FAO Administrators and Engineers of Openstreetmap,
As Jehovah’s Witnesses do not worship the cross, could the cross symbol be removed on the map where a Kingdom Hall is located and replace the term ‘The Kingdom Hall’ to ‘Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses’.
One source of confusion here may arise from the fact that, in the US at least, the town assessor’s office will classify Kingdom Halls as Churches for tax reasons, so they may get tagged as such in error. building=church would definitely be wrong here. But building=kingdom_hall doesn’t show up as an option in the iD editor.
I would also think it is likely that each company that renders OSM data, chooses to use the cross symbol for any place of worship tagged as “religion=christian”. So this is probably the offending tag. The first time I tried to tag a KH (in iD), when I saw the cross I tried to leave the “religion=” tag blank but iirc the iD editor flagged it as an error (it doesn’t do this now). For a new map editor, “religion=jehovahs_witness” does not show as an option, and in taginfo there is only one instance of it.
So what are the options? Documentation of proper Kingdom Hall tagging in the wiki? A preset in iD editor?
Any Kingdom Hall showing a cross is then probably incorrectly tagged: for instance it may have religion=christian or it may have the denomination spelt differently from the standard tag which should be denomination=jehovahs_witness.
Thanks for the link to the Carto issue. Since that issue is now closed I would like to comment on a few points made there.
One person proposed using the “Cross and Crown” symbol as a map icon. The JW’s stopped using this in their publications in 1928 and completely rejected it by 1936.
Another person mentioned using the Watchtower symbol. This has been expressly forbidden as it is a trademarked corporate logo. No Kingdom Halls are allowed to display this.
The JW.org sign would be acceptable, but who can know how long that would last? It does not seem to be a universal, long term solution. I actually think they would even like the symbol used for libraries, because it looks like an open Bible, but that would be too confusing for people looking for libraries.
So the current way that the OSM-Carto style renders KH’s with a kneeling figure is probably the best solution. As far as the thread starter here, if he is a JW he may be seeing the cross in Mapbox. Many of their congregations are using mapping software for their preaching assignment maps that can use maps from Google, Bing or Mapbox. (A tutorial for this can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwwEH9CKVFM)). If so the thread starter would need to file an issue Mapbox.
After reading the previous comments, I decided to join the discussion. I have been one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for over 60 years and I really appreciate your efforts in trying to find an appropriate symbol for Kingdom Halls, and the respect you have shown in your discussion.
For the few Kingdom Halls I have edited, I used the generic kneeling figure symbol as the best of currently available options. Although Jehovah’s Witnesses definitely are followers of Christ we do not use the cross in our worship.
I have been an OSM mapper for a relatively short time, and have much to learn, but I’m enjoying the journey. In the past I mapped for Waze a lot, and a bit for Google, but prefer OSM. My love of maps goes all the way back to childhood, and my OSM ID “mapman44” pre-dates my electronic mapping efforts by many years. I have lived in 8 states, traveled in 42 and even lived in Mexico for a couple of years so good maps have been a necessity for me.
If I can be of assistance in any way in matters concerning Jehovah’s Witnesses just let me know. If you are mapping a Kingdom Hall and want to make sure of the correct address, etc. the location info for any Kingdom Hall in the world can be found at https://apps.jw.org/ui/E/meeting-search.html#/weekly-meetings