmark to match against. But what if the match did succeed and a previously-existing landmark is now linked to the gas station data for updates? How do we identify those? We are unsure at this time.

Brands are being reviewed The list of brands is currently extremely long and contains dozens of names which are not brands. There are actually very few actual brand-name gasolines.
Last edited by sketch on Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:57 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Reason: Updated branding recommendation
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Re: US Gas Stations Guidance (after April 13 merge)

Postby CTGreybeard » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:18 am

I found that "Costco" is a brand and is assigned to at least one Costco imported station. I suggest that this is a better choice than Unbranded for stations such as Costco, etc. if the store-affiliated brand is available as a choice in the pull-down. I have found some "Mom and Pop" stations where Unbranded is appropriate. I will use that choice for the small, local stations that fit the profile.
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Re: US Gas Stations Guidance (after April 13 merge)

Postby AlanOfTheBerg » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:43 pm

Costco is not a brand and like many other non-brands in the list, IMO, should be removed. The brand list is under review and update.
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Re: US Gas Stations Guidance (after April 13 merge)

Postby russblau » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:36 pm

AlanOfTheBerg wrote:Costco is not a brand and like many other non-brands in the list, IMO, should be removed.


How are you defining "brand"???

According to dictionary.com, the relevant definition is "kind, grade, or make, as indicated by a stamp, trademark, or the like: the best brand of coffee."

Also, there is a definition of "brand name":

1. a word, name, symbol, etc., especially one legally registered as a trademark, used by a manufacturer or merchant to identify its products distinctively from others of the same type and usually prominently displayed on its goods, in advertising, etc.
2. a product, line of products, or service bearing a widely known brand name.


By either of these definitions "Costco" is most definitely the brand of the gasoline sold at Costco stores. "Costco" is the trademark used to identify the product.
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US Gas Stations Guidance (after April 13 merge)

Postby AlanOfTheBerg » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:42 pm

Costco is a store name. I do not believe it owns any refineries. It purchases has from another company. Kirkland is also a pseudo- brand name, IMO. They just buy someone else's stuff and put their name on it. Costco makes nothing. Except cash.
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Re: US Gas Stations Guidance (after April 13 merge)

Postby CBenson » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:50 pm

Personally I don't think stations like Costco or PXs that aren't open to the general public should be in the database at all unless there is a method to exclude them from low price searches conducted by the general public.

However, I do think that Costco is the brand. I haven't been a Costco member in decades, so maybe things have changed. But it seems to me that it is Costco that you are relying on to ensure that stations are properly maintained and specify the additives that are in the gas sold there. In addition any special payment plans or credit cards that can be used there are Costco branded and those plans and cards are typically useable across Costco branded stations.
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Re: US Gas Stations Guidance (after April 13 merge)

Postby CBenson » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:57 pm

AlanOfTheBerg wrote:Costco is a store name. I do not believe it owns any refineries. It purchases has from another company. Kirkland is also a pseudo- brand name, IMO. They just buy someone else's stuff and put their name on it. Costco makes nothing. Except cash.


I have no expertise in gasoline distribution, but I was under the impression that most distribution channels are shared among refiners. In other words there isn't really any guarantee that gas you get an Exxon station was actually refined in an Exxon refinery. I thought gasoline was fungible until any additives beyond the legal minimum are added.

EDIT: I see this is better discussed over here.
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Re: US Gas Stations Guidance (after April 13 merge)

Postby russblau » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:19 pm

AlanOfTheBerg wrote:Costco is a store name. I do not believe it owns any refineries. It purchases gas from another company. Kirkland is also a pseudo- brand name, IMO. They just buy someone else's stuff and put their name on it. Costco makes nothing. Except cash.


