The iconic Taj Mahal has been mistakenly labelled as "Shiva Kshetra" (Shiv Mandir) on Open Street Map, widely used by the public and various companies.
The mistake remained uncorrected for 13 days until some from Kerala noticed and rectified it. Similarly, Google Maps also displayed the name "Tejo Mahalaya" instead of Taj Mahal, but the error is yet to be addressed by Google.
Last year, there was a controversy claiming the Taj Mahal to be a Hindu temple known as ‘Tejo Mahalaya’. However, the Archaeological Survey of India has clarified that this notion is incorrect. These incidents raise concerns about attempts to distort online maps and undermine their credibility.
Jason Nedumpala, the gram panchayat secretary of Thamarassery, Kozhikode, noticed the error on the open street map. Jason has been a contributor to the map for 11 years. Arjun Gangadharan, a geospatial engineer from Kerala, assisted in rectifying the error upon learning about it from Jason.
Open Street Map (OSM), is a freely available map used for research and survey purposes. It is utilised by various government agencies and companies worldwide, for disaster management. It is particularly popular in Europe.
Open Street Map
Open Street Map was initiated in 2004 by British entrepreneur Steve Coast. The aim was to create a platform where the public could access map data for free. The project gained rapid popularity, and it is currently managed by the Open Street Map Foundation, which organises annual meetings worldwide. Editing privileges on the map are available to all OSM members, allowing them to add information and make corrections when necessary.
Countries like Europe, Africa, and Asia, have OSM groups. OSM India and Kerala groups are present as well. There are about forty people from Kerala who are members of OSM.