I was wondering if there was a way to set the default language of the map, so when exploring non-English-speaking countries, everything would be displayed in English (if there is an English name).
The map is produced beforehand, there is no way to change the language. The decision was made to let everybody see the map of there country in the local language.
But there is more than 1 one map. There are also experiments to have the names shown depending on a drop down menu. Please search this forum or the help.openstreetmap.org website for previous answers to this question.
Even just on openstreetmap.org itself, there are four different map styles (click the “stack of books” icon at the right). Two of those show an English name along with a local name.
The reason that the default rendering is in local languages is that it is intended to be used by mappers, not explorers.
None of the renderings are actually “the map”. The map is the vector data from which they are all derived and which contains all available languages.
Is there any chance that we will once get language support in english and not local language:
I work for wikivoyage, a open source travel guide and sister project of wikipedia. The decision has been made to use only open source data, so we changed completely to open street map. This would be a great idea, but with staying away from non-free data, we lost english language map labels. As far as I could see, i could not set my mapnik map interface to english language labels.
It’s a special problem for the near / middle east, where e.g. on the Israel map, we have only hebrew labels. I can decipher some of it, but many travellers (or “explorers” as stated above, cannot), same problem e.g. with Greece, which is not such a problem for me personally, but for most people is not that easy. We get completely lost in far eastern language as my knowledge in chinese are at least very poor (in fact non-existing).
An easy solution would be to tell people to use Google maps, but you will understand, this is not the recommendation we want to make when you want completely to rely on open data.
Any solution to this at the horizon?
Kind regards from Switzerland
The map itself is in all the languages, although in some parts of Asia mappers seem to think that is an English map and only provide English or Romanised names (e.g. the road name may be Romaniised and followed by Street/Avenue/Road, in English).
What you are actually talking about is rasterised renderings of the map.
OSM only provides such renderings as aids to mappers and as proof of concept. It does not have the resources to provide end user maps. If you have an application that requires end user maps, you need to render them yourself and operate your own tile servers. Although there is no surveying cost, attributable to anyone but the volunteers, there is still a cost in hosting the tile servers (and in hosting the map and generating the tiles, but those costs are essential to the primary objective).
The tools to render maps are free of charge and open source, but hardware and network resources are not.
You should also note that, in those parts of the world with local mappers that do value their local language and script, Romanised and English labels may be in short supply because they are simply not used locally. The converse tends to apply even more strongly in the English speaking world. You will find very few places in England with name:zh and probably even fewer with name:ar.
Part of this latter issue is that some people interpret the map what is on the ground rule fairly strictly, and will not map an foreign language name unless that name is visible at the actual place in question. Although some names are going to be well known to foreigners, e.g. Angleterre, and 英国, most names will require looking at a copyright map or gazeteer, neither of which are acceptable sources for OSM.
As such, for non-Roman alphabets, you will need to machine transliterate the local scrpt (the general policy is that one should not include names in the OSM data if they can be derived by simple transliteration).
I’d also reiterate what has already been said about their being multiple renderings available on the openstreetmap.org pages. Both the Transport Map and the Cycle Map show both name and name:en, if available, stressing the name:en I don’t think either of these are rendered and served by OSM resources. They will probably have similar policies to OSM about using their tile servers in third party applications and web pages.
I don’t think that either of these transliterate.
As a sister project of Wikipedia, I am slightly surprised you don’t mention the Maps project of Wikimedia:
It offers an alternative rendering service with some integrations as far as I can tell. You can read more about it at the above link, or explore the following interactive map (with at least partially English labels) that is still in development:
From the last posting, it seems that there is already a tile server, within the WP empire, which specifically targets Wikivoyages as one of its clients. It it to the people running that you should address requests as to how the data should be rendered.
However, if you were simply providing references to locations in an open environment, the ideal way would be to use geo: URIs. Unfortunately, although they are over five years old, in the real world, they will either go to Google Maps/Earth, or be rejected by the browser. If they were better supported, they would give the end user the freedom to use the data in any way they wanted, not just to access a slippy map service, of their choice.
Thank you all for your contribution and thoughts.
Yes, in the moment we are using the Mediawiki Map as standard, and the POI markers are displayed correctly in it, but - it is mostly in local language, so in Israel hebrew - and in the West Bank partly arabiy, which is even more unreadable to me.
You can either switch the displayed map to Mapnik, which has more details displayed (Informations helpful to tourists), bus still is in local language.
Earlier, there had been the possibility of MapQuest, which has english labels, but has been now omitted, because of it is commercial license and displaying adverts.
A window lets you select many other - non free licence - maps, as Google maps for example, but then only one POI marker is displayed - while in the integrated Mediawiki Maps, you see all markers, e.g. all railway stations, restaurants, local sights of a town.
Sorry, that I’m not so technically minded and gifted. As far as i understand, we rely on the rendered map from Wikimedia, as having a separate renderer would mean an external link / external resource which should have restricted use in Wikivoyage because of different licence - but trust me, I’m better at writing travel articles then licensing questions.
So I just hoped, one day there will be a Wikimedia map with selectable language labels, I’m sure we will find contributors for the translation but I know, there are many transcription problems in non-latin languages too.
Thanks for your inputs Martin