OpenStreetMap

August 2019 disputed boundaries update

Posted by nvk on 14 August 2019 in English (English)

Back in March I posted a diary entry proposing to add basic support for disputed borders point-of-view (aka worldview) to OpenStreetMap. I was able to complete that work, primarily in March, April, May, and June of this year, by adding disputed=yes, disputed_by=*, claimed_by=*, and recognized_by=* tags. More work remains (see below), please contribute!

The open source Tilezen project was updated in June in v1.8 (changelog) to add support for the OpenStreetMap tags (view source). The Nextzen vector tile build now includes that data with circa 2019-July OSM planet file. Props to @Matt for the extensive work this entailed.

I released a new version of the Bubble Wrap map style for Tangram, using the Nextzen source to visualize these changes (PR #277). There’s now a “POV” point-of-view menu in the upper-right corner that will toggle the different visual treatments.

Examples in Kashmir and Taiwan

China, India, Pakistan points-of-view

Above: Showing different boundary points-of-view for China, India, Pakistan, paired with label localization.

Show me the disputed OpenStreetMap data

An overview of where I edited (and where I haven’t edited yet) is summarized below. I used Natural Earth (which I am the primary author, and v5.0.0-pre3) as a starting point. I encourage other OpenStreetMap editors to help refine the data according to further research and discussion. Next Nextzen planet update will likely be in December 2019 ;)

I used a combination of Overpass-Turbo select boundary features and JOSM to do the editing. My commits (under user @nvk) have the #disputed_by_claimed_by tag in comment messages.

Example workflow:

  1. Select data in Overpass-Turbo
    1. Zoom to an area of interest (see list below)
    2. Set query, like this to gather up all country, region, and disputed ways: [out:json][timeout:250]; // gather results ( // query part for: “admin_level=2” way["admin_level"="2"]({{bbox}}); way["admin_level"="4"]({{bbox}}); way["boundary"="disputed"]({{bbox}}); way["boundary"="claim"]({{bbox}}); way["disputed"="yes"]({{bbox}}); relation["claimed_by"]({{bbox}}); relation["disputed_by"]({{bbox}}); relation["recognized_by"]({{bbox}}); ); // print results out body; >; out skel qt;
    3. “Run” to see results, often saying “I’m okay with lots of data”
    4. Export to “download” as raw OSM data
  2. Edit data in JOSM
    1. Use a 2 button mouse, it’s easier than a trackpad
    2. Load the OSM export file into JOSM
    3. Add/modify/delete tags on ways:
      • disputed=yes which is generally supported by many renderers as dashed line.
      • disputed_by=AA;BB;CC to lists disputant viewpoints for the way, like MA;PS;SA. This turns “off” the line for that country’s viewpoint.
      • admin_level:AA=4;6 rare! only if the claiming country views the de-facto country boundary instead as a region or county line
    4. Add/modify/delete way’s membership in relations
      • Ensure relation is of type=boundary, or add new relation of that type
      • Give the relation a name=* value like Extent of Western Sahara claim with Morocco
    5. Ensure relation has the right tags
      • boundary=disputed or boundary=claim as appropriate
      • claimed_by=DD;EE;FF to list which ISO country codes claim this frontier limit (but does not control it), like EH
      • disputed_by=GG;HH;II lists disputant viewpoints for the way, like MA;PS;SA
      • recognized_by=XX;YY;ZZ to indicate which ISO country codes, even though they don’t claim the territory, recognize the claim and should see it in their viewpoint as a country/region/county, like DZ.
    6. Save, adding commit message and tag #disputed_by_claimed_by.
  3. Verify changes on OSM.org to ensure there aren’t default display regressions (say at zoom 16)
  4. Verify changes in vector tile build to verify point-of-view tags
  5. Repeat until for each disputed area until it’s fixed up

Completed disputed territory work list

Links go to Bubble Wrap with dispute in view. Use the “interactive” mode in the panel in the top right to then mouse over features (say at zoom 16) to “Edit in iD” to perform spot fixes.