I don't dispute anything you say, but you're missing the point. A "brand" is a mark or name used to identify a product to prospective purchasers. In simple terms, it is whatever the sign above the gas pumps says. It has nothing to do with who makes what, only who is selling it. If the gas station says it is selling Costco Gas, then Costco is the brand of its gas. If a gas station says it is selling Acme Gas ("preferred by 4 out of 5 coyotes"), then that is its brand. Whether the company owns any refineries or tanker trucks is no more relevant than whether the crude oil came from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, or Texas.
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Re: US Gas Stations Guidance (after April 13 merge)

Postby AlanOfTheBerg » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:31 pm

I don't profess to know much about the gasoline refinement and distribution and branding industry. I do feel that for some locations, especially those which change the actual brand of gasoline they buy often, it would be fine to use Unbranded. However, I can also see that for large chains which also do not buy the same gas all the time, that having the Brand match the Name would also be acceptable.

But it's a slippery slope because you can extend this to the extreme and say that every single differently-named gas station is also its own brand, which is totally untrue. There are also individual gas stations which specifically purchase a larger-known brand gas like Chevron, Shell, Mobil, 76, etc. and we feel that station should have that brand specifically noted.

There are then also medium-sized chains or franchise-type operations which, even in the same city and a few miles apart, which, despite having the same name on the sign, purchase differently-branded gasoline. For a driver who really likes and relies on Chevron gasoline, it's important to know that "Lefty's Gas" right at the exit sells Shell gas, whereas the "Lefty's Gas" 3 miles off the freeway sells Shell, because that driver will want to head to the Shell-selling station.

That's really the purpose of the Brand field. We already have a name field, so to just make the Brand field match the Name because we feel that these (non-gas companies) have their own brand of gas, is not totally correct. Costco sells Costco gas and Safeway sells Safeway gas and Winco sells Winco gas, I think is moving the wrong direction.
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Re: US Gas Stations Guidance (after April 13 merge)

Postby CBenson » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:03 pm

AlanOfTheBerg wrote:But it's a slippery slope because you can extend this to the extreme and say that every single differently-named gas station is also its own brand, which is totally untrue. There are also individual gas stations which specifically purchase a larger-known brand gas like Chevron, Shell, Mobil, 76, etc. and we feel that station should have that brand specifically noted.

There are then also medium-sized chains or franchise-type operations which, even in the same city and a few miles apart, which, despite having the same name on the sign, purchase differently-branded gasoline. For a driver who really likes and relies on Chevron gasoline, it's important to know that "Lefty's Gas" right at the exit sells Shell gas, whereas the "Lefty's Gas" 3 miles off the freeway sells Shell, because that driver will want to head to the Shell-selling station.

I'm not sure what you're saying here. If an individual gas station or "Lefty's Gas" isn't signed as a Chevron, Shell, Mobile, 76 etc. station, then I don't think the station saying "I sell Chevron gas" means anything at all. It seems to me either the retailer has a franchise agreement to market Chevron gas and thus must adhere to the conditions that Chevron imposes for a Chevron station (like accepting the Chevron card) or the retailer hasn't. Where the gas comes from is immaterial.

AlanOfTheBerg wrote:That's really the purpose of the Brand field. We already have a name field, so to just make the Brand field match the Name because we feel that these (non-gas companies) have their own brand of gas, is not totally correct. Costco sells Costco gas and Safeway sells Safeway gas and Winco sells Winco gas, I think is moving the wrong direction.

I'm not sure what the purpose of the Brand field is. But I was assuming it is ultimately so we can filter gas station searches to a particular brand. Thus, if I have a Safeway rewards program using my Safeway credit card for buying gas at Safeway, then I want to be able to limit my searches to the Safeway brand. If my employer has given me a Wawa card with which to purchase gas, I want to be able to filter my search to the Wawa brand. If I have a received a promotion to get a free Slurpee whenever I fill up at 7-11, then I want to be able to filter my searches for 7-11. Where the gas was refined has nothing to with how I want to filter my gas station searches. It doesn't make any difference to the consumer who the retailer has contracted with to supply the gas. What maters is the loyalty the consumer has developed with the retail brand.
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