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Labelling international features

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#1
Hans van der Maarel

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Got a question labelling international features... Take for example India:
Would you put "Mumbai" and "Kolkata" on the map, which is the current official spelling. However, not very many people know these refer to the places formerly known as "Bombay" and "Calcutta"...

The target audience is going to be very broad and general...

Any thoughts?
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#2
MapMedia

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One way to look at it is that maps are relied upon to show up-to-date geography (so use current name). I've seen NatGeo use old names next to new new it italicized parethesis (old name).

Another way is to communicate to a target group who is expecting to see the old names as easy way to make reference (but could use anecdotal info such as new name (in parenthesis). This would be a map custom fit for a small target group.

I prefer the first option (our duty as cart/geos to promote geographic literacy.

Chris

#3
Matthew Hampton

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Would the map be used to refer to historical places/events?

I agree with Chris in that we should be (somewhat) responsible to provide the most current data on maps we create. The only way people will come to know Bombay as Mumbai is to keep running into it in maps and other general media.

I think there is room for selective additions/substitutions however. How will Tibet ever be free if it is always referred to as China? :D

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#4
Hans van der Maarel

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I think there is room for selective additions/substitutions however. How will Tibet ever be free if it is always referred to as China?


I'll leave that one up to my clients... Would they want to alienate the Chinese market by showing a free Tibet? (Well, I will be showing Taiwan as an independant nation anyway...) :rolleyes:
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#5
Dennis McClendon

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A very common quandary for mapmakers. You sometimes hear stories of atlases being banned for using the name "Sea of Japan" or "Burma."

I've heard American mapmakers talk about relying on the authority of the Board on Geographic Names, or taking the shortcut of mimicking National Geographic.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
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#6
Hans van der Maarel

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Yes, I'm using National Geographic as a reference :) In addition to that, I label the Dutch name for a feature or town, if it exists.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#7
Dennis McClendon

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The EU must have some kind of placenames authority. Somewhere in Brussels (or is it Bruxelle?) there must be a building filled with Eurocrats paid to ponder these issues.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
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#8
Dennis McClendon

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I'm on a listserv about names, where today Roger Payne of USGS posted this about the UN's agency:

The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) [was] founded in 1959, formalized in 1966, and held its first conference in 1967.  The group meets every two years with an official conference every five years.  Exonyms vs endonyms has been an agenda item at every conference, and it is always smartly debated.  The resolutions of these conferences on the standardization of geographical names always includes various resolutions (nonbinding, but encouraged strongly) regarding the discouragement of the use of exonyms.  As one might imagine, there are two polarized camps with the majority somewhere in-between.  The last meeting of UNGEGN was March 29 - April 4, 2006 at the UN facilities in Vienna, and the next or ninth full conference will be in August or September 2007  at the UN in New York.  The website is <http://unstats.un.or.../about_us.htm>.


Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
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#9
Hans van der Maarel

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Somewhere in Brussels (or is it Bruxelle?)


Well, it's Brussel to me, Brussels to you and Bruxelles to the French... But to be honest, I have little faith in our glorious European Union having something like that. They like to spend a lot of money in travelling between Brussel/Brussels/Bruxelles and Straatsburg/Strasbourgh, where they meet one week per month. The reason? To please the French. A lot of countries want to stop this and save money, but the French won't even talk about it... :rolleyes:

Anyway, I'll check out that UN link. That, together with labelling both current and 'traditional' names for appropriate features should be good enough. Then the dilemma becomes: 'how far back do I go and how politically correct do I want to be?' Volgograd - Stalingrad? New York - Nieuw Amsterdam? ;)
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#10
frax

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Actually Dennis, that is one of things I would expect the EU to not have. The various national languages are very strong in the EU. What you do have though is an army of professional translators, that translate legislation and other official documents to and from the official languages...
Hugo Ahlenius
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#11
l.jegou

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The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names is indeed the international reference, as far as i know there's nothing like that at the eureopean level (pfew).

ps : the frenchies are not wholly pleased by the cost of having to main locations for the european administrations ;)

#12
Hans van der Maarel

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Laurent,

Ooops... no offense meant of course :unsure:

ps : the frenchies are not wholly pleased by the cost of having to main locations for the european administrations


Maybe somebody can tell mr Chirac? Personally I don't care where they all meet up, it's the waste of a lot of money lost in travelling between Brussels and Strasbourg (and transporting huge amounts of documents back and forth) that could be spent on other, more important, things...

The sad reality of the European Union is that it's not a union of equal nations, it's 3 leading countries (the UK, France and Germany) with the rest tagging along.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#13
frax

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In case you are curious -- there is also a UN Cartographic section, that specifies guidelines for how to present countries and territories on UN maps. Where to use dashed boundaries for instance (e.g. Kashmir). You can't present Tibet as an occupied territory on a UN map.
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#14
Kartograph

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From personal experience I can say that it all depends on the client/superiour. All well meaning standardizations are four nought, if nobody heeds them.
Exonym vs. endonym can only be resolved on a case by case basis.

This is the reason why I have several recent atlases, as they have different takes on the toponym question.

#15
frax

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I have had issues recently with the transcription of "less common" places in Russia (e.g. not like Moscow, which you hear about every other day), which are called the same, but the phonetic transcription to latin characters can differ. Take for instance the regional capital in the Nenet Autonomous Okrug (Arctic Russia): is it Narian-Mar, Nar'yan Mar... or?
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