Vandal reversals of multilingual names

They are trying to place names in Spanish of some towns in Galicia such as Pontedeume or Xunqueira de Ambía that have their corresponding pages in the Spanish Wikipedia calling them Puntedeume and Junquera de Ambía.

The OSM map supports multilingual names however the Jeslop user reverts the edit and blocks the author.

Is Jeslop working correctly? Or is an act of vandalism committed by placing names in Spanish (or another language) of monuments, places, etc. in Galicia in the “multilingual name” part?

I would appreciate opinions on the legality of putting names in Spanish (or another language) in the “multilingual name” part, which are also endorsed by Wikipedia.

What is the use of putting multilingual names? If one visits the Wikipedia page for Puentedeume, for example, and then wants to look for the location on the OSM map, it will suffice to put Puentedeume. At this moment, try it, if you search for Puentedeume the map returns Puentedeumes of streets, but not locality. It’s an example. I think OSM uses “multilingual name” so anyone can find a place or item in whatever language they want. Coincidentally, this Jeslop does not want Puentedeume to be called Puentedeume in Spanish even though there is a Wikipedia page with Puentedeume. And so with other towns ONLY in Galicia.

Sorry for the rant, but I don’t think it’s serious to mutilate the options offered by a good OSM edition.

I’m afraid that Jeslop’s nonsense will continue over time until other users report it, I have already done it, or it also admits multilingual names as it happens everywhere on the OSM map.

Greetings, the goal of the thread is a consensus

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It would help if you could link to the relevant objects. This appears to be one:

Have you contacted the Data Working Group?

Regarding the example of Pontedeume, even the town hall itself in its Spanish version mentions Pontedeume.

In which official place is “Puentedeume” mentioned?
I think it’s like trying to translate Puentezuela locality into a nonsense “Pontezuela”

It is absolutely unacceptable for a local community to decide that Spanish names have no place in their region of the map.

This controversy is not new. The political motivation behind these decisions has already been demonstrated. The controversy, moreover, is completely artificial. The OpenStreetMap community has solved this issue with the language prefixes.

The unreasonableness of some users reaches ridiculous levels, to the point of trying to convince Spanish speakers that the words they use to designate objects on the map do not exist. I speak from my own experience. Once, a user tried to convince me that the terms I used in Spanish to designate cities like La Coruña or Orense do not exist and that I should write it in Galician.

The Spanish rules regarding toponyms are clear: the Spanish form is preferred to the spelling in other languages. It is not only that I have been using those terms for as long as I can remember, it is that the orthographic rules of Spanish FORCE me to use them. The same applies to other types of objects: if there is a name in use in Spanish, it must have its place on the map. The map belongs to everyone, no matter your language.

I do not wish my comment to be interpreted as censorship against any user. Please, let’s be reasonable. I reiterate that it is absolutely unacceptable, ridiculous, puerile, undesirable and hateful to remove names from the map in other languages for political reasons. It doesn’t matter what language it is, DON’T DO IT.

It is up to the Spanish OpenStreetMap community to put order in this matter. And if it is inhibited, the international community or the OSM Foundation should put an end to this kind of controversy once and for all and forever.

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Some approaches to the problem:

