[OSM-dev] Different styles for each country/region
z0idberg at gmx.de
Fri Feb 11 16:25:31 GMT 2011
I asked this question several months before, but I did not really get an
good answer (I think :D).
My problem is the following:
Currently, the main OSM website (osm.org) uses one display style for
every country. This results in (in my opinion) in some big flaws. Here
are some mistakes, which I commonly think about:
1. Street signs are usually different in individual countries. For
example, highways in Germany are rendered like this
but currently, OSM just displays some other style (I don't know where it
is from, maybe from UK?).
2. The font may need to be different in some regions. Although China,
Japan and Taiwan all use Chinese characters for their geographical
names, the font needs to be different. If the same font is used
everywhere (as is currently used a Chinese font), Japanese and Taiwanese
may not really like the result. It is still readable, but it is not perfect.
3. Wouldn't it be nice, if e.g. the metro stations of one city were
displayed with the logo of the operator? Of course, in most cases this
is not possible because of copyright issues, but, provided the case that
operator would be fine to let the logo be used in OSM, I think it would
be best to use that logo.
4. Especially in areas with non-latin script, currently often the "name"
tag uses the original script plus an "English" transcription, e.g. ??
(Tokyo). In my opinion, this is not really a nice solution, because some
other regions (English is not used everywhere) may want to have their
own transliteration displayed there: e.g. ?? (?????). The Japanese may
not care if the name tag uses "?? (Tokyo)", because they just tend to
look at the Japanese, but some other foreigners may think this is
The last time I asked this, the solution would be different website,
which renders its own style. Of course, this may be a solution, but it
has one big problem: How do I know all these websites? And for whom is
www.openstreetmap.org? Just for English users? Wouldn't it be nice, if
the OSM website detected the current's person language (which it already
does, because it displays the text on the left side in some other
language), and display an appropriate map?
Because the rendering team cannot be burdened to make every small
change, why not let the different teams of the countries let them do it?
I think the following would be nice:
The German team edits the German style, and lets the German highways be
displayed in the correct style - only in Germany.
The Japanese team can choose a Japanese font for Japanese names, ignore
all the latin transcriptions and just display Japanese. Also, they will
make a version which can be selected, which will display the reading of
all the geographical names (cities, train stations etc.) on top of it,
in order to let Japanese learning foreigners be able to read the
geographical names etc. This option will only appear if the zoom is on
Japan, because it has no effect on Germany or whatever.
Furthermore, the German team will say that, on top of the style the
Japanese team created, it will change all rendering of the Japanese
names and let the German name be displayed additionally (this will then
be in effect only for German computers viewing a Japanese map): Thus, it
is not "?? (Tokyo)", but "?? (Tokio)". The user could then still select
the style which is best for him, e.g. "Japanese native style", "Japanese
style with reading", "Japanese + German translated" or "Only German
translation/transcription". Maybe a cookie can store his favourite
settings, so that Japan will always be displayed in "Japanese style with
reading" (because he is learning Japanese, but has not yet mastered it
fully), but Israel in "Only German translation/transcription" (because
he speaks absolutely no Hebrew and cannot read it at all, so the Hebrew
script would just be a nuisance to him).
I think, creating something like this would be the best to make OSM
really be usable in different regions: Different country teams can make
variations of the default rendering style, which will only be displayed
in their region. Also, they can then make variations of other
country-specific styles to render in another language.
I really think, it is not good to create that much subprojects with
other websites, if it is essentially the same as openstreetmap.org does.
If my mother wants to see a map, she will open openstreetmap.org, and
then expect it to show German highway signs and Praha not as "Praha" or
"Prague", but as "Prag", just as she would find it on an ordinary German
map. Of course, stuff like www.öpnvkarte.de warrants an own website, but
not just an ordinary map.
What do you think about it?
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