Naming Convention for Israel street names

The naming needs to be defined by us.
Maybe one of you Hebrew writting people can fill out an example for all the possible namings:

  • name:
  • alt_name:
  • int_name:
  • nat_name:
  • reg_name:
  • loc_name:
  • old_name:
  • name:en:
  • name:he:

Than we will able to discuss that. We need ASAP to have a equal way of defining road and city names.
A example for very bad naming convetions:

google maps: Hertsel/Netanya
Openstreetmaps Eng: Herzel/Netanya
Openstreetmaps Heb: הרצל/Netanya
Wikipedia translation of הרצל : Herzl
Written on the street sign : Theodor Herzel (I’m just guessing)

This is just to confusing. And we have a special situation in Israel that needs to be cared of.

=== following text by User:Moshe ===

It goes even more complicated…
AFAIK, the right spelling is Herzl, but even so, you’ll be able to
find any variation of the name: Benjamin Ze’ev (Theodor) Herzl

Not to mention how many different spelling there are for the city
Herzliya (Herzelliya ?)…

Do you know the street called Arlosoroff?

I really don’t know what to enter, the right spelling (Arlosoroff) or
the one that is more probable to be searched by the user (Arlozorov).
For now, I’m entering

name ארלוזורוב
name:he ארלוזורוב
name:en Arlosoroff
name:en1 Arlozorov


As far as I know Israels steet signs in big citys have mostly two written names:

  1. Hebrew street name: הרצל
  2. Translated Latin characters : Herzl

Both things are standing on the street sign and there is probably no discussion how to tag in the correct way.

In this case the following 3 lines need to be added:

  • name הרצל
  • name:he הרצל
  • name:en Herzl

I guess in many places you have the full name written on the street sign like:
Theodor Herzl

Now its time for a discussion:
I hope you agree that the following two namings are phonetic names / translations of הרצל

  • Herzel
  • Hertsel

So those names are the problem as I understand…

Please see this link:
See : “Capital of Laos” and “Capital of Thailand”

They are using the following tag:
name:latinfont:pronounciation:short=Krung Thep
name:latinfont:pronounciation=Krung Thep Mahanakhon

Is that something that could fit ?


So here my suggestion:

full_name:he=בנימין זאב הרצל
full_name:en=Theodor Herzl

what do you think ?

I realise you are quoting from the example in the wiki, but pronunciation doesn’t have an o in the noun bit of it. If you are going to adopt that you might want to spell the key correctly (and I’ve made a similar note about the spelling on the wiki talk page you mentioned).


From the Hebrew Academy (in Hebrew):
התעתיק - transliteration
הכללים החדשים לצורכי שילוט ומיפוי - מעברית לאותיות לטיניות - new rules for mapping and signs (PDF)

I see several problems.

  1. Firstly, I’m not sure we really need two version, just to decide on something and stick with it. could be always copy exactly what the sign says, or a a transliteration/transcription scheme that we will apply to the Hebrew name to get a name with Latin letters.

  2. A more serious problem - the key “name:latinfont:pronunciation” does tell you what the original language was.
    Lets consider the city Jerusalem:

  name=<the same as name:he>
  1. The third problem - which should been the first :slight_smile: - is to decide what do we want to have as a “latinfont” representation.

Maybe we want to make English speaking people happy?
In that case we need transcription from Hebrew to English, which would turn our capital city’s Hebrew name into something like"yerushalaim": name:latinfont:he=yerushalaim
The street signs in most of the cities that I’ve seen could are English transcriptions.

Maybe we want to make the German speaking people happy? (after all, there is a lot of German activity in osm…)
In that case we need transcription from Hebrew to German, which would turn our capital city’s Hebrew name into something like"jeruschalajim": name:latinfont:he=jeruschalajim

Maybe we want both… and also versions for the others…

And maybe, we want to keep it very accurate, to retain all Hebrew information in the word in the Latin representation, and to be able to go back from the Latin to the Hebrew without any problem. Then we want transliteration into Latin letters, which is what you find on old intercity signs - they differentiate between ק,כ with K,Q and more. Some Latin letters get diacritics ש=S’.
My previous reply was a link to the Hebrew Academy transliteration web page. There are several standards.

