Map internationalization

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OpenMapTiles on-the-fly language change
(Click the image for animation)

OpenStreetMap defaults to the local or official language in each part of the world, but a significant number of places and features are also translated into other languages. In addition, multilingual names are available for features in many multilingual areas and some areas that use non-Latin scripts. Besides being localized themselves, OpenStreetMap-based software applications and frameworks often allow users to experience the map in their own language.


Serving worldwide alternate maps requires a lot of resources, but there are some providers.

World maps in multiple languages:

World maps in one language:

There are some maps for special languages in specific areas:

Tile servers

The following services provide raster or vector tiles that contain multilingual names:

Service Format Languages Notes
Mapbox MVT, PNG, JPEG 9 Demo; Mapbox GL documentation; Mapbox Streets source documentation; API documentation (advanced)
MapTiler Cloud MVT, PNG, JPEG 55 Demo
OpenMapTiles MVT 57 Demo
Skobbler Raster 7 Use Mapcreator to customize the map to display names of places and streets in many different language combinations.
Wikimedia PNG Demo
MapTiles API Raster 3 Serving tiles in English, French or Spanish.
API.Wikiocity MVT, PNG 21 Demo
Geoapify MVT 57 Tutorial describing how to change map language.
Tracestrack PNG 18 Demo

Tile servers based on the Mapbox Vector Tile (MVT) format can be used with multiple client-side libraries, such as Mapbox GL and Tangram.

Projects of historical interest

The Frisian language map was probably the first example of OpenStreetMap Map Internationalization (2008) but seems to be broken now. See User:Lambertus#Frisian language map (Fryske kaart).

For his GSoC project Arindam Ghosh mainly worked on Website Internationalization Ideas 2008, but had some other thoughts on map Internationalization. See Talk:GSoC Applications 2008#I18n of OSM pages and map tiles.

User:Mikel experimented with rendering place names in Arabic.

Multilingual maps Wikipedia project was project kicked off in 2012 to set up rendering infrastructure for Wikipedia (Demo website: Uses tiles hosted on (currently offline).

Before it shut down, WMF-DE's used to have a tile server with a separate layer for each Wikipedia language edition. The replacement tileserver on the WMF Tools Labs only supported English and German. There was also a Multilingual country list (also offline due to shutdown), it has been supplanted by translated labels in Wikidata for each country or territory (and all other places) and querying them with its API.

See also


  1. Set desired language code in the URL e.g. ?lang=ja.
  2. Set desired language code in the URL e.g. ?lang=ja.