On the name of Persian Gulf

It could be possible to introduce a “political perspective” as Overture is doing?

The current language used for the ‘name’ tag is in Arabic rather than Farsi, and there are likely several reasons for this:

  • Seven Arabic-speaking countries surround the Gulf, while there is only one Farsi-speaking country.
  • The combined coastline of the seven Arabic-speaking countries exceeds the total coastline of the Farsi-speaking country.[1]
  • The populations of the Arabic-speaking countries surpass that of Iran, the sole Farsi-speaking country in the Gulf.[2]
  • There is a higher count of Arabic-speaking cities and towns overlooking the bay compared to Farsi-speaking ones.
  • The populations of the Arabic-speaking cities overlooking the bay outnumber their Farsi-speaking counterparts.

It’s important to note that the Farsi name is correctly specified in ‘name:fa’, along with all other foreign language-specific tags.

It’s worth mentioning that this topic has been discussed multiple times in the OSM talk mailing list.

In consideration of the comments, it appears that the user is troubled by the Arabic name being in the ‘name’ tag and suggests either replacing it with Farsi, English, or removing the ‘name’ tag entirely. This prompts a question about the specificity of this concern, particularly when observing the Caspian Sea in northern Iran, where the ‘name’ tag has multiple values, each representing a different name in a different language, without similar objections.



[1] The coastlines for Iraq (58km), Kuwait (500km), Saudi Arabia (560km), Bahrain (161km), Qatar (563km), UAE (1318km), and Oman (100km) sum up to 3,260km, whereas Iran has a 2250 km coastline along the Gulf.
[2] The populations of Iraq (43.53 million), Kuwait (4.25 million), Saudi Arabia (35.95 million), Bahrain (1.463 million), Qatar (2.688 million), UAE (9.365 million), and Oman (4.52 million) sum up to 101.763 million, while Iran has a population of 87.92 million.

Overture is not (yet) doing this, it is an rfc. Everybody can write a similar proposal for osm.
It’s interesting however.

The perspectives section still ends with the need to pick a default, which can be controversial as for “name” in osm.

The term “default” does not imply any value-judgments, but is typically the most commonly-accessed perspective.

With maintaining perspectives, it has the potential for more transparency and gives data consumers the ability to decide. Not so for the consumer of the default data - just like osm carto.

Interestingly, Natural Earth is doing this. This hasn’t prevented the same sort of issues from cropping up as in this thread. Arguably** they’ve had more “internet vigilantes” causing them problems than OSM has - the issue seems to be that one side in some debates does not believe that the other side even has a right to a view, so an attempt to provide an opposing “point of view” to match the complainant’s causes just as many complaints.

** a subjective judgement - I see NE github tickets, OSM DWG complaints and discussion in places such as this.

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No. For that specific Croatian example, some clarification: there are few significant minorities in Croatia, which do get dual-language treatment (on streetsigns etc) - Italians on the parts of seaside, Serbs on the east border towards Serbia, etc.

So, where the name is signed in multiple languages - yes, they all should get multiple name:xx tags.

For regions where that is not the case, I suggest continuing to use current model - i.e. mostly only Countries and Cities (as they are known internationally by their names even if they are locally unsigned in those languages on the ground) get per-language name:xx tags (and even then not all cities have translated names in all countries - smaller ones are known only if few languages of the region, for example, so they might get only those name:xx tags).

So, for example, Capital city of Zagreb is likely to have a lot of name:xx tags (as it is common that capitals of countries are known worldwide), while random local ma’n’pa grocery store is unlikely to have any name but Croatian one (so it will continue to have only name tag).

As for your question, when you zoom-in to cities and below, the issue with “how it should be called” mostly disappears - except in hot warzones, the jurisdiction and on-the-ground signage is quite clear, even in multi-language areas (e.g. on Croatian region of Istria, the random street will be bilingual).

Problem with bigger areas (like the gulf in question) is that they are bordering several different jurisdictions, and each of them might have its own idea about naming, thus creating the issue. That does not happen on smaller areas like neighbourhoods, so the problem does not exist there.

