Talk:United States admin level

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Township boundaries

At least in Ohio, townships and cities/villages don't overlap (except in the rare situations where they do). So I think we should draw the township boundaries so that they stop at the city limits, where the welcome signs would be. I've seen maps that indicate the townships' original (square-like) boundaries, but those are historical boundaries. They don't correspond to any current administrative jurisdiction. – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs) 10:18, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

So do they or don't they overlap? If they do in real life, we should map them that way. --NE2 12:34, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
There are only a handful of places in Ohio where townships actually overlap with cities or villages, usually only by a few parcels. They're the exception rather than the rule: the municipality wanted to annex the property for the additional taxpayers, say, but didn't want to run afoul of the township by taking away theirs. (In the overlapping areas, property owners would pay taxes to both the township and municipality, as they belong to both.) I just wanted to point out that the overlap was possible, but it's separate from the fact that cities and villages occupy former township land. – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs) 09:07, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
After some additional research, it looks like townships should be admin_level=7 and should exclude cities that have withdrawn using paper townships. Census maps like this one of Hamilton Twp., Warren Co. can be pretty useful for figuring out which cities have withdrawn. The scenario I mentioned above would be implemented by including the parcels in the city but excluding them from the city's paper township. But I'm not sure whether cities with paper townships should be admin_level=7 or 8. – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs) 09:08, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Planning areas

The master planned city of Irvine, CA, uses "planning areas" (also referred to poetically as "villages" by the real estate marketeers) to denote large parts of the city, each with own infrastructure and a bit of character. There are about 30 in all, this number may slowly grow. I am planning on mapping these out as boundary=administrative + admin_level=9 unless someone stops me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ponzu (talkcontribs)

I don't see these as quite the same as administrative boundaries, more like school districts or water management districts. Perhaps boundary=planning_area would be more suitable? Predominantly residential areas can of course be tagged landuse=residential as well. --NE2 06:01, 6 April 2011 (BST)
If I map them as boundary=planning_area, this would be the first example of such usage. And given the number of master planned communities around the world, it may not be of use to anyone else. I think my city is pretty unique for California, can't speak for the world. Check out this document (incl. the map): Doesn't it look like administrative division? And yes, I am planning on tagging the neighborhoods inside the planning areas landuse=residential--Ponzu 00:36, 7 April 2011 (BST)
This usage reminds me of the well-defined "neighborhoods" that many large cities are divided into. They're usually associated with neighborhood councils and don't necessarily coincide with wards or voting precints. Due to that analogy, I find your proposed tagging scheme reasonable. Irvine covers enough area that the additional boundaries wouldn't really clutter up the map that much. – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs) 08:30, 10 October 2011 (BST)

Townships, Cities and Villages in Michigan

Under Michigan law, townships and cities are at the same level under the county level. That is to say, in Michigan one is either in a township or a city. There are no areas that aren’t in either a township or a city and there are no areas in which one could be in both. When a city is incorporated or annexes territory from a township, that land is no longer in any way connected with the township, not even in the sense of “paper townships” like in Ohio. If the entire township is incorporated or annexed to a city, that township ceases to exist in every sense.

Villages are incorporated municipalities subordinate to townships. That is to say, when one is in a village he or she is also in a township. No part of a village shares territory with a city, however. As stated previously, incorporation as a city or annexing territory to a city removes if from the township and thus, if a village becomes a city it no longer is part of the township—in effect, it would be “elevated” from a level below the township to an equal level with the township.

Here are some complications: Cities in Michigan can be part of more than one county. Thus, although a city is clearly a subordinate administrative subdivision to the county on an equal level with the townships, when a city is part of more than one county it makes it more complicated to designate this. Creating two adjoining areas and giving them the same tags to indicate that they were the same city would still make it appear that they were two separate entities and not one—just with the same name. Villages in Michigan can lie in more than own township, and also in more than one county. There are many villages in Michigan that lie in more than one township within the same county and a few that lie in more than one township in two counties—yet, it’s the same village municipality. The same complications regarding cities would apply here.

Note: Michigan has two designations for townships: general law townships (usually simply called “townships”) and charter townships. There is no practical distinction between the two—particularly regarding mapping in Open Street Map. Charter Townships are not an incorporated municipality in the sense that a city is. Rather, they are townships that have exercised some local government options provided by state law and have some protection against being annexed by a city.

My approach: For my mapping, I have given cities and townships the same level: 7. I have given villages level 8. When a city spans more than one county or a village spans more than one township, I will split the area of the city or village into separate areas for each higher-level administrative unit in which it lies, but will apply the same tags to both (except for the "Is_In" designations).