Something else regarding tagging of street names.

I propose tagging the full long street name, and to mark the short name in [ ]

name:he="derech izchak [rabin]"
name:en="izchak [rabin] road"

name:he="sderot [binyamin] rotshild"
name:en="[binyamin] rotshild blvd."

This way, the map render software would extract the short part and print only it on the map, but a search software would print the full name.

For example, on the map you would only see “rabin”, but when you search a street in ramat-gan and type “R”, the software would suggest (among others): “derech izchak rabin”.


  1. The way of writing name:en=“izchak [rabin] road” is new to me.
    Thats a very good solution and should be applied right away.

  2. I also agree to write the street names pronounced this way :

But I also think that this is not a must to write it. If somebody wants to see the latin font transcription of the Hebrew Jerusalem he should search in Wikipedia and not on OSM.

So in the example of the Herzl street in Netanya:

name:he=[בנימין זאב [הרצל
name:en=Ben Tzvi [Herzl]

About the transcription to English or German:

The German version of Jerusalem is Jerusalem.
The English version of Jerusalem is Jerusalem.

So we shouldn’t have different transcriptions for every country.
Please don’t forget that we are creating a map mainly for orientation with car, walking or cycling. In all these cases you want to see the same on you Navi (GPS) as it is written on the street sign. I see that problem all the time as my Navi (GPS) is using some street names that are not written the same way on the street signs.

I have found another problem in Netanya and probably it will appear in other cities, too.

Different street signs:
On one site of the road there was written the full name in a different way than on the other side of the street.
The Hebrew and the English version where different for the same street !!!

We have to clarify what should be used.

I would always go with the longest version for first and surname. So you will probably get the right name inside.

I’m happy you feel this way. We should probably make sure the others agree. Currently there is at least one user who is busy removing the the “rechov/street/derech/road” part of the Hebrew and English names.
After that I’ll add it to the wiki.

So can we agree that we want to tag exactly what is written on the street/roads signs in Latin letters?

By the way, it not hard to find a different English/Latin spelling on the house signs and street signs. I’m aware of several examples in Tel-Aviv area. But these are subtle differences (‘e’ vs ‘ei’, ‘i’ vs ‘y’ etc.)

I totally agree to write only what is written on the street sign itself.
But as we ‘discovered’ sometimes you will find several street names for the same street written in a different way.
We should clearify how to write all of them down.

Just imagine that I will go to every street and add the street name to OSM from the west.
And another is going through the same street from the east.

So how should I write down the version of the east of the road ? There should be something like version or something equal.
Would be great to have all informations saved. Nothing should be deleted because its not written on the sign.

Maybe we start another thread with asking if a street name should include the ‘road’ ‘derech’ info ?!?!?
Its just doesn’t make sense to make this thread soooo long.

I think we agreed mainly in the following things:

  • post as much as possible in the street name tag.

  • keep it as simple as possible (no writing of 5 - 8 tags)
    We have enough to do, by writing English AND Hebrew street names.

  • adding always “Street”,“St.”, “Road”,“Rd.”, etc. to the streetname, No matter if its short cutted or not.

  • Writing the main road name square braked makes things shown correct in all maps and the full name is still searchable.
    So no reason to divide things in several tags ?!?

My suggestion looks like this :

name:he=“derech izchak [rabin]”
name:en=“izchak [rabin] road”

name:he=“sderot [binyamin] rotshild”
name:en=“[binyamin] rotshild blvd.”

name:he=“derech [herzel]”
name:en=“[Herzl] St.”

I’m not sure we agreed, I believe it was a tie.

I suggest leaving out “street” (en) and “Rehov” (he) from the respective name tags,
and if someone wants them, then they can add it to residential streets.

Having a too long name with no (real) additional meaning makes the maps cumbersome.

I don’t believe people search with the road type.
i.e. people looking for a way named “Herzl” will not search for it using “rehov Herzl” or “derech Herzl”, or anything like that.
They would just search for “Herzl”

  • I hope you agree that a Herzl boulevard is not the same as a Herzl street …
    So how could you find out the difference between it when searching?

