"Standard" map ignores name:en

Take a look at the “Standard” of our map at https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=16/8.7683/98.3964
There is a river roughly parallel to road 401. No name is shown.

When you look at the data, you will see that there is a name:en tag, but no generic “name” tag (typing Thai characters is not easy). That’s just one example, there are many more places (mostly lodging) with a “name:en” tag but without a generic “name” tag.

I think that under such circumstances the name:en tag should be used.

The issues list for the OSM Carto map style is over at https://github.com/gravitystorm/openstreetmap-carto/issues .

You could request there that “name:en” be used when “name” was not available, but I suspect that it’d be rejected because “name:en” isn’t really any more special as far as OSM Carto is concerned than, say, “name:cn”.

A similar-ish issue is https://github.com/gravitystorm/openstreetmap-carto/issues/3870 , which is asking about how to do the same thing in a personal copy of OSM Carto.

There are of course other map styles at openstreetmap.org and elsewhere that show English (or at least Latin) names for everything else. https://www.openstreetmap.org/search?whereami=1&query=8.7683%2C98.3937#map=13/8.7573/98.4039&layers=C is an example - but that style doesn’t show a river name there for some reason.

If you wanted to create your own map style based on OSM Carto then the code change to “show name:en if no name” is trivial - it’s essentially just https://github.com/SomeoneElseOSM/SomeoneElse-style/blob/master/style.lua#L208 . Unfortunately it doesn’t sound like that’s what you want to do.

Thanks for your hints, SomeoneElse.
This shows again that we could actually achieve much more than we do nowadays with little effort, but ideology prevents that from happening.

The argument that “name:en” should not be treated special is just made up. Of course, if there is only name:cn available, use that; if it’s name:en only, then name:en; etc.

Of course, it does not matter that in case I had my own web server etc. I could customize the style (theoretically, that one time I tried to set it up in a Virtual Machine I ran into the Linux equivalent of the “dll hell”). And then: why should a user visit my site instead of www.openstreetmap.org? The latter address is where people will be directed to.

There’s a discussion on the talk and tagging mailing lists about exactly that at the moment actually:


The problem with “if there is only name:cn available, use that; if it’s name:en only, then name:en; etc.” is that there are more than a couple of hundred languages in use in the world, so that would be a lot of code.

On the “DLL Hell” thing, does https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/SomeoneElse/diary/45070 and more generally https://switch2osm.org/serving-tiles/using-a-docker-container/ help?

Several communities (German, French, Belgian and the British as well I believe) have set up their own tiles server for their respective countries. Not everybody uses OpenStreetMap data only via the osm.org website. I have no idea what OsmAnd or maps.me or Magic Earth display in those situations. Focussing on 1 style is wrong.

And what you want, displaying the English name when the name-tag is empty, is considered English imperialism to another (see the thread SomeoneElse linked to). I agree with them in this case, the default style on osm.org is about displaying the names in the local language.

Alas no - the OSM UK group talked about it for ages but the “round tuits”* did not arrive, and so it never happened. I run https://map.atownsend.org.uk/maps/map/map.html as an unofficial alternative. In the context of this question that is worth a look because that does make language choices based on location - it uses Welsh names in the Welsh-speaking areas of Wales (see https://map.atownsend.org.uk/maps/map/map.html#zoom=12&lat=51.8816&lon=-5.2397 and Scots Gaelic names in the Northwest of Scotland (see https://map.atownsend.org.uk/maps/map/map.html#zoom=12&lat=57.4047&lon=-6.19)

OsmAnd will try and make use of language data if it’s there and matches the language of the user’s device, I believe. If that is not good enough, it is possible to greatly customise how OsmAnd maps appear - I included OsmAnd in https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/SomeoneElse/diary/391484, which is a list of ways of transforming data to do this sort of thing, for that reason.

How do you determine where Welsh or Scots Gaelic is appropriate in your rendering?

I took a look at the German rendering library and noticed they embedded some shape data to assist in their efforts. This seems wrong to me: If you are rendering a geographical database (OSM) why should you need an additional geographical database to help interpret it?

Sure seems to me that OSM should have a way of specifying the default language(s) for an area, maybe some tagging on the boundary (multi)polygons.

All this because I tried using my style for making print maps in Nepal and was astounded to see that there were nearly no names in Nepali.

I wrote a diary entry about it at https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/SomeoneElse/diary/42069. Since then I updated the Welsh processing to use a polyline: https://github.com/SomeoneElseOSM/SomeoneElse-style/blob/master/welsh_areas.poly. The Scots Gaelic area is still a rectangle.

This has been attempted, see https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/tagging/2018-April/thread.html#35855, but certainly wasn’t universally accepted as a good idea.

Another reason why that wouldn’t work for me is that there isn’t a strict isogloss between English and Welsh (or the others that I use). It’s a percentage game (see e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_language#Wales) and there are an infinite number of areas that you could draw, each corresponding to a particular percentage in a particular study, and of course other studies might ask different questions and get different answers.

With a DWG hat on I get lots of language questions, and often the “languages that people speak”, the local “official languages” and the “languages used when they want to communicate with officials” are very different - often there’s no simple answer to the “what language should I show” question.

Thanks for that hint. If I#ll try that some when again, I may take a look at it.
Currently, other OSM projects cost quite some time, i.e. adding the data collected on ground during december to the map, and adjusting my styles for map creation and rendering in OsmAnd.

Just checked OsmAnd with the river in the first post. It is nameless, both with “use local names” and with “english”; only the river to the west changes from Thai to English.