Name tag for a private POI with a non-Thai name

We had a long discussion about this topic a long time ago. What I’ve found are:

Because there is still no clear consensus on this subject, I’d like to bring it up again. The issue is that, in general, the name=* tag for POI in Thailand should be in Thai script, as well as name:th=*, while name:en=* is in English. By the way, what should we put in the default name=* tag for private places where the English name is intended to be used as the primary name by their owners, such as some business brand, shopping mall, etc.?

A) Using the language that its owner desires, as stated by signage.
B) Write everything in Thailand in Thai script.

FYI, there are different approaches in the international community, such as:

  • Russia writes the international brand name in the original (English) name if the brand holder prefers.
  • Japan writes everything in Japanese.
  • Hong Kong writes both Traditional Chinese and English in one tag.
  • Bangladesh writes everything in English.

So, I think we should have a discussion and find some consensus here.

For me, I would choose option A. Here’s the reason:

  1. In my opinion, the terms "common, default name in the local language" in the wiki refer to the language that “local” people generally use, rather than the country’s official language. So, if the owner and, most likely, the customer use English as their primary language on their sign and other media, English should be used in the name=* tag as well. (You can see a very small Thai script placed at the corner of the large sign to reduce tax. This indicates that they don’t want to use Thai script but are okay to use it as little as possible in order to save money.)

  2. It’s comparable to OSM’s “ground truth” principle. While driving, the map user can see that the place name on the map matches the sign on the street.

  3. Although writing everything in Thai seems simple, it may be more complicated. Some places, for example, only have signs in English (maybe their owner can accept the higher tax). It’s difficult to find their Thai name, and we’re not sure if it’s available. If it’s a company name, we can look it up in the DBD’s database to see how they spell it in Thai. But if it’s just a shop name, we can’t be sure.

  4. If users prefer the map to be entirely in Thai, name:th=* is still available, with a fallback to name=* if name:th=* is not available. That should be possible with the map engine. However, if we always use name=* as the same as name:th=*, we will be unable to configure the map to adhere to the on-ground sign.

How do you think? Feel free to comment here.


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For me, option A) is definitely the most suitable choice, and I assumed this was already evident in our wiki.

I am aware of several common use-cases:

  • Many gated communities purposefully use English writing, and this preference should be indicated in the name tag.
  • Additionally, some ethnic tribes have their own languages, and their villages often have both a “local” name (in their dialect) and a Thai name.

Hi nitinatsangsit,
I support option A. As a local mapper, I’ve come across many POIs with English names as the main identifiers. Getting accurate Thai transliterations from websites for these names can be tough. Thus, I believe option A is the more practical and convenient choice.
Best regards,


I’ve updated the wiki to make it clear.

Thanks for comments.

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