[OSM-talk] Should we map former endonyms?

Chris Helenius chris.helenius at gmail.com
Wed Mar 19 20:37:49 UTC 2014

How are historical place names from annexed countries regarded? Or put in
another way; when does a name no longer exist?

In the case on Finland, which lost Karelia to Russia in the 1950s, hundreds
of place names were translated and are now officially Russian, with the
Finnish population gone.
Former place names could nevertheless be of historical value (e.g. to see
the geographical extent of the language), as physical historical features

The question is, does a name disappear when it is no longer used? Larger
cities are still called by their Finnish names in a Finnish context, so
would towns and villages be any different? Or when they are deserted?

There is also the unignorable issue of geopolitics, as there are still
tensions between the countries.
There is no shortage of geographical naming disputes (
and wikipedians themselves had a row over geographical names. (
I can imagine how the naming could be seen having a political agenda.

For what it's worth, my agenda is only historical, although I can't shrug
off my national bias.
Before I go and add name:fi= place-names, I'd like to hear what the
community thinks of this.

Chris Helenius
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