[Tagging] Various alt_name values?

Lukas Sommer sommerluk at gmail.com
Sat Nov 29 00:25:54 UTC 2014

Okay. I’ll try a summary:

We have the choise between two systems:

– semicolon system

– alt_name_1 system

(Other versions like alt_name:1 or alt_name1 seem to be not interesting and
have very little occurence in the database, probably errors during the HOT

Both have its advantages and disadvantages.

Having both systems at the same time in use does not make it easier: In the
database, we have currently about 2300 nodes and about 3000 ways with the
key “alt_name” and the character “;” in the value. We have also about 3800
nodes with “alt_name_” as part of the key. Almost all of them are in West
Africa and come probably from recent HOT activity. We have about 80 ways
with “alt_name_” as part of the key. (Roland Olbricht had done some
overpass stuff about this at

On the wiki, we have alt_name_* since 2011 (introduced at
http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/w/index.php?title=Key:name&oldid=713311 on
the wiki – I could not find a discussion about that) but people did not use
this system, but they almost always used the semicolon system instead.
Until the HOT activity with the Ebola response …

In this current thread, both solutions have had supporters, but there has
been some more support for the semicolon system.

The current situation with two different, incompatible solutions is IMHO
not satisfying. So I would propose to

1.) do a formal voting (I would propose the semicolon system)
2.) after that: ask for support for this in Nomination (and maybe other
software on which the HOT people rely) for the voted and accepted solution
3.) as mid-term goal: fade out the usage of  the not-accepted solution
(maybe later even with a mechanical edit – not sure if this is easy)
4.) as long-term goal: ask software to stop using the not-accepted solution.


Lukas Sommer

2014-11-27 15:21 GMT+00:00 Erik Johansson <erjohan at gmail.com>:

> On Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 6:23 PM, Brian Quinion <
> openstreetmap at brian.quinion.co.uk> wrote:
>> On 25 November 2014 at 13:30, althio forum <althio.forum at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> > I don't even know which keys are currently under use by Nominatim and
>> other
>> > data consumers and how that could evolve in the future.
>> At the moment nominatim supports
>> alt_name_[0-9]+:<language_code>=<name>
>> for alt names
>> I've added this to the wiki
> +1
> This is also how I have done it when I've worked with names. I do not like
> semicolons at all.
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