So, for technicality, assume user has a preference for language hr (Croatian). On zoom level 1 (whole world view), It would show oceans, countries etc. with their name:hr (or lacking that, which should not happen really, with int_name).

So, for example, instead of some (to me) completely unreadable script, it would say “Sjeverna Koreja” on eastern part of the map (which is how we call “North Korea” in Croatian). If I were to zoom in on its capital, it would say “Pjongjang” (which is how we in Croatia call capital which is in English called “Pyongyang”). If I were to zoom even further, there would be no more name:hr tags, nor int_name tags, so the system would start showing local North Korean name tags for streets and shops instead) – which is mostly fine: if I need that precision, it likely means I am in North Korea, and would need to compare the map with street signs anyway, and there are no other tags anyway).

But really, you can try that today at e.g. OSM Americana; interactive example would likely work better that the wall of text. :smiley:

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See this for more on that.
(insert popcorn emoji here)

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Ummm, I fail to follow? That is exactly the reason why using name:xx would work greatly.

As this is OSM: British one, of course :wink:

More seriously: yes, I am simplifying, in order to get coarse point across first. If the need for that level of precision becomes high, there are already standards to do that: one could use en_US or en_GB, etc. But even without that, I’ll bet you that average British citizen will prefer to handle the name in en_US and Latin script instead of KP name in Hangul any day of the week.

Another point: I’d wager that it is not British citizens that are outraged and ready to go to war because USA is starting to call it Arabic gulf instead of Persian gulf. More likely, it is countries bordering that gulf that are getting most agitated about the naming.

I absolutely agree with you. Which is why my “proposal” didn’t say “Display name:en always on osm.org, but instead “Display user-prefered name:xx on osm.org (i.e. the one at Preferred languages section at https://www.openstreetmap.org/preferences if you’re logged in, or one that your web browser sends if you aren’t)

do you more like a shameful to you, but readable to others ‘name’ for a place in Croatia?

I’d prefer that everyone would call Croatia with its proper name Hrvatska with correct pronunciation (and that everyone speaks Croatian while we’re at that - I find using foreign languages like English somewhat taxing), yes. But I also understand that that is unreasonable demand of others.
Thus, the proposition: Those who like the name “Hrvatska” should see that, those who prefer “Croatia” see that, and those who prefer “Хрватска” see that, etc.

Problem: there is no local language for international territories.

No there isn’t (or we’d just use the name tag in that language, obviously!), but there is a local language that the user of the OSM map is speaking. And they always know what is the language they want to see. For me, that is Croatian. Even if I am looking at the map of North Korea, or the map of the Mexico, I want to see their names in Croatian. That is what I am suggesting. Show each user what they personally want to see.

Watching the Atlantic Ocean: repeated name removal debate the osm community has not found a solution for this yet.

They have, see e.g. this map here (and change the language to the one that you prefer, obviously). It is just that the map displayed on osm.org haven’t caught up with 2020s yet. Hopefully they will soon.

  • for politically disputed areas we could also more strictly use A/B names with unpolitical ordering like A being the name that existed first or the first in the alphabet

Sounds like fun; let’s start with renaming North American cities with Algonquian names! Never did particularly like that “New York” name anyway, surely nobody else will mind either, right? (hey, it comes first both historically and alphabetically) :smile: :popcorn:

Idea that one “right” name can even possibly exist is misguided. Every country will likely have its own (or several of its own) “right” names for something.

Example: the country that I was born in had at least 4-5 different names (in two different scripts) for that gulf. Each one was “the right one”right for that group of people.
Related cautionary tale: that country no longer exists, partly because some people would not accept that other people might have different names for same things[1], so they decided that the best solution would be to kill the other side who got it wrong and thus solve the disagreements in that way. The other side, quite obviously, did not like that idea.

[1]: of course it was somewhat more complex. There were other disagreements too; not just the one of names of things and places. Some were even more drastic than somewhat different language or being born few dozen kilometers apart or of different dietary preferences - like for example seeing that the other side worship the same God as you do, but in a slightly different way. That one was found to be very disagreeable too. So, it all resulted in bloodbath.

Insisting that there is exactly one right name for some place for everybody, is like the idea that there exist exactly one right food to eat for everybody.

