I plan to start tagging more disputed administrative boundary lines in OpenStreetMap with tags for
disputed=yes (but will leave the existing
dispute=yes alone), adding
disputed_by=* on disputed ways, and adding
claimed_by=* on their relations to support multiple points-of-view.
I will use a combination of the iD editor and JOSM for this sprint, and use the
#disputed_by_claimed_by tag in comment messages. My OSM username is nvk should anyone else want to help out or discuss, please say hi :)
I don’t propose changing default tags for administrative boundaries which already use OpenStreetMap’s on the ground rule – I only propose adding additional tags on the country and disputed features to indicate they are disputed (many are already are tagged this way), and to indicate which countries dispute &/or claim the boundary.
I will follow the schema used in Kashmir for ways and relations tagged for India, Pakistan, and China country boundaries. I will clean up a few errors in Kashmir (missing tags or incorrect country codes), and will then focus on expanding the use of this tagging schema to other disputed areas around the world.
Further work could support which other countries recognize (or have opinions about) the
claimed_by points of view. But there isn’t yet a consensus in OpenStreetMap about which approach to take, and the existing tagging scheme I plan to reuse for the basic claimants is also compatible with the main tagging discussions that are still under way for the complicated case. This will allow the OpenStreetMap community and Tilezen in particular to prototype support for making maps with this data (see the Why section below for more background).
Specifically, I won’t yet focus on any of the proposed tags for
boundary=claim on ways,
claim_level=* on ways,
claim_level:claimant_country_code=* on ways,
controlled_by=* on relations,
country_code=* on Master Claim relations,
boundary=master on the Master Claim relations,
boundary=claim on Boundary Claim relations, or
boundary=conflict_area as an optional Conflict Area relation. But these could all be added to the data after this round of tagging, and after research and quality assurance for version 5 of Natural Earth is complete.
What OpenStreetMap data allows today
- If a way is in a relation claimed_by a view, it’s displayed in RED.
- If way is tagged as disputed_by a view, it’s not shown.
- If neither of the above and it’s flagged as “on the ground” then display in GREEN.
“on the ground” view from OpenStreetMap:
And this is what the data indicates India’s view should be:
And what the data says Pakistan’s view should be:
And what the data says China’s view should be:
Cleaning up Kashmir tags
Most of the line-of-control between India and Pakistan is tagged as
disputed_by=IN;PK, but some segments aren’t. Since the line-of-control is the “on the ground” view of the border between the two countries, these untagged segments get displayed in green even though they are disconnected from other parts of the border. Looks like a simple case of bad tagging - should be easy to correct.
Some other problems appear to stem from typos, for example this alleged dispute between India and Switzerland, where the fix is to change the incorrect two-letter code for China from
The schema used for Kashmir seems to only be well implemented around the three-way India, Pakistan, China (
IN;PK;CN) dispute. There’s some related tagging on the Israel, Syria (
IL;SY) dispute, but the
SY claims aren’t collected into a claim relation, nor are
SY’s claims tagged as disputed_by
Other disputes, such as Doklam, the Ilemi Triangle, Hala’ib Triangle are mapped with a simple
disputed=yes tag and no
I’ll use Natural Earth’s v5.0.0-pre2 data (of which I am the primary author) as a guide on which disputed areas to tag, using
claimed_by data that has been vetted over the last 10 years by myself and the Natural Earth community. There are about 80 disputes – see list below – that are significant enough to be shown at zoom 8 on the map.
Many more smaller disputed boundaries exist in real life, but I’ll leave those for someone else to tackle. I plan to focus work on terrestrial (land) disputes from that list, and defer work on maritime boundary disputes because they are less useful for generic basemap construction.
I am the primary maintainer of Natural Earth and am a core contributor to the open source Tilezen vector tile project, originally sponsored by Mapzen and now a Linux Foundation project. The upcoming version 5 of Natural Earth will add support for different points-of-view (sometimes called worldview), and Tilezen is also adding support for the same in it’s boundaries layer.
Adding points-of-view to the data allows basemaps to be customized to meet the expectations of certain polities around the world, while keeping the default map styling de facto based on the “on the ground” situation. Practically speaking, this means sometimes displaying different country boundary lines to different users in different countries for disputed areas like Kashmir, Western Sahara, Palestine, and Crimea. In some countries, like India and China, there are even legal requirements around showing their own country boundaries, even when that country doesn’t control all that territory on the ground.
Tilezen composes it’s high-zoom boundaries layer data (view source) from OpenStreetMap features based on several tags on ways (
admin_level=*) and relations (looking at the
admin_level=*), and based on how osm2pgsql ETLs the data. Tilezen also does some processing to determine the left or right names to include on the line features (which means Tilezen needs to build complete polygons).
