[Tagging] Mapping language borders, tagging offical languages?

Michael Patrick geodesy99 at gmail.com
Sun Sep 16 16:08:14 UTC 2018

FYI, the U.S. NGA ( National Geospatial Agency ) provides the NGA GEOnet
Names Server (GNS) <http://geonames.nga.mil/gns/html/index.html> with both
a viewer and text lookup <http://geonames.nga.mil/gns/html/index.html> .
Also available are various web services
<http://geonames.nga.mil/gns/html/gns_services.html> ( like WMS ), APIs,
downloads and via shapefiles for GIS software like Qgis. YMMV, i.e. in
Belgium there is very explicit name variants
with associated languages and encodings, in areas of Australia
<http://llmap.org/map/321252/> the aboriginal names are variants, but the
actual language isn't explicitly named. If you do a search on the  Nicholas
Range ( Badakhshān, Afghanistan ) for example:
( what follows will probably explode in email depending on your client -

Silsilah-ye Kōh-e Wākhān   (Approved - N)
    Silsilah   (Generic)
سلسله کوه واخان   (Non-Roman Script - NS)
    سلسله   (Generic)
Nicholas Range   (Variant - V)
Qatorkŭhi Vakhon   (Variant - V)
Selselah Kōh-e Wākhān   (Variant - V)
Selseleh-ye Kūh-e Vākhān   (Variant - V)
    Selseleh-ye Kūh   (Generic)
Khrebet Vakhanski   (Variant - V)
Vakhanskiy Khrebet   (Variant - V)
Qatorkŭhi Vakhon   (Variant - V)
Vakhsh Mountains   (Variant - V)
Wa-han P’a-mi-erh   (Variant - V)
Selsela-Koh-i-Wākhān   (Variant - V)

About what you expect - Russian, English, Arabic, Chinese, Arabic, etc.

A lookup of Yopurga , Xinjiang, China ( a seat of a third-order
administrative division), you will find many Uighur ( aboriginal) variants
expressed in both Cyrillic ( Ёпурға ) and Arabic ( يوپۇرغا) - this includes
historical entries. The dates can be helpful in determining the relevance -
in some areas of the world the only map name may have come of a British
Ordnance Survey in the 1800's.

Rumor has it the very best current language data is a proprietary database
owned by a evangelical christian organization that is verified by a network
of missionaries working in those areas. Almost all the language data has
some sort of license or copyright attached to it - the NGA data is the
standard US Federal "do whatever you want' with it, and the folks I've met
from NGA are very supportive of the OSM project.

Hope some of this helps form your proposal.

Michael Patrick,
OSM Seattle
Data Ferret

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