Yet, for rabbit, right food might be carrot. And for wolf, right food might be lamb. Insisting that there is only one right food is wrong, and trying to force that idea can only end badly. Try to force rabbit to live on eating lamb, or wolf to live on eating carrots; and anyone can easily see what the result would be.

But when we translate the same problem to another domain closer to human heart (like names, languages, religions etc), people minds become misted and they forget that simple fact. What is right name of some place to me, is not right name for some place for you. What is correct God for me, might not be correct God for you.

Trying to force “my truth” would be insisting that other people must be slaves to my will, and denying them free will of their own. But as you would not want to be a slave to will of the others, so the others would not want be a slaves to your will. Wolf doesn’t not want be forced by Rabbit to eat carrots, and neither does Rabbit wants to be forced to eat lamb by Wolf.

In the case of such conflict between Wolf and Rabbit; the result is predictable: one will eat the other and thus solve the conflict and live happily ever after. In the case of human affairs, it is slightly more complicated, but is equally likely to end up as bloody mess. No smart man (as in: member of mankind, not just the males of the human species) should want to go there. Heed my advice if you will, or ignore it if you won’t.

Now it seems that you did not understand me afterall. Can you explain what you mean here?

If the name is removed, how is it that the problem would not be solved? In other words, if there is no name, how can anyone claim that the name is wrong? If it doesn’t exist, surely nobody can complain that it is spelled wrong? If there is no unicorn, how can one seriously argue that unicorns have 5 legs and not 3?

In my idea, the name shown to each individual would be exactly what that individual wants to see. It would thus fulfill the wants of every human exactly as they themselves want it. How would that be bad?

(we can of course argue that it is technically not easy to do, or that it needs extra resources, or that it might take some time, or other issues, but I do not see why you think it would not solve the problem if/when implemented)

Even if you use the name in an international language

I would not. I would show you the Persian name if you want that, and show the other guy the Arabian name if they want that. To myself, I would show Croatian name.
To each his own.

Thank you @Matija_Nalis for replying and also pointing to the week points of my suggestion with A/B naming.

I agree that displaying the map in the user locale would help and be a better solution (and is in OSM Americana).

It will still not exactly solve these kind of naming disputes, but at least cover them. And yes, covering them might help to cool them down.
Still there is potential for dispute.

  1. because there are things like printed maps, where the user cannot decide
  2. because ethnical groups are different than countries and political perspectives and languages and individuals.
    But maybe this goes to far :wink:

No there isn’t (or we’d just use the name tag in that language, obviously!), but there is a local language that the user of the OSM map is speaking. And they always know what is the language they want to see. For me, that is Croatian. Even if I am looking at the map of North Korea, or the map of the Mexico, I want to see their names in Croatian. That is what I am suggesting.

this is maybe the best for you when sitting in your armchair at home, but when you are in Mexico seeing the names that everybody else around you uses would often be preferable, e.g. because then you could make sense of street signs, or ask someone local about the way.

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Naturally there are multiple proposals for recording disputed borders in OSM including which party is claiming what, see Disputed territories - OpenStreetMap Wiki With other words Overture is doing nothing novel at all (that applies to everything Overture related, so that isn’t a particularly surprising finding).


صحبت شما راجع به فلسطین واقعا قابل تامل است…
و اما بعد، سخن بنده این است که اسناد معتبر هستند شما می توانید در کشور انگلیس از این اسناد دیدن کنید
ضمن اینکه باید در نظر داشته باشیم: نمی توان گفت اسناد بین المللی ارزشی ندارند چون سازمان ملل به وظایف خود عمل نمیکند.
عمل نکردن به قوانین، نتیجه تخلف فرد یا افراد است. ولی این باعث نمی شود که بگوییم به دلیل تخلف کارکنان سازمان ملل، مدارک خلیج فارس اعتبارشان را از دست میدهند. ضمن اینکه اسنادی که من معرفی کرده ام بین المللی هستند اما تماما از سازمان ملل نیامده اند.

