False information

The Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands in South China Sea don’t belong to China. Politically, it’s being sovereignty disputed between many country. Historically, it belongs to Viet Nam (during the time VN is still France’s colony and VN war, even before that). China has been illegally doing military actions in those islands. Please fix the information shown in OSM. Thank you.

Hello - Andy from OSM’s Data Working Group here.

The way that such disputes are judged in OSM can be found at https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/w/images/d/d8/DisputedTerritoriesInformation.pdf. This particularly case is particularly difficult to model in OSM, as (at least in the case of the Spratlys) not only are there multiple claims but different reefs are actually occupied by the militaries of different nations. OpenStreetMap, as per the linked PDF, gives more weight to the actual “line of control” than some other institutions.

If you think, after reading that PDF, that the Paracels and/or the Spratlys are not correctly represented in OSM then please email OSM’s Data Working Group at “data@osmfoundation.org” explaining the problem in detail. However, please don’t just say things like “historically X belongs to country A” as that is way down the list of things that will be considered important. In cases such as this there are often multiple historical precedents, treaties, UN resolutions and other factors that can be taken into consideration and cherry-picking from these can be used to support a number of different political views.

One more thing - there should be enough information in OpenStreetMap to allow anyone to create a map of any country with its desired borders. This is important because some countries have laws about how they should be represented on maps, and those desired representations sometimes contradict each other (that’s why the representation at openstreetmap.org can’t please everyone - each set of map tiles covers the whole workd). If you’d like help creating a map of Vietnam showing its desired borders please ask, and I’m sure that someone will be able to help you.

One example, official map of Argentina with Islas Malvinas http://mapa.ign.gob.ar/

Thank you.