[Tagging] RFC: Names localization

Andrew Errington erringtona at gmail.com
Wed Aug 1 22:28:13 BST 2012

On Wed, 01 Aug 2012 19:48:37 John Sturdy wrote:
> > [1]
> > http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Names_localization
> +1, generally; but I'm not keen on deprecating the bare "name=*" tag,
> because for many (perhaps most) named features, there is only one
> name.  For example, a minor rural road in England will probably have a
> name (in English), but it won't have names in other languages, and
> no-one will really describe its name as "its English name" --- it's
> simply "its name".  Multiple names are really an issue for
> multilingual countries and for major features (typically large cities,
> rivers, and perhaps mountains) in monolingual countries, and I suspect
> those are well under half of all the features that will ever be
> mapped.

I like the proposal in general, but I don't think it's necessary to introduce 
a lang=* tag, and I don't think we should lose the name=* tag.

It's also not true that in a 'monolingual' country that there is only one name 
for something.  For example, London is 'London' to a British person, 
but 'Londres' to a French person.

I still think it's simple enough to have name=* to be the 'default' name you 
get if you don't specify a language, or the name you get if your selected 
language is not available.

For example, for London:

Then a person requesting a French version of the map would see 'Londres', but 
a person requesting the German version would see 'London'.  If no language is 
specified a person would see 'London'.

A simple algorithm can also make bilingual maps by concatenating tags, 
i.e. "name:xx (name:yy)" and making sensible decisions if name:xx=* or 
name:yy=* is missing, or if name=* contains name:xx=* or name:yy=* (such as 
in Japan or Korea where name=* contains Japanese (or Korean) followed by 
English in brackets).

Best wishes,


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