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Hello, my name is Lior and I belong to "Btselem" - a Human rights organization in Israel. ( We are currently building a new site, and would like to use OSM in it. However, we've noticed that the places' tags are only in one language, either Hebrew, English or Arabic. It is very important to us that the tags would be translated to all three languages. Is that possible? can we help in anyway? We would also like to add a few tags for places and villages which aren't yet listed. Thank you very much.

asked 15 Feb '11, 11:35

lior's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

It's possible to use multiple name tags on places by using ISO 639-1-codes. For further information see the documentation of Key:name. Thus, the name tags should probably look like name:he, name:en and name:ar.

And just as a reminder, as you probably already know you are not allowed to copy the names of the locations from any copyright protected source without adequate permission.

You may also look at Multilingual names to find out how this as been handled for other places. Unfortunately there is yet no Israel section of that wiki document. When you go ahead with the tagging you may consider to update that part of the wiki so other mappers can follow your coding style.

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answered 15 Feb '11, 12:01

gnurk's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

edited 16 Feb '11, 20:24


"without adequate permission" as a humans rights organization you will probably be able to get commercial databases of names for free, this can not go into OSM. :-/

(16 Feb '11, 19:50) emj

You can add names for places in any language in OpenStreetMap by adding a tag with name:<lang>=<name> where lang is the two-letter ISO language code. OSM supports Unicode, so you should be OK adding names in both Hebrew and Arabic scripts -- and no-one has reported any major problems with this so far.

Please try to use official translations of place names where available. We try to maintain a policy of verifiability, so other mappers should be able to check the names you've added based on signs on the ground, official publications or other authoritative sources.

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answered 15 Feb '11, 12:05

Jonathan%20Bennett's gravatar image

Jonathan Ben...
accept rate: 18%

Additionnaly to other answer, you have to consider that the default rendered tiles are using exclusively native language of the data region. If you want localized tiles, you'll have to build your own tiles.

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answered 15 Feb '11, 15:48

NicolasDumoulin's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

Hello Lior,

I'm not sure if this is still relevant but you should consider visiting the Israeli OSM Forum for more informations about the posebilites :

Actually the sticky note shows that the most data for a multilingual map is available:

You can have a English, Hebrew and Arabic map if the data exists. Israel is mostly translated to Hebrew and English. There are no Arabic mappers active in Israel, so there is rare Arabic translations.

But of course this can be changed by the users.

We as the Israeli community would be very happy if you could provide us some data. The easiest way of course is the usage of the existing bug system:

You are welcome to just add as many bugs as you want and OSM mappers nearby will fix or add the village names and places. We are highly interested in those data !

Please just login into our discussion board and we will find a way for a cooperation.

PS: We are currently working on a separated Israeli Mapping server to avoid all the bugs and problems that are not getting fixed in the default rendering engine. Visit Currently you will see it only in Hebrew due to lack of sponsors!

Shalom, David

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answered 31 Oct '11, 13:39

Mr_Israel's gravatar image

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question asked: 15 Feb '11, 11:35

question was seen: 6,724 times

last updated: 31 Oct '11, 13:39

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