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I know that in OSM we generally follow the on-the-ground rule for content disputes. However, my question concerns areas of overlapping territorial claims by neighbouring countries, where each country unilaterally claims an overlapping area but have not bilaterally demarcated the boundary.

Take the area near Preah Vihear Temple on the Cambodia–Thailand border (previously mentioned in this question), for example. The International Court of Justice has ordered both countries to demilitarise the area pending its ruling, and the area, which is largely jungle, doesn't lend itself to on-the-ground verification. Since the extent of the disputed area is well publicised, is there a way to map both sides' claims, clearly showing that they are disputed, so that we don't arbitrarily favour any particular party? If so, how should the tags be applied? Even if the overlapping area isn't featured on the main map, it would still be extremely useful for users of the data wishing to use the map to illustrate the dispute itself.

I'm aware that details will have to be discussed with local editors. Right now I'm interested in the general principle. The same could be applied to overlapping maritime claims, especially non-confrontational disputes where neither party directly exerts control over an area, since it wouldn't be possible to test the on-the-ground rule in the middle of the sea.

asked 08 Nov '13, 12:31

Paul_012's gravatar image

accept rate: 33%


You might like to read the document available here:

(08 Nov '13, 14:24) EdLoach ♦

Thanks. I hadn't known that there was such an official position on the subject.

(11 Nov '13, 16:30) Paul_012

As you said, OSM normally follows the ground truth rule and, failing that, international bodies' official word. And failing that, OSM traditionally ignores the problem until it goes away.

For such desperate cases, I'd be tempted to

  1. Let the two country border OSM relations actually overlap.
  2. Add a relation for the disputed area with boundary=disputed or somesuch.

But I haven't found any evidence of that technique being used before. It would need wider discussion. Try the tagging mailing list maybe ?

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answered 08 Nov '13, 14:16

Vincent%20de%20Phily's gravatar image

Vincent de P... ♦
accept rate: 19%

Thanks. Seeing as the issue might warrant substantial discussion (and considering the document linked above by EdLoach), I'll probably leave it alone for now.

(11 Nov '13, 16:34) Paul_012

Did you read these questions and answers as well ? There some issues like yours, with explanations what the guidance is for OSM.

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answered 08 Nov '13, 13:03

Hendrikklaas's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%


Yes, I had gone through those questions. I couldn't find any answers directly relevant to my question, though.

(08 Nov '13, 13:20) Paul_012

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question asked: 08 Nov '13, 12:31

question was seen: 10,094 times

last updated: 11 Nov '13, 16:34

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum