[OSM-talk] OSMF silently sides with Russia?

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Tue Nov 20 08:10:48 UTC 2018


On 20.11.2018 07:15, Tomas Straupis wrote:
>   It would also be nice to know how members of DWG voted, to have more
> information on their attitudes towards Russian aggression. 

The attitudes towards Russian aggression do not matter. DWG is not a
body that rules about justice in the world, DWG implements existing

The policy that Simon has linked to has been in force since September

Nobody can dispute that Russia has on-the-ground control over Crimea.

Immediately After the invasion of Crimea, there was some edit warring in
OSM going on, with some people over-eager to map the territory as being
part of Russia and others reverting it. That's why DWG issued a
resolution at the time calling for people to hold still until the dust
has settled.

The dust has now settled over Crimea, and whether you like it or not,
Russia controls the territory. After being asked about this multiple
times - last discussion was here on this very list a month ago:


- there was really not any doubt that a correct implementation of the
"Disputed Territories" policy means that Crimea needs to be mapped as
part of Russia.

I would like to point out that the recent DWG resolution contains the
following two passages:

> The Data Working Group takes no stance on if Russia's control is legal or not, as that is not within our scope. 


> The boundaries of Crimea shall be indicated as disputed

I don't think that any of this can be construed as "siding with Russia",
and it wasn't "silently" either.

The reason why the LWG recommended the "disputed territories" policy and
why board accepted it in 2013 is that we want OSM to show facts not
fiction. If you pass Russian border patrols when entering a territory
and Russia decides whether you can enter or not, then it is effectively
Russian territory, and it would not be useful for anyone to claim

OSM is not a political map and time and time again we've rejected
politically motivated complaints - about how we should depict Cyprus
differently, about how legally the official language in country X was Y,
about the status of Taiwan, or the West Bank, or islands in the sea
south of China, the boundary of India which the Indian government thinks
contains a lot more ground than they effectively control: What counts
for OSM is what's on the ground, and not what the UN or the EU or the
government of the day would like to see.

Nobody wants war, nationalists, big nations bullying smaller ones, or
territories being occupied by force. But OSM has decided to try, as good
as we can, map the world as it really is.

This should not be blown out of proportion. If you construe this as "OSM
sides with Russia" then it is you who makes a false accusation.

>   PRACTICAL1: this will make it impossible to create a correct
> political map using OSM data.

It is already impossible to create a correct political map in many
countries, e.g. India. It cannot be our aim to placate governments the
world over, especially when their views are conflicting as is usual in
areas of dispute!

>   PRACTICAL2: It is also EXTREMELY damaging to OpenStreetMap
> reputation. Now all opponents of OSM will be able to point fingers at
> this decision - "OSM recognises Crimeas annexation". And it now makes
> us all participate in Russian (ruled) project.

Only if people like you misinterpret what we do as "recognising" the
annexation by ignoring the sentence that I quoted above ("takes no
stance on if Russia's control is legal or not"). Help us by explaining
that we map reality not politics, instead of demanding that we switch to
mapping politics.

>   PRACTICAL3: While there are some talks about using OSM instead or
> alongside of commercial GIS solutions in the context of EU INSPIRE
> directive, such intentions will be seriously damaged by OSMF/DWG
> actions, because Europe has a very clear position of not recognising
> Crimeas annexation.

I don't see why we should change what and how we map just to be more
palatable to EU uses. I think we're already deviating from official EU
viewpoints e.g. in our naming of (the country of) Macedonia or certain
aspects of Cyprus mapping.

If someone is unhappy with OSM boundaries (and I repeat that they are
marked as "disputed") then they can add their own boundaries to the data
set, like e.g. openstreetmap.in is doing.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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