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Public-images-osm logo.svg boundary = historic
A historic administrative boundary (use judiciously) Edit this description in the wiki page. Edit this description in the data item.
Group: Boundaries
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areasmay be used on relations
Useful combination
See also
Status: in use

This tag has been used on boundary relations for a variety of reasons that can all be described as historical boundaries. Depending on the reason a historical boundary was included in the map, it may now be eligible for deletion and migration to OpenHistoricalMap. If the reason is unclear, consult with other mappers before deleting it.

Boundaries of historical significance

Many uses of this tag represent former administrative boundaries that have been abolished long ago but continue to be attested on the ground or in everyday usage into the present day. Examples include some of the geographic townships of Ontario, Canada. boundary=traditional and boundary=ceremonial have also been used for this purpose.

Historic districts

Historic districts should be tagged historic=district instead.

Some historic districts are best modeled as site relations instead of boundary relations. For example, in the United States, many historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places are described as a boundary for convenience but are formally defined as a collection of contributing properties, excluding any "intrusions".

Recently abolished boundaries

When a boundary is abolished, some mappers find it convenient to simply replace boundary=administrative with boundary=historic, as a short-term measure only.

Instead of this tag, consider using a more explicit lifecycle prefix, i.e., was:boundary=administrative or disused:boundary=administrative. Eventually, the boundary should be deleted once there's no longer a risk of recreation based on outdated imagery or an external source. Adding end_date=* helps mappers determine when it is safe to delete the boundary.

Anachronistic boundaries

Some mappers have mapped long-defunct boundaries from historical sources. However, purely historical data is outside the scope of OpenStreetMap; consider contributing this data to OpenHistoricalMap instead.

As of June 2022, about half of all boundary=historic admin_level=* boundaries globally come from an import of electoral districts of the 1911 census of Ireland. [1]

How to map

The boundary=historic tag is used on ways way. It may also (or instead) be used on a relation grouping several ways. admin_level=1 to 10 may be used in addition to further clarify the relationship to present-day administrative boundaries. Consider using note=* to explain the reason for applying this tag.

See also