Tilezen express point-of-view as a “localized”
kind:* values, where * is replaced with a point-of-view code (starting with 2-character or 3-char “country” codes). For example:
kind:cn is used when China has a different view of a border than the default “kind” value (generally the de facto point of view). This optional point-of-view approach allows allows the boundary line to be symbolized by default as “disputed”, but for a Chinese audience to see it as a “county” line, and for related boundary lines to be turned off with a special
unrecognized value. NOTE: This approach might later be extended to region boundary lines (like in Arunachal Pradesh in India which China calls South Tibet), and even the places layer (since “capital” cities are also implicated).
Tilezen prototyped support for worldviews at low-zooms from Natural Earth (v5.0.0-pre2) in the v1.7 release (tilezen/vector-datasource/1552) in February, and are extending that to high-zooms from OpenStreetMap in the v1.8 release in active development (tilezen/vector-datasource/1810) in early 2019.
The following 30 worldviews are supported in Tilezen today at mid-zooms from Natural Earth, and I’d like to eventually support them at high-zooms from OpenStreetMap (but not all in this first sprint):
- Argentina (ar), Bangladesh (bd), Brazil (br), China (cn), Egypt (eg), France (fr), Germany (de), Greece (gr), India (in), Indonesia (id), Israel (il), Italy (it), Japan (jp), Morocco (ma), Nepal (np), Netherlands (nl), Pakistan (pk), Palestine (ps), Poland (pl), Portugal (pt), Russia (ru), Saudi Arabia (sa), South Korea (ko), Spain (es), Sweden (se), Taiwan (tw), Turkey (tr), United Kingdom (gb), United States (us), Vietnam (vn), ISO (iso).
These 29 countries and 1 international organization are either claimants to major disputes or more often have opinions about those disputes – and are the primary country for Tilezen’s supported “common” languages for localized
There’s also subtlety around a particular country’s “official” view of disputes (&/or legal mandates) and the conventional or “unofficial” depiction of the same in maps produced in that same country. For example, Spain officially claims Gibraltar, which is administered by the United Kingdom, but most maps published in Spain show Gibraltar as administered by the United Kingdom with a border crossing.
But again, I’m only going to start with adding the basic
claimed_by tags in this sprint to keep it simple.
I plan on notifying the following groups by email:
- Data Working Group – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tagging email list – email@example.com
- Talk email list – firstname.lastname@example.org
I plan on notifying the following individuals (those mentioned in the main tagging discussion):
- Johnparis (https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/johnparis)
- Imagico aka Christoph Hormann (email@example.com)
- Rorym (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Kilkenni (https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Kilkenni)
- Yurik (email@example.com)
- Mateusz Konieczny (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- SomeoneElse (https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/SomeoneElse)
- Jarek Piórkowski (https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Jarek%20Pi%C3%B3rkowski)
Proposed disputed territory work list
Natural Earth keeps track of disputes around the world and I’ll use that as a starting point. Other OpenStreetMap editors can keep refining the data according to further research and discussion.
- Disputed name – (note) - ID concordance to Natural Earth
- Abkhazia – (Self admin.; Claimed by Georgia) - B35
- Abu Musa I. – (Admin. by Iran; Claimed by UAE) - B73
- Abyei – (Admin. by Sudan; Claimed by South Sudan) - B13
- Arunachal Pradesh (South Tibet) – (Admin. by India; Claimed by China) - B00
- Bajo Nuevo Bank (Petrel Is.) – (Claimed by Columbia, Jamaica, Nicaragua and the United States) - B41
- Bara Hotii Valleys – (Admin. by India; Claimed by China) - B02
- Bassas da India – (Admin. by France; Claimed by Madagascar) - B27
- Belize – (n/a) - B51
- Bhutan (Chumbi salient) – (Admin. by Bhutan; Claimed by China) - B76
- Bhutan (northwest valleys) – (Admin. by Bhutan; Claimed by China) - B75
- Bird Island – (Admin. by Venezuela; Claimed by multiple) - B48
- Br. Indian Ocean Ter. – (Admin. by U.K.; Claimed by Mauritius and Seychelles) - B69
- Ceuta – (n/a) - B60
- Courantyne Headwaters – (Admin. by Guyana; Claimed by Suriname) - B15
