[Tagging] Named junctions

John Willis johnw at mac.com
Sat Nov 7 02:50:09 UTC 2015

(This Was sent earlier but looks like it wasn't received. Cleaned up/ clarified a bit and sent again). 

> On Nov 6, 2015, at 1:30 PM, Marc Gemis <marc.gemis at gmail.com> wrote:
> However, I do not see why the "ignorance" of the non-Asian mappers

Full disclosure: I am an American. I moved to Japan in 2011, and my comprehension of written Japanese is poor (I don't know much kanji at all), which makes me much better than a tourist, but I can not claim to speak for native Japanese mappers, just what I see in the tagging/wiki. In some ways I am stuck in between, because my home (I'm married and not leaving Japan) and language don't currently line up yet, so I am very familiar with & mapping places I can't always parse the meaning of without research, and dependent on the EN wiki. 



The English/German taggers are the leaders in the tagging scheme AFAIK, so it is important for you to be inclusive and flexible when making tagging schemes. This will solve issues that you will eventually have to solve anyway, so we might as well do it now, for the benefit of all regional maps, not just myself and my region. saying a regional rendering solves the issue just puts off solving the issue via making a proper tagging system that is flexible enough to handle the regional issues we don't know about yet. 


There are many people who are native Japanese speakers mapping, as well as people who love Japan (and other Asian countries too, of course) but are native English speaking mappers - so I want to make OSM's default render as useful as the default render in Google Maps or better. At least I want to repair glaring omissions and polish when possible. 

AFAIK, the OSM JA mapping community Is similar to the Wikipedia community - they follow the lead of the larger English community. And since Europeans/English speakers are driving tagging and "proper tag documentation", they are following what we lay down in the wiki, as I understand it. 

So as we are driving the tag set being used and content of the wiki pages, that exerts a tremendous amount of control over everyone mapping everywhere. 

And since a lot of the world, map wise, is the same, the difficulties come up with difficult to imagine regional or cultural differences, which cannot always be solved by just having a region render it in their own style. 

I believe those regional differences should be rendered in the default OSM, as the default should be the most useful for all users. 

1) Asian countries, due to the script barrier of their language, offer most everything (at least in Japan) in JA and EN - which is reflected in dual labels for of most navigation signs throughout all of Japan. This is embraced in the default view of google maps, but not in OSM/-carto. This idea of dual language labeling should eventually become standard for non-standard scripts makes it useful for visitors, residents, and other Asians. It also describes the situation on the ground - everything (in Japan at least) is coated in English for non-native speakers, so the default render of OSM should reflect that. 

2) Font issues persist. I helped a bit with updating the fonts, but very complex characters are difficult to read, there are not many different character weights supported, and shields, even with the render change, still render Kanji refs badly. 

3) Japan is hit by a spatial mapping issue triple whammy:

- no road names on tertiary or below (90% of all roads have no name or ref) 
- A very very dense place name system & lot number based addressing: nothing is labeled in sequence along the roads - a map is necessary to locate almost any structure. 

- the need for signals to have consistently rendered icons and for some to be named for spatial / map usage for visual navigation. Cities have many named signals.  

This makes what iconography and place labels somewhat more important for the "last kilometer" of a journey. 

4) regionally agnostic umbrella tags, with consideration given for value expansion. This is not so big a deal, as it is the easiest to understand, but think of how churchyard or building=church was documented - it is evident that all the other religious buildings would need to be tagged, but shrine and temple were added to the wiki by me (?), rather than a proposal handling all the religious buildings at once. Since the European pages are driving tags (English and German, right?), they need to think more globally when adding tags. It easy to come up with and document tags, but it is far easier to come up with tagging solutions that cover everyone in the first place. 

5) regional variation in the default render should be encouraged. Proper regional iconography/shields and certain pattern conventions should be encouraged in the main view IMO. For example, the current railway renderedblack/white pattern is used only for JR trains. The other private lines get a solid line. Again, as spatial navigation is important, having one network of trains rendered in the pattern of another again causes spatial confusion and rendering them differently needs to be supported in tagging, so all countries are able to alter renderings to solve problems like this. Train lines should be colored when commonly associated with a color. 
Just like stop signs are different in Japan and America, this is part of "mapping truth" for the country. Some of those conventions should come into OSM. I realize this is more toward the rendering side, but tagging them so the ways or relations have a useful tag for them to be colored/styled starts with us. 

These are all issues that originally were present in early stages of more mature maps (Google, recently Apple), and all of them eventually had to change to support these changes to have a useful map. Japanese maps that adhere strictly to these things even more strictly are not trying to be an international map. OSM is. OSM will eventually have to support these changes for all regions as well. There is no escaping this fundamental fact. If you want to have a useful international Map, then these changes will happen. It is just a matter of time. And saying that a region can have their own render puts off solving the issue (AFAIK) because it needs to be solved via tagging first - and we're the ones leading tagging. 

If we solve these issues for Japan and other large Asian nations, then the positive changes will also come to much smaller and much more esoteric issues in smaller places that don't affect as many users - making the map better for everyone.  

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