Jay May's Diary Comments

Diary Comments added by Jay May

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Belarus in Belarusian + bilingual / trilingual / quadrilingual names in Europe

Hmmm.. I think I understand +/- what Maturi0n meant by “bots”.

Actually, at some point, Ambush and some of the other guys were suggesting an automated check, and checking only afterwards if everything is O.K. It would be a bit of proofreading work rather than reading, so it would probably make it easier than changing everything manually.

I am not (yet) as technical as you guys are anyway :) Hence, don’t be surprised if I ask you a lot of questions in private :)

Belarus in Belarusian + bilingual / trilingual / quadrilingual names in Europe

Hello Maturion. Over 50 people are discussing this on Telegram Openstreetmap Belarus. Most people are either for the change either neutral. I am in close touch witb the DWG. Our aim is clear: reflecting the reality (and not focusing on one language). It is not currently the case because all toponyms and almost all tourist attractions and infrastructure or transport related spots are signed in Belarusian on the spot. I’m afraid the reason for which Russian was chosen over Belarusian was wrong. Openstreetmap is not an ethnographic, nor a linguistic map. If everyone chooses according to his/her own language preferences, OSM is going to be a bigger mess than now. You imagine the number of territories where names on-spot and the language spoken don’t match?…Anyway, as it was already stated, the 2009 consensus clearly violates OSM’s main rule on name=* tagging. The statistics you mentioned above do not prove everything. Remember there are still a lot of people in Belarus who do not have any Internet access (mostly those who speak Belarusian at home, the village population), and the fact they use mostly Russian wikipedia can be explained because simply it is more complete than the Belarusian one. Anyway, some people who support the switch to Belarusian are… Russian themselves. Because of the reasons mentioned above by Ambush. I also personally know quite a couple of Belarusians, Russians and EU people who are not map freaks like us, but use OSM-based maps and who told me +/- the same as a couple of users: the current names do not reflect the reality. Anyway, do not worry, despite the big mess there was at some point, we will manage it ;) A couple of users and I do agree with you on the principle of an automated change. This is one of the things we are working on right now! I just do not understand what you mean by “done by bots” Cheers!


Eastern Latvia is really a neverending story …

Such a lot of zones with roads drawn totally randomly. Sometimes 500 meters from their real place. Sometimes drawn as a straight line when they are full of curves. Sometimes property accesses or service roads driven as tertiary or unclassified roads … It is a real mess.

We really need to keep on working hard on Eastern Latvia because it is a total mess.

Who can help me? :)

Belarus in Belarusian + bilingual / trilingual / quadrilingual names in Europe

Screenshot from made this morning from my computer:

I remember a couple of years ago, they had exactly the same issue as we have had so far on OSM: all names in Belarus were written in Russian. For already more than a year, they switched those main names to Belarusian, leaving the name in Russian or in English (depending on the version you use) above. That is exactly our aim for OSM - we want those maps to reflect the reality.

P.S.: Георгий Ильин, I sent you a pm with questions :)


This is an excellent question. I believe perhaps at the places where those roads were badly drawn, the satellite images were showing clouds instead of ground, and they based themselves on data from other service providers. I’m afraid we’ll never known.

I’ve been mapping a bit Southern Latvia after having driven there. There is also a lot of data missing there. I noticed that for Latvia, people tend to neglect local and field/forest roads while those can be of high importance for bikers, pedestrians, and so on. As Roadrenner wrote, it is sometimes difficult to know whether such a road should be classified as “field/forest”, “local”, or “main”. However, it is still better to classify it as “field/forest” instead of “main” than not drawing those roads at all.

I noticed also a lot of mistakes, like roads leading to a property classified as main ones, or dirt roads classified as primary (which led my OSM-based GPS to lead me through Emburga while driving from Jelgava to Bauska)


Nice one! I didn’t know that one.actually. However, it seems not to be very user-friendly. Or perhaps it’s only on my computer it doesn’t work properly (when I try to continue a line, it doesn’t show me that option)


Well, actually both tasks are extremely useful. But, of course, if you are not close to Latvia or Russia, you can trace from satellite pictures!