- Crimea – (Admin. by Russia; Claimed by Ukraine) - B89
- Cyprus U.N. Buffer Zone – (n/a) - B43
- Diego Garcia NSF – (Leased to U.S.A by U.K.; Claimed by Mauritius and Seychelles) - B44
- Dokdo (Takeshima, Liancort Rocks) – (Admin. by South Korea; Claimed by Japan) - B39
- Donbass – (Self admin.; Claimed by Ukraine) - B90
- Europa Island – (Admin. by France; Claimed by Madagascar) - B26
- Falkland Is. (Islas Malvinas) – (Admin. by U.K.; Claimed by Argentina) - B12
- Gaza – (n/a) - B53
- Gibraltar – (Admin. By U.K.; Claimed by Spain) - B55
- Glorioso Is. – (Admin. by France; Claimed by Madagascar) - B24
- Golan Heights: Golan Heights – (Admin. By Israel; Claimed by Syria) - B16
- Golan Heights: Shebaa Farms – (Admin. By Israel; Claimed by Lebanon) - B58
- Guantanamo Bay USNB – (Leased to U.S.A. by Cuba; Claimed by Cuba) - B50
- Hans Island – (Admin. by Denmark; Claimed by Canada) - B21
- Ilemi Triange – (n/a) - B74
- Ilemi Triangle – (Admin. by Kenya; Claimed by Sudan) - B17
- Isla del Perejil – (Admin. by Spain; Claimed by Morocco) - B62
- Islas Chafarinas – (Admin. by Spain; Claimed by Morocco) - B65
- Jammu and Kashmir: Aksai Chin – (Admin. by China; Claimed by India) - B07
- Jammu and Kashmir: Azad Kashmir (Azad Jammu and Kashmir) – (Admin. by Pakistan; Claimed by India) - B09
- Jammu and Kashmir: Demchok – (Admin. by India; Claimed by China) - B03
- Jammu and Kashmir: Jammu and Kashmir – (Admin. by India; Claimed by Pakistan) - B05
- Jammu and Kashmir: Northern Areas (Gilgit–Baltistan) – (Admin. by Pakistan; Claimed by India) - B08
- Jammu and Kashmir: Shaksam Valley – (Admin. by China; Ceded to China by Pakistan; Claimed by India) - B06
- Jammu and Kashmir: Siachen Glacier – (Claimed by Pakistan and India) - B45
- Juan De Nova I. – (Admin. by France; Claimed by Madagascar) - B23
- Korean Demilitarized Zone (north) – (Since 1953 a 2 km buffer north of the military demarcation line, patrolled by North Korea) - B11
- Korean Demilitarized Zone (south) – (Since 1953 a 2 km buffer south of the military demarcation line, patrolled by South Korea) - B10
- Kuril Is. – (Admin. by Russia; Claimed by Japan) - B29
- Lawa Headwaters – (Admin. by France; Claimed by Suriname) - B14
- Matthew and Hunter Is. – (Admin. by New Caledonia for France; Claimed by Vanuatu) - B66
- Mayotte – (Admin. by France; Claimed by Comoros) - B22
- Mbane Island – (Admin by Gabon; Claimed by Equatorial Guinea) - B52
- Melilla – (n/a) - B61
- N. Cyprus – (Self admin.; Claimed by Cyprus) - B20
- Nagorno-Karabakh – (Self admin.; Claimed by Azer.) - B38
- Navassa I. – (Admin. by U.S.A.; Claimed by Haiti) - B34
- Near Om Parvat – (Admin. by India; Claimed by Nepal) - B88
- Olivenza – (Admin. by Spain; Claimed by Portugal) - B67
- Paracel Is. – (Admin. by China; Claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan) - B47
- Penon de Alhucemas – (Admin. by Spain; Claimed by Morocco) - B64
- Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera – (Admin. by Spain; Claimed by Morocco) - B63
- Pinnacle Is. (Senkaku Is., Diaoyu Is., Diaoyutai Is.) – (Admin. by Japan; Claimed by China and Taiwan) - B18
- Rockall I. – (Admin by U.K.; Claimed by Ireland, Denmark, and Iceland) - B31
- S. Georgia – (Admin. by U.K.; Claimed by Argentina) - B32
- S. Sandwich Is. – (Admin. by U.K.; Claimed by Argentina) - B33
- Samdu Valleys – (Admin. by India; Claimed by China) - B04
- Sapodilla Cayes – (Admin. by Belize; Claimed by Honduras and Guatemala) - B80
- Scarborough Reef – (n/a) - B70
- Serranilla Bank – (Claimed by Columbia, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the United States) - B42
- Somaliland – (Self admin.; Claimed by Somalia) - B30
- South Ossetia – (Self admin.; Claimed by Georgia) - B37
- Spratly Is. – (Claimed by China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Brunei) - B46
- Swains Island (Olohega) – (Admin. by American Samoa for U.S.A.; Claimed by Tokelau) - B71
- Tiran and Sanafir Is. – (Admin. by Egypt; Claimed by Saudi Arabia) - B68
- Tirpani Valleys – (Admin. by India; Claimed by China) - B01
- Transnistria – (Self admin.; Claimed by Moldova) - B36
- Tromelin I. – (Admin. by France; Claimed by Mauritius and the Seychelles) - B25
- UNDOF Zone – (UN Patrolled Zone in Syria) - B49
- W. Sahara – (Admin. by Morocco; Claimed by Western Sahara) - B19
- W. Sahara – (Self admin.; Claimed by Morocco) - B28
- Wake Atoll – (Admin. by U.S.A.; Claimed by Marshall Islands) - B59
- West Bank – (n/a) - B54
- West of Essequibo River – (Admin. by Guyana; Claimed by Venezuela) - B56