  • I checked several streets in UK and Germany and there is ALWAYS the streetname with the postfix of the type (boulevard, gardens, way, street) in the name tag. No additional tags used.
    And I don’t see a reason to keep Israel different than the countries that are mapped in a very detailed level.

  • Please remember that the actual renderer will change the name the following way when using squere brackets:

Name Tag                   =>    Result shown in Mapnik or Osmander

"Theodor [Herzl] Street"   =>    "Herzl"
"Moshe [Smilanski] St."    =>    "Smilanski"
"David Ben [Gurion] Blv."  =>    "Gurion"

You are asking who will ever search for “rehov Herzl” or “derech Herzl” instead of just Herzl.
I would! If I wouldn’t be so bad in Hebrew :roll_eyes:

In Israel (in contrast to the UK,) there are no 2 roads with the same name in the same city.
The only exception is “Bialik” and “Sderon Chen” in Tel Aviv, and I don’t believe people get confused by the them…

If anything, then sometimes the same name appearing in 2 different cities are actually a continuation of the same way.
e.g. Jabotinski in Ramat Gan, Bnei Brak, and Petah Tikva.

The UK have a history of multiple names in the same city, with different meaning.
In Germany, Strasse is part of the name, as this is how the language works in general.

In Israel, however, to my knowledge, there are no maps with “rehov” in them.
I would be happy to be corrected.

You know, in the UK and Germany they don’t write in Hebrew characters, so why do we write in Hebrew characters?!?..
(This was irony, but it just goes to show you that you can’t always compare.)

I believe we should compare ourselves to other Israeli maps, and not OSM maps of other countries,
if we want our map to be used by the general public.
We cannot invent our own standard, we have to use the local standard.

Recently we got some publicity (e.g. in Ynet last Sunday,) and people go in and check the map.
If the map doesn’t look like what people here are used to - They will not use it.

Here’s another example of the OSM map use in an Israeli site: (click on the “mapa” (he) button)

The renderer is not the only tool that needs to support the square brackets.
Mkgmap should support it as well.

If the street appears just ONE time in two city its worth it to write always Rehov in all street names.

Please don’t talk about standards when talking about Israeli maps.
The Israeli maps are normally written in Microsoft Standard for Internet Explorer. So I can’t even open them in my web- conform browser.

Once there was a searchengine website that was not created like a portal. It was just giving you a box for the search term and a “go” button.
This was not standard in those times. Today Google is THE STANDARD worldwide!

I aspect Israelies to be intelegent enough to understand the power of this project and that its a global project and not like “freemaps” a Only Israel one.
User will not avoid OSM because we are writing the streetname in a map like it is shown on the street sign.

AGAIN: The look of the map should not effect what information are saved in the street name.
We should always write down everything including the Rehov! No matter how it looks later in the map itself.
We will find a solution for this 'problem’of unneded information in a streetname later.

I suggest to have some kind of voting to finish this conversation with a official way of writing it down.

BTW: iGo, the favorit navigation software in Israel is also having all street written WITH Rehov, Derech.

How did you get to this conclusion?

I don’t believe google is a standard, but in any case, google doesn’t show “rehov” either:,34.81282&sspn=0.006599,0.009613&ie=UTF8&ll=32.086929,34.789689&spn=0.006481,0.009656&z=17

If the map is cumbersome, and street names are truncated because “rehov” has to be written, then we achieve nothing,
even if the DB is complete.

To repeat my position:
I agree that the db should be as complete as possible,
but NOT on the expense of the usability of the map,
or by breaking basic IT rules, like having the data in the DB in a normalized way.

I’m not just talking about how maps are presented in the web.
I’m also talking about printed maps.
Look at (almost) any Israeli street atlas.
There is no “rehov” there, and for the time being, there are far more people using printed maps than online maps.

Again… you can ask to remove the rehov part of the name at renderer level.
So, I continue not to understand what is your problem to enter the full name in the database?