  • Wikipedia is not a valid source for this issue. In addition, its license is not compatible with OSM, so it cannot be used. Therefore, if your only source is Wikipedia, I’m sorry…
  • As aTarom rightly says, if you look at any of the Spanish versions of the websites of these municipalities or media outlets, you will see what the toponym in use is.
  • If you go to these locations (remember that OSM maps reality, not what each person has in their head, but what actually exists on the ground), you will not see any of these supposed names that only existed for a short period in history. There are no political motivations, only an attempt to reflect the reality today.
  • The Spanish National Geographic Institute (IGN), with all its documentation written in Spanish, does not list any of these names. Go to their website and check it out.
  • The “political persecution” is of such magnitude (allow me to be ironic) that a search on Overpass in Galicia yields these results for name:es: “Mostrado - pdis: 1808, lines: 7490, polygons: 2336”. The provincial capitals of Galicia with names in Spanish still in use (although limited) have their name:es tag. But in little towns and villages, this has never, or almost never, been the case. In this regard, I think this article may be useful: As grafías tradicionais do topónimo 'Sanxenxo' | Real Academia Galega (sorry, it’s in Galician).
  • These toponyms were once in use, but now they are in full retreat and you will not see any of them on the ground. In spoken language, some people may still use them, but I don’t think this needs to be represented in OSM. There is no document that shows it except for the ideas held by a few.
  • Now a little history: the account that has originated all this controversy is creating discord and confrontations in the Spanish community for at least two years. Notice that they raised the issue in Help and Support, and not in the section of the local community itself: why? Because everyone there already knows their manipulations. In recent days, they have been sending personal messages to several members of the community to try to influence them, and in one case they succeeded. After talking to this user, who made some incorrect changes, they agreed to revert their changes. Over time, they have created at least a dozen accounts, solely to continue with their obsession of including names that no longer exist and that very few people use.
  • I am also sorry for users whom I respect for their work, but the RAE is a Royal Academy of Language, it does not know about cartography or its use in the language, nor does it have capabilities on the subject (I won’t list all the controversies in which the Academy has been involved), and its pronouncements should be applied to its field, not to this one.
  • And, I apologize to other user communities in Spain, such as the Catalan or Valencian, but I do not see this obsession in these users to use the supposed Spanish names that are also listed on Wikipedia in these areas.
  • One last thing: if the community says otherwise, I have no problem accepting it. This user has never been, in their multiple personalities, in contact with the community, has always tried to do their will, and has never responded to a message except with insults and threats.

Please spare me your ironies. They are outrageous in the face of the arbitrary censorship demonstrated by the community to which you belong.

The only thing that determines whether a name is in use or not is that there are people using them. It is unacceptable for anyone to try to deny expression in their own language to other users.

The spelling rules of the Spanish language are established by the RAE. Neither the National Geographic Institute (government agency) nor the regional and national governments do. Anyone who has read Orwell should be alarmed by those who in the 21st century still believe that governments and government agencies determine how we should speak, write and think.

Your arguments are not new to me, as I said. All of your arguments I have read before. You are not impartial. It is extremely alarming that someone with such ideas belongs on the Data Working Group and demonstrates such hostility against the Spanish language.

No hostility, I speak it 98% of my time, and people don’t use those names, I assure you.

Tampoco hay hostilidad contra usted por mi parte (permítame que le escriba en español).

Este asunto me ha costado demasiado como para ir más allá de este punto.

In this example shows what has happened to this node.

One person within the Spanish community in particular has had a problem with the broad consensus that has been reached there over names and has created a number of “new accounts” to suggest that more people disagree with the consensus than is actually the case. The “problem edit” to this object was by, who has been blocked by the DWG at The block message is a little terse but it’s essentially “this is obviously another sock-puppet of a known user”.

The activity of this “new user” is a little suspicious - some edits in France, with French comments (but locale=es), then a hop across the border to change some names in Spain and remove a link to the Galician Wikipedia.

The creator of this thread is another “new user”, but their post here, jumping into the middle of an existing dispute to continue an argument suggests that they are actually the same person**.

A good summary of how multilingual names should be handled is at I’d suggest that people who think that “Puentedeume” is the name most in use as a Spanish name there should provide some photographic evidence to back that up.

** Edit: See below - I got this wrong.


The use of certain toponyms are obsolete. Specifically in Spain, tons of places were translated into spanish, leaving the original etymology behind.

In order to bring here an unharmful example, the city of Maastricht Node: ‪Maastricht‬ (‪41977208‬) | OpenStreetMap in spanish is called Mastrique, but such name is so outdated that nowadays nobody even know it. Therefore, the OSM node contains name:es=Maastricht as it’s the common way to name it.

The catalan community uses old_name:es to refer them. Perhaps that’s a good starter point.


When I shared the link to that PDF file in the Spanish community group, I was censored.

When I shared that same suggestion along with a link to the wiki page on the use of the “name= *” tag in the Spanish community group, I was censored.

That you question the credibility of the “creator of this thread” is unnecessary and does not come to the point of the debate, before missing it, try to consult my editions of OSM. Thank you.

As an interested outsider here, I would like to note that I observed what I perceived as some name censoring when visiting Spain back in 2017: n76's Diary | OSM has failed me | OpenStreetMap

I am curious about how this will work itself out.

Great - my apologies.

We’ll look forward to seeing some evidence of the values referred to above in use.

I want to show an example that I share with the catalan community.