Is there a better way to do this? --Vox Sapiens 01:47, 30 May 2012 (BST)

"Cities in Michigan can be part of more than one county." I think this is true in most states. Look at New York City - it comprises all the land of five counties. --NE2 10:16, 30 May 2012 (BST)
I think cities should be tagged level 8 as suggested by Admin level page so as to keep Michigan consistent with other states. Killian441 00:18, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Updated table

I found it hard to read the table as it was so I updated it to its current form. I also alphabetized it. A couple of issues I was grappling with: New York City boroughs. According to the Admin level page, NYC itself is level 5 and its boroughs are level 6 as they are most similar in function to counties. I updated this table to reflect that. If anyone has objections let me know.

Counties in CT - Counties were abolished in 1960 but still used for courts, except in some places. I left a note there but not sure if counties should be included or not. Same with the regions that came after them which have only a limited authority.

Boroughs in VA - Boroughs in VA seem to be the same level as neighborhoods. The are officially recognized but don't seem to have any real authority. If this is the case and we want to map them then I don't seem how this is any different than neighborhoods, wards, voting districts, or census designated places. Perhaps we want to include these as well.

Independent cities - All cities in VA are independent and therefore level 6. But what about wikipedia:Consolidated city–countys? Independent cities are not considered part of any county and therefore it makes sense to have them level 6, but Consolidated city–counties are in fact counties so should they be level 6 as well?

Cities in MI - I tried to keep the discussion on this page in mind as I updated but I think the one conflict is cities in Michigan. I don't see a reason to leave them at level 7 and moved them to level 8. Again from the Admin level page municipal cities are level 8. My understanding is the levels determine how to render an area. Its seems logical that even though cities in MI have similar responsibilities as townships, they should be rendered the same as cities in other states, therefore level 8.

Killian441 00:14, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

admin_level=5 proposal

We may need to extend how New York City — a conglomeration of Level 6 entities (boroughs) — defines a new entity (Level 5 "city-glom"). This entity is still "below" the next admin_level up, Level 4 (state), hence the choice of NYC being admin_level=5.

Similar entities (which seem to fit best at admin_level=5) are created by both state and federal legislatures to serve a variety of purposes and include:

  • Probably state-designated Councils Of Governments
    Councils Of Governments are regional bodies that exist throughout the United States. These typically serve an area of several counties, addressing issues such as regional and municipal planning, economic and community development, cartography and GIS, hazard mitigation and emergency planning, aging services, water use, pollution control, transit administration, and transportation planning.
  • Likely MPOs, federally mandated and federally funded transportation policy-making organizations in the United States that are made up of representatives from local government and governmental transportation authorities
    (Local authorities + US Department of Transportation)
  • Possibly PSAs, CSAs, MSAs, µSAs, federally-designated
    (US Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget)

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Stevea (talkcontribs) 02:20, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

See discussion on talk-us.
But don't all of these match existing city or county boundaries? --NE2 15:56, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
No, NE2. A COG, for example, might be a logical union of existing cities: made up of cities, but a new unit at a different admin_level which includes two or more cities or counties. The federally-designated PSAs, CSAs, MSAs and µSAs very often encompass areas quite different than city or county boundaries. They are calculated not by municipal or state legal limits, but rather a statistical edge, such as population density around a centroid. --Stevea 11:18, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
I'm using MSAs to replace the previously mapped 'statistical_area's imported in 2010 by NE2. -Valerietheblonde (talk) 19:41, 14 July 2016 (UTC)

School District admin level

I was thinking of adding the boundaries of a few school districts in my local area, but found there doesn't seem to be documentation on the wiki on the proper designation for them. It looks like they would fit here as an administrative boundary under level 9 or 10. Does it make sense to fit a School District under admin_level 9? Or is there another designation that should be used for this sort of boundary? --Midnightlightning (talk) 17:31, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

boundary=administrative is used for corporate boundaries, the kind of boundaries that have welcome signs. Overlay districts don't fit neatly into this admin_level hierarchy. Some school districts cover only part of a city while others cover entire counties or span county lines. In many states, they have independent boards that answer to the state education department rather than a city or county government. The same is often true of fire, water, and sanitation districts. You could use another tag like boundary=school, but consider that school districts can be more fluid and less on-the-ground verifiable than other kinds of districts, which partly explains why so few have been mapped. – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs) 10:33, 18 February 2015 (UTC)