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We are translating the great OpenStreetMap editor JOSM to Hungarian and arguing on the translation of "map tile".
Some of us state that it should be literally translated, because map tile and map section are different things, map tile being an online, scalable form of a map section. Others argue that it should be translated to the equivalent of map section, because it's the established term.
So what is the difference between a map tile and a map section? Is map tile really an online, scalable form of map section?

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closed as off topic by Matt E. Эллен, kiamlaluno, JSBձոգչ, Mahnax, waiwai933 Aug 23 '12 at 7:21

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Why are you asking this question here? The difference between a map tile vs map section is surely a matter for the GIS community. The best translation is surely a matter for the Hungarian speaking community. – Pitarou Apr 15 '12 at 8:50
Maybe because it's not a mapping question? Or maybe because the Hungarian translation depends on the exact meaning? Or maybe just because I thought there is a helpful community here? – Herrbert74 Apr 15 '12 at 11:05
I think Pitarou is suggesting that the helpful community here may not be able to provide much assistance with regard to translation of GIS-specific jargon, and suggesting other places to look might be the best we can do. – James McLeod Apr 15 '12 at 11:27
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Even to a layman, they're not the same.

On ELU, you may expect an answer like:
A tile is a unit element of a map; all tiles being of the same shape & size, typically square. A section is any part of a map -- based on some criterion.

The GIS distinction between map tile & map section:
"A map section is the data for one layer in one tile of a map library." (en.mimi.hu/gis/map_section.html); (landinfo.com).

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You may get a better answer on a GIS / -related site. – Kris Apr 15 '12 at 13:56
Thank you (and everybody else) for the answer(s). This partially answers my question, so I accept this. Meanwhile we found out that the English term we were looking for was 'map sheet'. Now I'm convinced that we can translate 'map tile' literally. Part of our community use this word anyway. – Herrbert74 Apr 17 '12 at 9:56
I really appreciate your effort in coming back to share with ELU 'how you finally solved the problem'. – Kris Apr 17 '12 at 10:24

If you need a technical answer you will need to ask that technical group. In terms of generic English, there is a lot of crossover between the terms but they do mean different things.

section — any of the more or less distinct parts into which something is or may be divided or from which it is made up

section — the cutting of a solid by or along a plane

tile — (Mathematics) a plane shape used in tiling.

These definitions are taken from my local dictionary; there are also plenty of other definitions for these two words but these show the difficulty in explaining the nuances of the two words.

In terms of mapping, a ''tile'' is most likely the smallest dividend in whatever technology you are using. If I were making a map out of wood pieces, each piece would be a tile. Typically these tiles are rectangular in shape but the term is not restricted by defining a specific shape.

A section, then, would be a functional splitting of the map based on either (a) the number of tiles or (b) some conceptual level such as state lines or neighborhoods. More discretely, a section can contain any number of tiles but a tile does not contain any sections.

Unfortunately, this is just a guess based on the how we use the terms in English. I could easily see how tiles could contain many sections if the sections were things like blocks in a city. In addition, tiles can be zoomed in or out to make larger or smaller tiles.

In short, I recommend translating each of the words if possible but the burden of proof should be on the person trying to merge the two terms. The only people who can adequately answer that are those who work with the same technology in its original language.

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It would be best to find a technical Hungarian term for the JOSM term "map tile". You will also need "tile server" and similar terms as well.

Try to understand what these terms mean and translate the meaning of the term into a Hungarian term that is clearly identifiable as a technical term but that avoids making an unnatural sounding literal translation. When you choose your technical terms remember that you will also need to reserve a non-technical term for a section of a map.

That is, you want a technical term that sounds natural, but you need to reserve the colloquial term for map section for non-technical use. These requirements can often conflict, as your question indicates you have discovered.

This writer is a long-standing member of the Israel Standards Institute Committee 2110, Hebrew Technical Terminology, and translator of OpenOffice into Hebrew.

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