Your talk about Palestine is really thought-provoking…
And then, my word is that the documents are valid, you can visit these documents in England.
In addition, we must keep in mind: it cannot be said that international documents have no value because the United Nations does not fulfill its duties.
Failure to comply with the rules is the result of a violation by a person or persons. But this does not make us say that due to the violation of the UN staff, the documents of the Persian Gulf lose their validity. In addition, the documents that I have introduced are international, but they did not come entirely from the United Nations.

طبق رفرنس شما ایران به تنهایی دارای بیشترین مرز آبی با خلیج فارس از تک تک کشورهای همسایه است.
افزایش جمعیت نمیتواند دلیل تعویض نام باشد.
در آبهای شمال ایران کسی قصد تصرف آن را ندارد ولی در خلیج فارس هدف نهایی از تغییر نام این خلیج، تصرف جزایر سه گانه و خارج کردن اختیار کشور ایران در رفت و آمد کشتی های ترانزیتی میباشد

According to your reference, Iran alone has the largest water border with the Persian Gulf among the neighboring countries.
The increase in population cannot be the reason for changing the name.
In the waters of northern Iran, no one intends to seize it, but in the Persian Gulf, the ultimate goal of changing the name of this gulf is to seize the three islands and remove the authority of Iran in the movement of transit ships.

If OSM had the power to sway geopolitics in this way we could probably fix a lot of problems with a few simple edits.
But Iran surely wants to KEEP those islands in order to control those shipping lanes themselves, so it’s just two sides that both want to claim ownership and you happened to be on one of those sides.

And if we change the name, will we then have lots of Arabic posts arguing that they are being violated and that Iran is trying to claim overlordship over this stretch of water? Where does this argument end?

You portray Iran as some kind of victim, and OSM as the vector of the problem, while the real problem is geopolitics and the inability of countries to agree on things.
I would suggest you appeal to the governments around the gulf to agree on a neutral name. Perhaps… “The Gulf of Neutrality”. Then OSM will gladly comply.


پس لطفا بگویید چرا وقتی نام این خلیج را به عربی تغییر دادند نظری از ایران پرسیده نشد؟
آیا آن موقع ایران حق نظر نداشت؟

So please tell me why Iran was not asked for an opinion when they changed the name of this bay to Arabic?
Didn’t Iran have the right to comment at that time?

تمرکز شما بیشتر روی ترجمه نام است. ولی مشکل ما خود نام است.
این خلیج در زبانهای انگلیسی یا عربی یا فارسی یا … “خلیج فارس” خوانده میشود.
ترجمه مشکل ما نیست. نام اینجا را به خلیج عربی تغییر داده اند. این یک ترجمه نیست. نام کلا چیز دیگری شده و معنی آن فرق کرده است.
خلیج عربی نام قدیم دریای سرخ است. (این جمله تکراریست و در ابتدا نیز بیان کرده بودم)

Your focus is more on name translation. But our problem is the name itself.
This bay is called “Persian Gulf” in English, Arabic, or Persian languages.
Translation is not our problem. The name here has been changed to the Arabian Gulf. This is not a translation. The name has become something else and its meaning has changed.
The Arabian Gulf is the old name of the Red Sea. (This sentence is repeated and I had stated it at the beginning)

مواردی که صحبت کردید جالب اند البته در مورد من و کسانی که اینجا را خلیج فارس مینامند نیست. توجه داشته باشید فارسی زبانان نظرشان را تحمیل نکرده اند. اگر خوب نگاه کنید میبینید که در برچسب اصلی نام نوشته اند خلیج عرب.
پس کسانی که نظرشان را تحمیل کرده اند، موافقان با نام خلیج عرب هستند. حتی برای این تغییر نظرسنجی انجام نداده اند.
و اینکه شما باز هم تمرکزتان روی ترجمه است ولی مشکل خود اسم است. به عنوان مثال انگلستان در همه زبان ها و با هر شکل نوشتاری یک معنی میدهد: انگلستان

The things you talked about are interesting, but not about me and those who call this place the Persian Gulf. Note that Persian speakers have not imposed their opinion. If you look carefully, you will see that the name Arab Gulf is written on the main label.
So those who have imposed their opinion are in favor of the name Arab Gulf. They have not even conducted a survey for this change.
And that you still focus on translation, but the problem is the name itself. For example, England has the same meaning in all languages and in any form of writing: England

It seems like half a lifetime ago, but earlier in this thread you said:

So then at least it sounds like you think that you were consulted, and joined this thread as a result.

