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This happens pretty much everywhere with every online map. Kashmir, Taiwan, Western Sahara, etc. etc. Apple doing it for one country is not particularly news.

The only major-league mapping site I know that doesn't do local alterations is OpenStreetMap, and that's because OSM's attitude is "you want the map to show something else? sure, download the raw data and host your own instance".

Only organizations that need to operate under the graces of an authority (for reasons of physical or financial security) are beholden to that authority. A volunteer organization in US (or wherever OSM is) has nothing to lose to Russia, India, China, etc.

Russia, China, etc could still block OSM at a firewall if they choose.

> A volunteer organization in US (or wherever OSM is)

The OpenStreetMap Foundation, which supports the OpenStreetMap project, and owns the domain name, trademarks & hardware, is registered in England & Wales

I think the real reason is that OSM is, practically speaking, not important enough for countries to bother with censoring it.

Public Data should be open and anyone can run their own policies on integrating crowdsourced changes.

One company hosting the data centrally is responsible for dealing with multiple parties and figuring out a resolution. Often the parties have little recourse but to fine it or block it.

We see similar issues when Facebook is blasted by Germany for not censoring a post and by the Trump administration for censoring a similar post. The guys in their boiler room use Google Translate to see if a post in another language is offensive, which is ironic since Facebook is using a Google tool internally.

A more pointed example is when the SESTA / FOSTA bill was passed last year to require platforms to police child pornography being posted and the EFF and other free speech advocates were actually up in arms about it, saying that puts undue burdens on facebook and other platforms which are far too big.

The problem is why are they too big? Because they run all the software and don’t give it to us. And open source software isn’t good enough to compete with what they have. Look at HN, it is able to add whatever rules it needs to police stuff, and runs on Arc.

That’s why Wordpress, Magento, OSM are so important. Eventually they will copy everything the centralized players have and you can CUSTOMIZE them with a marketplace of plugins. Like how the Web replaced AOL.

We need REAL open source alternatives to facebook. What are they today?

>We need REAL open source alternatives to facebook. What are they today?

GNU Social/Mastodon is by far the most widespread today. It's more like Twitter. (Mastodon is a more modern implementation of the GNU Social protocol, which in turn is the descendent of the Identica mess.)

There was also Diaspora, but that never really caught on.

They are too big because they lock in your social graph. This has very little to do with open source vs proprietary software. FB could be entirely open source, but so long as it's as popular as it is, and there's no way to interact with its users other than joining FB yourself, it's going to remain a monopoly.

To break it up, you need to force them into providing outside access. If and when people can run e.g. Diaspora, but seamlessly interact with people on Facebook, Diaspora would become a lot more popular. Think of email, or XMPP and Matrix federation.

Or we can just break them up physically, on the basis that no single entity should control that much of the market, and have that much dominance.

I find this argument pretty funny, because despite all the borders if you look at Crimea on OSM, it looks Russian alright: cities have Ukrainian spelling on the Ukraine part of the map and Russian on the Crimea.

IIRC OSM's attitude is "map what's on the ground", so if people in Crimea believe they are in Russia that's what OSM should show.

To that end, there are proposals for OSM to handle disputed boundaries.


The idea is that OSM captures the multiple views of the boundary in dispute, allowing the user to choose their rendering.

Whilst good in theory, it's probably not different to other's approach in practise. Thinking people can choose to see a boundary as disputed, whilst nationalists on either side can choose to see it as soley theirs, thus amplifying their own echo chamber. The main difference from others is that the choice of rendering is potentially up to the individual, due to the availability of all the data, but in practise most people will be using a provider who has already made the choice for them.

Those "disputed" territories are still information though. In OSM's case, I might want to know which territories are disputed, and in what ways they are. You could give out that info.

Yes, that's OSM's usual rule, but an exception was made for Crimea, and it is mapped as part of Ukraine & Russia (overlapping borders)

> This happens pretty much everywhere with every online map. Kashmir, Taiwan, Western Sahara, etc. etc. Apple doing it for one country is not particularly news.

Exactly. Couple days ago, I have entered "Palestine" into google maps. It did not highlight any territory and just showed me generic location of Middle East. On mobile it did not relocate map view at all.

AFAIK with disputed territories it was always like that - it depends what you search and from where you search. Names, borders will be different and IMO it's fine as reality is that regarding locations there's sometimes no clear answer who controls it and what name it has.

IIRC there's an island on a river in Europe where it is exchanged between countries weekly (or daily, don't remember)..

But the Palestine example shows that it does not happen with every disputed territory in the world. If you are living in a country that has recognized Palestine and has diplomatic relations the state (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_recognition_of_t...) it would make sense that "Palestine" would show up on the map. But it doesn't show up either on Google's, Apple's or Bing's map.

Pheasant Island on the river Bidassoa that runs between France and Spain; administration of the island switches every six months. It has since 1659 when Louis xiv and Philip iv signed the peace Treaty of the Pyrenees on the island. It is a different situation IMO for it has clear and settled ownership, that being both. Accessed by boat,and on it some trees and grass; it has little intrinsic value to either sovereign or local population. It is seen as the place were towns share the duty of cutting the grass. It's not a tourist spot of any sort.

"The Island That Switches Countries Every Six Months", Half as Interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJZs_VLx6p4

Baidu map shows Taiwan as a province of China wherever you are....which probably contributed to it not being major league.

Yep, there's been some academic work like MapWatch (2016) [0] on tracking the differences in how different providers present different borders in different regions over time.

[0] https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2883016

Oddly when viewed from Australia it doesn’t show our one and only disputed territorial claim, the Australian Antarctic Territory.

I guess Aussies just don’t complain enough to be worth pandering to.

What’s disputed in the Western Sahara?

Some land disputed betweens Morocco and independantist Polisario front.

Or more specifically: the Polisario Front claims the whole of Western Sahara as an independent country, Morocco claims the whole of Western Sahara as an integral part of Morocco; Polisario Front has stable de facto control over a large but barely-inhabited inland portion of Western Sahara with the majority including all the coast being Moroccan-controlled, and Western mapping tends to gloss over it by treating Western Sahara as a single sometimes-unnamed entity with a soft border with the widely-recognised territory of Morocco.

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