[Tagging] Related: Antarctic territories

Fernando Trebien fernando.trebien at gmail.com
Mon Dec 23 18:59:04 UTC 2013

If I were doing the map of that region and had to explain to Sudanese
and South-Sudanese my decision, I'd either add both borders (your
suggestion), or create a special entity (my suggestion). But for those
who are not involved in the conflict, is the area part of Sudan or
South-Sudan? I guess they would say "it is effectively controlled by
Sudan, but it's also pretty much a conflict zone still, so we can't
say for sure".

Today, from a practical perspective, a letter to anyone in Abyei would
probably be addressed to Sudan, a phone call would dial Sudan's area
code, a visitor would go through Sudanese immigration. So maybe it's
in Sudan. But the conflict is not over and few would dare to describe
it as such without making someone angry. Moreover, if you had a
Sudanese and a South-Sudanese mapping the area in OSM, that may lead
to a nasty edit war.

Maybe it's part of both countries then. In that case, tools like
Nominatim should reflect that - but Nominatim currently thinks that
Abyei is in South Sudan (possibly making some non-technical Sudanese
users a bit uneasy). Overlapping administrative borders should then be
a basic assumption of every app - and they're not, since they almost
always are administrative "subdivisions". An overlapping
administrative border of equal admin_level would make more sense if
both parties were friendly to each other and collaborating within the
area. But then I think nobody would describe these as "disputed"

Abyei could be simply Abyei, an area lying inside a "disputed
territory between Sudan and South-Sudan". I guess everybody would
agree with that statement, even those involved in the conflict. Is the
disputed territory in Sudan? Not for the South-Sudanese. Is in
South-Sudan? Not for the Sudanese. And for those outside? Well, we'd
be pretending to be the United Nations if we made that decision. But
is the area faring independently? No, so we represent the claim
conflict using the "claimed" role in each country's defining relation.

Extending that to Antarctica, one may ask: are the overlapping
territories claimed by Argentina, Chile and UK part of any of these?
Well, if you're not Argentinian, nor Chilean nor British, you'd
probably be confused (as I am) and prefer to describe them as claimed
territories (as Wikipedia does). Non-overlapping claimed areas would
not currently present such conflicts of nationalism, but they're still
described using words such as "claimed", "overseas" and
"dependencies", implying a significant separation between mainland and
everything else. It seems easier and perhaps fairer to fit them into
the "rule of exclusion" than into the "rule of inclusion" (from the
point of view of a librarian cataloguing places), and I believe it
simplifies app development too.

On Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 2:48 PM, Michael Krämer <ohrosm at gmail.com> wrote:
> Am 23.12.2013 11:56, schrieb Jonathan:
>> I am not qualified to answer any of these questions as I've never got
>>  involved in editing boundaries in OSM however it does raise an
>> interesting wider question, which is, how do we map all territories
>> that are claimed by one country or another but not internationally
>> recognised?
> An example is the area of Abyei [1] which is disputed between Sudan and
> South Sudan. This is tagged to belong to both countries. So the southern
> border is part of the relation for Sudan and the northern one for South
> Sudan. The standard rendering creates national borders around it [2].
> This is not perfect but probably good enough.
>> Do we map what is on the ground, which seems to be the common
>> argument, or do we map what is widely recognised as the official
>> situation?
> Personally I think tat following the on-the-ground rule in case of a
> dispute we should map the de-facto border. But I know that this also
> raises problems. For example I remember a posting some time ago about
> this being problematic in India.
> Michael (user Ohr)
> [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abyei
> [2] http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=10/9.7267/28.4409
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Fernando Trebien
+55 (51) 9962-5409

"The speed of computer chips doubles every 18 months." (Moore's law)
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