I mostly trace from satellite pictures, but if I drive somewhere (or ride on my bike) and I see some inaccuracies or missing items, I draw them.


Errr, I am not sure I understood your question. :D In my case, I always use the ID editing mode. Is your question about it?

Belarus in Belarusian + bilingual / trilingual / quadrilingual names in Europe

This is what I want to avoid: wars. Because 1) Wars are never a solution, just an unnecessary waste of time 2) Neither I, neither many people have time for making wars with anyone here. We are not paid for correcting those maps either.

We need to change those rules. I also have a problem with the Slovak rules (only one language in places where bilingual names appear), but for the moment I will leave it aside because at least the names appear partly as on spot. In Belarus and Kazakhstan, it is totally confusing as it looks like there is an alternative reality. And this is contradictory with OSM’s primary rule on names (“The common default name. (Note: For disputed areas, please use the name as displayed on, e.g., street signs for the name tag.”) This map is made for everyone in the whole world and used in many languages by different apps.

Belarus in Belarusian + bilingual / trilingual / quadrilingual names in Europe

This is exactly my aim. It would be good to make this officially. And as you told yourself, Ambush, even Russian tourists complain on that when they use OSM-based maps like My only aim is to apply ground rule both for Belarus and Kazakhstan (and as you can see on my profile, not only) because otherwise it is a total mess. I don’t see why we shouldn’t do it, especially given the fact that Russian-speaking users will see the names in Russian additionally to the names that appear on spot anyway! You provided this example on Kastryčnickaja/Oktjabrskaja; I saw “Bol’šye” instead of “Vjalikaje”, names beginning with “O” instead of “A”. It is confusing even for Russian or Belarusian speakers, let alon non-Russian and non-Belarusian speakers!

Belarus in Belarusian + bilingual / trilingual / quadrilingual names in Europe

^^ Actually one of the perfect examples of what you write can be Astraviec (Астравец), which appears as Островец on the map. When you drive there, it is written in Belarusian (Астравец), which is why I would like to change the #name tag from Островец to Астравец. However, all the street names I’ve seen are in Russian. Thus, I think those street names should be left in Russian on OSM.

Belarus in Belarusian + bilingual / trilingual / quadrilingual names in Europe

@Escada: perhaps I explained myself badly. (perhaps because I had only 3 minutes to write)

What I meant is: in Belgium & Switzerland they appear with both names when they are bilingual, but it is not the case in all countries . In Poland, for instance, you’ve got a lot of bilingual names (Polish/Lithuanian, Polish/German, Polish/Kashubian, Polish/Belarusian, Polish/Rusyn …), in Czechia bilingual Czech/Polish names,in Slovakia bilingual Slovak/Hungarian, Slovak/German and Slovak/Rusyn names, etc. But those don’t appear on maps (ex.: Český Těšín / Czeski Cieszyn only appears as Český Těšín, Biała / Zülz appears only as Biała, etc.). My point is: I would like to do the same

@Malvolapukulo: that is a good point. However, it is a bit more complicated because we’d have to put a name in 30 languages or so:)

@ImreSamu: I know, I don’t need Wikipedia for that. My point is: in Belarus, ALL (no single exception) village/town/city names appear in Belarusian only (I drive there every 2 weeks during spring/summer/fall time). Thus, those names should appear in Belarusian only on openstreetmaps, as it is on-spot! (of course, I am not telling to eliminate Russian names, but to leave them as additional names in other languages, just like with Polish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian or English). In Minsk, metro stations and street names are also in Belarusian only. However, I am not telling to move all street, restaurant or shop names into Belarusian because in most places I’ve seen they are in Russian-only.

@tbicr: thanks for your advise. My point is to move Belarusian names frome “name:be” to “name”; and Russian names from “name” to “name:ru”.