  1. Disputed name – (note) - ID concordance to Natural Earth
  2. Arunachal Pradesh (South Tibet) – (Admin. by India; Claimed by China) - B00
  3. Bara Hotii Valleys – (Admin. by India; Claimed by China) - B02
  4. Crimea – (Admin. by Russia; Claimed by Ukraine) - B89
  5. Isla del Perejil – (Admin. by Spain; Claimed by Morocco) - B62
  6. Islas Chafarinas – (Admin. by Spain; Claimed by Morocco) - B65
  7. Jammu and Kashmir: Aksai Chin – (Admin. by China; Claimed by India) - B07
  8. Jammu and Kashmir: Azad Kashmir (Azad Jammu and Kashmir) – (Admin. by Pakistan; Claimed by India) - B09
  9. Jammu and Kashmir: Demchok – (Admin. by India; Claimed by China) - B03
  10. Jammu and Kashmir: Jammu and Kashmir – (Admin. by India; Claimed by Pakistan) - B05
  11. Jammu and Kashmir: Northern Areas (Gilgit–Baltistan) – (Admin. by Pakistan; Claimed by India) - B08
  12. Jammu and Kashmir: Shaksam Valley – (Admin. by China; Ceded to China by Pakistan; Claimed by India) - B06
  13. Jammu and Kashmir: Siachen Glacierr – (Claimed by Pakistan and India) - B45
  14. Penon de Alhucemas – (Admin. by Spain; Claimed by Morocco) - B64
  15. Samdu Valleys – (Admin. by India; Claimed by China) - B04
  16. Tirpani Valleys – (Admin. by India; Claimed by China) - B01
  17. W. Sahara – (Admin. by Morocco; Claimed by Western Sahara) - B19
  18. W. Sahara – (Self admin.; Claimed by Morocco) - B28

Partially completed disputed territory work list (land, major)

  1. Disputed name – (note) - ID concordance to Natural Earth
  2. Bhutan (Chumbi salient) – (Admin. by Bhutan; Claimed by China) - B76
  3. Bhutan (northwest valleys) – (Admin. by Bhutan; Claimed by China) - B75
  4. Ceuta – (n/a) - B60
  5. Ilemi Triange – (n/a) - B74
  6. Ilemi Triangle – (Admin. by Kenya; Claimed by Sudan) - B17
  7. Kuril Is. – (Admin. by Russia; Claimed by Japan) - B29
  8. Melilla – (n/a) - B61
  9. Near Om Parvat – (Admin. by India; Claimed by Nepal) - B88
  10. Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera – (Admin. by Spain; Claimed by Morocco) - B63

Not completed disputed territory work list (land, high priority)

  1. Disputed name – (note) - ID concordance to Natural Earth
  2. Abyei – (Admin. by Sudan; Claimed by South Sudan) - B13
  3. Cyprus U.N. Buffer Zone – (n/a) - B43
  4. Golan Heights: Golan Heights – (Admin. By Israel; Claimed by Syria) - B16
  5. Golan Heights: Shebaa Farms – (Admin. By Israel; Claimed by Lebanon) - B58
  6. Gaza – (n/a) - B53
  7. N. Cyprus – (Self admin.; Claimed by Cyprus) - B20
  8. Somaliland – (Self admin.; Claimed by Somalia) - B30
  9. South Ossetia – (Self admin.; Claimed by Georgia) - B37
  10. UNDOF Zone – (UN Patrolled Zone in Syria) - B49
  11. West Bank – (n/a) - B54 (Zone A, B, C also need tags)

Not completed disputed territory work list (land, lower priority)

  1. Disputed name – (note) - ID concordance to Natural Earth
  2. Abkhazia – (Self admin.; Claimed by Georgia) - B35
  3. Courantyne Headwaters – (Admin. by Guyana; Claimed by Suriname) - B15
  4. Belize – (n/a) - B51
  5. Donbass – (Self admin.; Claimed by Ukraine) - B90
  6. Gibraltar – (Admin. By U.K.; Claimed by Spain) - B55
  7. Guantanamo Bay USNB – (Leased to U.S.A. by Cuba; Claimed by Cuba) - B50
  8. Korean Demilitarized Zone (north) – (Since 1953 a 2 km buffer north of the military demarcation line, patrolled by North Korea) - B11
  9. Korean Demilitarized Zone (south) – (Since 1953 a 2 km buffer south of the military demarcation line, patrolled by South Korea) - B10
  10. Lawa Headwaters – (Admin. by France; Claimed by Suriname) - B14
  11. Nagorno-Karabakh – (Self admin.; Claimed by Azer.) - B38
  12. Olivenza – (Admin. by Spain; Claimed by Portugal) - B67
  13. Transnistria – (Self admin.; Claimed by Moldova) - B36
  14. West of Essequibo River – (Admin. by Guyana; Claimed by Venezuela) - B56

