OpenStreetMap

Systematizing Turkmenistan's Data

Posted by apm-wa on 2 December 2018 in English (English)

All 13 border crossings between Turkmenistan and its neighbors are now mapped, named, tagged. All but one of the known national highways has been drawn, tagged, and had relations established (the missing one is in a border zone and I cannot drive on it without special permission). Next I have gone down the list of municipalities in search of a) missing cities and towns, and b) mistagged and misnamed cities and towns. Some bear names from the Soviet period, others have not been updated since the current government either restored an old name or assigned a new one. Slowly but surely the data in the Turkmenistan map are improving. The next editions of Lambertus’ Garmin map, MAPS.ME, and Pocket Earth should have much improved routable maps for Turkmenistan.

When Ann and I started this 3-1/2 years ago we focused on simply getting street names and POIs entered–raw data were lacking. Increasingly we find ourselves doing quality control, cross-checking names of municipalities with locals who live there and can tell us both what is on the sign and what it used to be called. For example, I suspected that “Imeni Kirova” had been renamed because it is not listed in “Districts in Turkmenistan” and Kirov was a Russian Bolshevik. Sure enough, a check with a resident of that area revealed a new name for the municipality. Some municipality names are transliterations from the Russian and thus are not what is on the signs, which are all Turkmenized. This takes detective work, but again, slowly but surely it is paying off with improvement of the database. I take all this as a sign of progress.

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