[OSM-talk] Label language on the Default stylesheet

Matthijs Melissen info at matthijsmelissen.nl
Sun Sep 24 21:01:00 UTC 2017


Hi all,

I would like to ask for your opinion on the choice of language used in
the Default map on openstreetmap.org.

This map (based on the openstreetmap-carto style) currently displays
all labels in their native language (as defined in the 'name' tag).
For example, we have a label 北京市 for Beijing, a label موريتانيا for
Mauritania, and a label Magyarország for Hungary.

The openstreetmap-carto team quite frequently receives requests to
(additionally) display labels in English (or in any case the
Latin-alphabet). The people making these requests state that the map
is currently not very usable for an international audience, as many
people are not able to read labels in for example Arabic or Mandarin.
Some areas where this problem is particularly visible:
https://github.com/gravitystorm/openstreetmap-carto/issues/803#issuecomment-330782700
A prominent case of such a request is from the Gnome Maps team, who
decided not to use the Default style for this reason:
https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=764841#c35

>From an ideologic viewpoint, I am very much in favour of not giving
preferential treatment to any particular language. Using the local
language seems fair in this respect. On the other hand, from a
pragmatic point of view I can also see that using English (in
addition) would significantly increase the usefulness of the map to
many people.

I would be interested to know what others think about this. An option,
for example, would be to display countries names, and perhaps the
names of big cities, in English as well as in the local language.

Note: making the map available in multiple language versions is
something we like to do in the future, however, this requires quite
significant technical changes. Therefore, this is out of scope for
now.

More information on this issue can be found on Github:
https://github.com/gravitystorm/openstreetmap-carto/issues/803

I'm looking forward to your opinions.

Kind regards,
Matthijs Melissen



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