I've a English speaker who resides in Thailand, who does not read Thai nor the languages of other Asia countries. My OSM language setting is "en-US,en" (w/o quote marks).

I need to have the OSM maps to be in English, as much as possible, yet my current language setting doesn't seem to accommodate this.

Help, please. Thanks!

asked 08 Feb '15, 09:24

grathiam's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


Thanks for the replies, and now feeling somewhat embarrassed. I must admit that when I posted my query, I'd not zoomed in on the map which then revealed many details translated into English.

(09 Feb '15, 02:54) grathiam

As I understand it, you can only see the English on Thai maps if the person who added the item used English in the primary field. This is against the OSM recommendations for updating maps. Editors should enter the local language in the primary field. There are secondary (translation) fields where translations can also be added, but those aren't displayed on OSM maps. So, it is an 'error' if you are seeing the English.

(30 Apr, 04:58) JacksonMrsSippy

« previous12

Open Street Map’s priorities are their own, but it seems a little strange it hasn’t yet included a worldwide Latin map at the very least, considering about a third of world’s population use that script.

I can understand why, as explained in the first reply above, the current web map is the way it is. But at the same time this “global map” really behaves more like a collection of national maps, considering very few people if anyone can read all the world’s scripts and languages. I was also of the impression that many people use other software, apps or specialist editors to edit the map, rather than the main web viewer. It seems, ideally, this global-local map should be the primary map for editing and not the standard map for general use. Other versions of the map with a consistent script could be used as the default Standard map for viewing, with the map used dependent upon the nation or territory from where it’s accessed.

I do believe, that without globally-consistent labelling by script or language it’s precluding wider adoption of Open Street Map compared with other services, and this in turn probably limits the size of the community and the number of active editors. I wonder if this is ever considered or factored in discussions regarding priorities. I’d love to replace all other mapping services with Open Street Map, but given its current design I can’t.

I like Open Street Map and it’s improved a lot since I first explored it several years ago. In particular, the local-level cartography (at least in the Standard map) is sublime and probably beats all the competition (including Google). For my uses and needs however, I have to consider it an effectively incomplete global map and useful only in nations and territories that use Latin, since other scripts are unintelligible with it.

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answered 17 May '18, 16:09

SimonMetcalf's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 17 May '18, 16:13


but it seems a little strange it hasn’t yet included a worldwide Latin map at the very least

You mean apart from the 2 of the 4 maps on openstreetmap.org that DO include Latin names? Sorry if this comes across as tetchy but we do hear this sort of stuff a lot - you can see in the answers above that there are lots of maps that present OSM data using latin characters. Perhaps if we knew what your "uses and needs" were we'd be able to comment further...

(17 May '18, 16:12) SomeoneElse ♦

Can you elaborate further? I, the original poster, and many others have had trouble finding this global Latin or English map.

(17 May '18, 16:16) SimonMetcalf

There are a shedload of links above to other maps. On osm.org itself, there is for example https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=5/29.497/103.821&layers=T .

(17 May '18, 16:18) SomeoneElse ♦

I was also of the impression that many people use other software, apps or specialist editors to edit the map, rather than the main web viewer.

It's not just many people use other software to edit the map, no one uses the main web viewer to edit the map. It simply does not have that functionality. You cannot edit the map with it.

You may be understanding the iD editor as part of the main web viewer, but it is a separate bit of tech, and does in fact display the names in Latin script (for me, with my web-browser set to English).

(17 May '18, 20:07) keithonearth

So this basically renders null the main argument in the first reply above where they state: “The standard map on the main website is largely there to assist those who are actively contributing to the map” i.e. editing it. So if the Standard web map is not used to edit the map, why would it need to be a version that’s targeted to editors by favouring local country-specific scripts?

The standard rendered map at www.openstreetmap.org is the public face of Open Street Map, and seems to have the best cartography, yet it doesn’t seem targeted or particularly well suited for general use — unless you’re only interested in your own country I suppose (and that’s just boring). This I find odd. It displays by default a global map with zoom (in my case) set at a national scale, which just invites you to explore other countries.

I looked for the links to other rendered maps with alternative labelling via the main web portal (as the OP likely did) but couldn’t find them, and I’m sure most casual visitors won’t either; while most of the other web viewers seem to have different (and inferior) rendering/cartography than the mostly excellent Standard map.

(23 May '18, 13:22) SimonMetcalf

Just a bit more (because it went over the character limit):

I find this all interesting how certain projects organise themselves and determine their priorities. I see no reason why Open Street Map can’t be the premier global mapping service the way Wikipedia is for general knowledge. Goodness knows it’s so much better than Apple Maps, and unlike Apple Maps if something is wrong you don’t have to submit a report to them (and wait forever for them to do nothing) but you can actually edit it yourself! I just feel that with the Standard map at the main web portal the way it is, it’s probably turning away a lot of people on their very first visit.

(23 May '18, 13:24) SimonMetcalf

@SimonMetcalf This has been done to death over the years. This is a help site not one to discuss the design of the Carto-CSS map nor of the OSM website.

(23 May '18, 13:50) SK53 ♦

(I probably shouldn't feed the troll, but)

why would it need to be a version that’s targeted to editors by favouring local country-specific scripts?

Why do you think it should favour you over people who actually live in a particular country and are more likely to want a map of it?

(23 May '18, 14:08) SomeoneElse ♦
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question asked: 08 Feb '15, 09:24

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