The infamous swastika building

I was looking at the area around a US Navy building unluckily shaped like a swastika (located at 32.676192,-117.157731) and noticed it hadn’t been marked as a building on OSM.

I see plenty of buildings around it have been marked as buildings, but not this one. I was wondering if there was a legal reason behind that or if it would be fine for me to mark it as a building.

Welcome to the OpenStreetMap forum! :slight_smile:

I’m not aware of any previous discussion or known legal issues regarding this building. Personally, I think it should be added - when in doubt, I would always stick to the facts on the ground.

Swastikas are illegal in many European countries, particularly Germany. This may explain why it is hidden.

But this does not necessarily mean that displaying roughly swastika-shaped buildings in a sensible context – such as a map – is also illegal.

When the existence of this building first hit the news, there were many newspapers in Germany and other European countries who showed aerial imagery of the buildings. Likewise, Google still show the building in both their imagery and their map data (link). I’m not aware of anyone suing them for that. So I don’t see much of a legal risk.

Google Maps also demonstrates that the building looks a lot less like a swastika when you map its shape in enough detail, and Bing’s imagery is detailed enough to achieve that.