A bit like my comment about the United Nations earlier, everyone with a fixed view and an unwillingness to try and empathise with “the other side” will always be able to find some “evidence” that supports them. That doesn’t help anyone - both sides with fixed views can continue making the same statements and this thread will still be salted-snack-worthy for many years to come (although maybe things will die down after the legislative elections tomorrow, perhaps).

I suspect that solutions aren’t going to come from people with fixed views. I also suspect that, despite what is said above, having maps that preferably show name:xx tags where xx is a tag more likely to be politically favourable with the viewer will reduce the complaints a bit, although there will still be cases where people will argue (as NE found with POV maps) that an opposing political position to theirs isn’t just a difference of opinion, it is simply “wrong”.

– Andy

(for the avoidance of doubt, writing in a personal capacity)


جالب است حتی بر اساس قانون The on-the-ground (“OTG”) هم ویکی با به رسمیت شناختن بین المللی موافق است.

متن ویکی:
OpenStreetMap جهان را همانطور که وجود دارد ترسیم می کند و شامل نقشه برداری از مرزها و کشورها بر اساس وضعیت فعلی واقعی است و نه یک موقعیت مطلوب یا ایده آل.
در حال حاضر، ما مجموعه‌ای را ثبت می‌کنیم که، به عقیده مشارکت‌کنندگان OpenStreetMap، به طور گسترده در سطح بین‌المللی شناخته شده است و به بهترین وجه با واقعیت‌های موجود در زمین، به طور کلی به معنای کنترل فیزیکی است.
در این خلیج نام خلیج فارس از قبل بوده و خلیج عرب به صورت یک ادعا و بدون نظرخواهی و به صورت تحمیلی در برچسب اصلی قرار داده شده.

Interestingly, even under the On-the-Ground (“OTG”) rule, the wiki agrees with international recognition.

Wiki text:
OpenStreetMap maps world as it exists, and includes mapping borders and countries according to actual current situation and not a preferred or ideal situation.
Currently, we record one set that, in OpenStreetMap contributor opinion, is most widely internationally recognised and best meets realities on the ground, generally meaning physical control.

In this bay, the name of the Persian Gulf was already there, and the Arabian Gulf was placed in the original label as a claim and without asking for opinion.

@SomeoneElse عزیز
در واقع مشورتی با من صورت نگرفته بلکه وقتی دیدم این اتفاق افتاده از یکی از مسئولین “گروه کاری داده” (دی‌دبلیوجی) پرسیدم که چرا شما نام را تغییر داده اید؟
به من گفتند که: با من بحث نکن و در جامعه مطرح کن!

قبل از اینکه من به این جامعه بیایم و وارد بحث شوم نام اصلی یعنی خلیج فارس را به خلیج عربی تغییر داده بودند بدون هیچ نظرسنجی. این یک حقیقت است.
وقتی این کار انجام شد کسی نپرسید که آیا همه موافق اند یا نه. اما برای بازگردانی به نام بین المللی میگویید هیچ سندی قبول نیست حتی اگر بین المللی باشد. میگویید باید نظرسنجی شود.
در سازمان ملل نیز مدارک 75 سال کودک کشی در فلسطین را قبول نمی کنند ولی اسرائیل را بدون هیچ شرطی به عنوان حق قبول میکنند.

Dear @SomeoneElse
In fact, I was not consulted, but when I saw this happened, I asked one of the officials of DWG, why did you change the name?
They told me that: don’t argue with me and raise it in society!

Before I came to this community and entered the discussion, they had changed the original name of the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Gulf without any polls. This is a fact.
When this was done, no one asked if everyone agreed or not. But to return to the international name, you say that no document is accepted, even if it is international. You say there should be a survey.
In the United Nations, they do not accept the evidence of 75 years of infanticide in Palestine, but they accept Israel as a right without any conditions.