Not completed disputed territory work list (water)

  1. Disputed name – (note) - ID concordance to Natural Earth
  2. Abu Musa I. – (Admin. by Iran; Claimed by UAE) - B73
  3. Bajo Nuevo Bank (Petrel Is.) – (Claimed by Columbia, Jamaica, Nicaragua and the United States) - B41
  4. Bassas da India – (Admin. by France; Claimed by Madagascar) - B27
  5. Bird Island – (Admin. by Venezuela; Claimed by multiple) - B48
  6. Br. Indian Ocean Ter. – (Admin. by U.K.; Claimed by Mauritius and Seychelles) - B69
  7. Diego Garcia NSF – (Leased to U.S.A by U.K.; Claimed by Mauritius and Seychelles) - B44
  8. Dokdo (Takeshima, Liancort Rocks) – (Admin. by South Korea; Claimed by Japan) - B39
  9. Europa I. – (Admin. by France; Claimed by Madagascar) - B26
  10. Falkland Is. (Islas Malvinas) – (Admin. by U.K.; Claimed by Argentina) - B12
  11. Glorioso Is. – (Admin. by France; Claimed by Madagascar) - B24
  12. Hans I. – (Admin. by Denmark; Claimed by Canada) - B21
  13. Juan De Nova I. – (Admin. by France; Claimed by Madagascar) - B23
  14. Matthew and Hunter Is. – (Admin. by New Caledonia for France; Claimed by Vanuatu) - B66 (Not sure these are in OSM)
  15. Mayotte – (Admin. by France; Claimed by Comoros) - B22
  16. Mbane I. – (Admin by Gabon; Claimed by Equatorial Guinea) - B52
  17. Navassa I. – (Admin. by U.S.A.; Claimed by Haiti) - B34
  18. Paracel Is. – (Admin. by China; Claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan) - B47
  19. Pinnacle Is. (Senkaku Is., Diaoyu Is., Diaoyutai Is.) – (Admin. by Japan; Claimed by China and Taiwan) - B18
  20. Rockall I. – (Admin by U.K.; Claimed by Ireland, Denmark, and Iceland) - B31 (Not sure this is in OSM)
  21. S. Georgia – (Admin. by U.K.; Claimed by Argentina) - B32
  22. S. Sandwich Is. – (Admin. by U.K.; Claimed by Argentina) - B33
  23. Sapodilla Cayes – (Admin. by Belize; Claimed by Honduras and Guatemala) - B80
  24. Scarborough Reef – (n/a) - B70
  25. Serranilla Bank – (Claimed by Columbia, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the United States) - B42
  26. Spratly Is. – (Claimed by China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Brunei) - B46
  27. Swains Island (Olohega) – (Admin. by American Samoa for U.S.A.; Claimed by Tokelau) - B71
  28. Tiran and Sanafir Is. – (Admin. by Egypt; Claimed by Saudi Arabia) - B68
  29. Tromelin I. – (Admin. by France; Claimed by Mauritius and the Seychelles) - B25
  30. Wake Atoll – (Admin. by U.S.A.; Claimed by Marshall Islands) - B59

Comment from Carnildo on 14 August 2019 at 23:15

I don’t think Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is a border dispute of the sort you’re trying to map here: the USA and Cuba both agree that the land is part of Cuba. The dispute is that the USA says they’re leasing land for a naval base from Cuba; Cuba says the lease was agreed to under duress and is void.

Comment from pnorman on 19 August 2019 at 21:29

It’d be good to see this work on osm.org via submitting bubble wrap to be a featured tile layer. Are you interested in submitting it?

Comment from nvk on 20 August 2019 at 05:19

@Carnildo: While there is a military feature in OSM for Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/39037988), I include it in the list above because there is no admin boundary or even barrier tagged in OSM between Cuba and United States administration there – and there is a real world, on the ground difference between being on either side of that boundary in terms of the money in circulation, how mail is distributed, the civil administration, and military administration plays out. The same can be said of Diego Garcia NSF and other places, even the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The countries party to these complicated situations aka “claims” generally agree on the ultimate sovereignty, but OSM doesn’t currently reflect the day-to-day administration of these places. Think also of Hong Kong before the lease expired there, and the complicated “1 country, 2 systems” legal arrangement.

Comment from nvk on 20 August 2019 at 05:20

@pnorman: Sure, that sounds like a good idea to see this on OSM.org :)

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