[OSM-talk] [OHM] Should we map former endonyms?

Brad Neuhauser brad.neuhauser at gmail.com
Wed Mar 19 21:15:45 UTC 2014

You can enter whatever language codes you want in the Multilingual Map
Test, so for Finnish just enter "fi" in the text box.  (ex:

To the original question, there is the old_name tag, which is documented on
the name page (https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:name) and has almost
90000 uses (https://taginfo.openstreetmap.org/keys/old_name#overview). In
addition, the name page mentions the option of old_name:<lang>=* which
might best fit what you're looking for.  (there are even some uses of
old_name:fi=* already: https://taginfo.openstreetmap.org/keys/old_name%3Afi)

Cheers, Brad

On Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 3:59 PM, Laurence Penney <lorp at lorp.org> wrote:

> It’s great to have such things mapped, but it does need care.
> In this field Jochen Topf coded “Multilingual Map Test” together back in
> 2012. You might ask him to add Finnish to the languages offered.
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk/2012-November/065312.html
> Here’s part of Poland, shown with German labels:
> http://mlm.jochentopf.com/?zoom=7&lat=52.57802&lon=19.11621&layers=B0T&lang=de
> While the larger cities have well-known and current German names that are
> uncontroversial — Warschau, Posen, Breslau, etc. — many small towns and
> villages would only have been given German names during the Third Reich.
> It is therefore contentious to use the “name:de” tag for these places,
> unless one is making a map of occupied Poland during WW2. The naming was a
> political act, and most of the names were not used by Germans, even those
> living in the vicinity, before 1939 or after 1945. Taking politics out of
> it, perhaps one could use the date to indicate when the name was in use,
> thus a key of “name:de(1939-1945)”.
> It would be good to speak to historians who specialize in this area.
> - L
> On 19 Mar 2014, at 20:37, Chris Helenius <chris.helenius at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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
> are.
> 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 (
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Geographical_naming_disputes),
> and wikipedians themselves had a row over geographical names. (
> http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/02/05/China_Japan_Wikipedia_War_Senkaku_Diaoyu?page=full
> )
> 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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