  • name=Sant Vicenç dels Horts (the only official and legal name of the town)
  • name:ca=Sant Vicenç dels Horts (as the official name is also the catalan name, caused will not be the same case in some towns in Catalonia like in the Vall d’Aran where there’s 3 cooficial languages, spanish, catalan and aranese/occitan)
  • name:es=San Vicente de los Huertos (a name that is WIDELY used by spanish speaking inhabitants, not an effort to translate artificially all town names, but a way to reflect the reality) An example is Vilanova, no one will say Villanueva, even if that’s the translation by a dictionary.
  • loc_name=Santvi (as people uses it in a coloquial way)
  • old_name or name:1939-1975: San Vicente dels Ors/San Vicente dels Horts (was the name set by the dictatorship government) Note: spanish wikipedia is still using the franquist name in the article, not the official in catalan and not the spanish translation

So the point here is when to use name:es; cannot be because we want to translate everything, needs to be just because it’s widely used.


I already know that. I know it because I myself shared it with the Spanish community, where I was censored.

«Franquist name»… I guess that’s why some contributors replaced Spanish names like “La Coruña” or “Orense” with Galician names and they tried to convince me that I should not use them, because they were Francoist names.

It is really sad what is happening in Spain with the issue of names. The use of political terminology reveals a lot about the motivation behind it and the prejudices of some contributors against the Spanish language.

Good that you brought Bilbao example here. I am also a foreigner that goes to Bilbao a lot for family reasons. Using OSM there, not having Spanish nor Basque as mother-tongue, is almost impossible.

For some reason, users (which I did not trouble myself to dig in giving the Spanish political problems already visible in this thread) started changing the name tag. In Bilbao the situation is currently:

name = Basque name slash Spanish name, or just name=Basque name
name:es = Spanish name
name:eu = Basque name

While name:es and name:eu is correctly used, which means that Spanish speakers or Basque speakers will have their maps properly displayed, the name tag like this implies:

1 - the map becomes horrible with huge street names (not sure if this is a real problem, but it does lead to an unnecessary ugly map)
2 - foreigners have trouble finding themselves, unless they change their maps to Spanish or Basque (which is a problem to people who don’t speak that language)
3 - QA addresses tools just go crazy on these regions, being impossible to maintain a correct map
4 - POIs addresses are virtually wrong if they try to match the street name
5 - what about geocoding? Nope.
6 - TTS? Nope again.

I understand the problems in the Spanish community, but to be honest some regions arrived to a solution (or it seems so). For example, in Catalunya all addresses are in Catalan as primary name, in many Basque villages too (name = name:eu, with addition to name:es).

However in Bilbao (where the majority of people speak Spanish instead of Basque, as opposed to the villages), have this crazy system of naming (which are also not entirely mapped in the city, leading to cases like this), where in the same bbox you see the very same Avenida Zumalacárregui with 3 different names: Avenida Zumalacárregui (correct), Zumalacárregui etorbidea (wrong) and Zumalakarregui etorbidea (correct). In the small streets you also see mainly name=Basque name only, but with some edge cases.

In San Sebastián, which is also a big city, they don’t seem to have this problem. The question is: why the local Spanish communities don’t decide already which primary language to use in the name tag, with addition to the other name:xx tags?

I know my foreigner point of view doesn’t help much, but to me it seems no-brainer use something like:
name=name:xx (be that Catalan, Basque, Galician etc)
name:es=Spanish name
name:xx=Local language name

This might be too simple, but it is better to have this no-ending disputes that leads to a wrong map, which is the opposite of OSM goals.

PS.: @n76 the street signs in Bilbao are like this (Spanish on top) not because Spanish is the main language, but because Basque is inverted to Spanish, so they can reduce the space used on the signs. For instance, a street like (just to illustrate) Avenida Goikoetxea / Goikoetxea etorbidea can be signed simply as Avenida Goikoetxea etorbidea, avoiding to repeat the Goikoetxea name.


I do not see a problem. If the name:es is used nowadays and recognized, it can be present.

Note that when I said that in wikipedia they uses the Franquist names, I mean, there’s an actual spanish translation of the town name and is not being used.

I am aware that you know that using “Francoist” in Spain does not mean what you now want to make believe.

I am not a “Francoist” for using Spanish names. I don’t think Arturo is either, although some people think he is a vandal for wanting to use Spanish names. That is the main topic of this thread.

These discussions with the Spanish community always end up the same way. If you get careless, they bring up the resurrected figure of Franco to throw it in your face. No thanks!