User talk:Csmale/ukboundaries

From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The ukboundaries page seems exceptionally useful due to the level of detail that it offers, and detail not found elsewhere within the Wiki. What I would suggest here (and wish for comment & reflections upon) are some specifics of UK Boundary Lines missing from both the Wiki generally & this page currently:

  • designation = civil_parish | non-civil_parish
  • admin_level=6 | 6;8;10 (for designation = unitary_authority)

  1. key=value

    The “type=”, “boundary=” & “admin_level=” are of obvious value to map-tile renderers, but also for Location & Addressing tools such as Nominatim. What such tools need at a base-level is (in the UK) an admin_level=10 Boundary Line. Naturally, the UK setup manages to frustrate even this simple, base requirement...

    Please note: The phrase “admin_level=10 Boundary Line” is intended to include both a circular set of ways + relation that contains such ways as outer members + necessary key(s)=value(s), all of which allow it to be recognised in OSM as a valid administrative boundary.

  2. Suggestion: use “designation=non-civil_parish” for Unparished areas

    The Parishes/Communities page of the Csmale GPX Resource (fantastically useful - thank you) is chock-a-block with “Unnamed shape xxxx” GPX download files. Each GPX is described within the file as a “Non-Civil Parish or Community”, and zero GSS code is provided. Explicitly, these are “FILLER AREA” files, designed to show a hole within a map of CPs. Like all the other downloads on that page these unnamed-shapes are for Parishes, but they are for “Unparished parishes” (what a splendid oxymoron).

    The various naming & location tools require an “admin_level=10” shape but these are NOT Civil Parishes; however, people still live there & need location services. A clear route out of the conundrum would be to discriminate between them by use of the designation key, which should satisfy all parties.

    The Welsh Communities do not bother with any malarky such as non-communities, whilst the Highlands & Islands of Scotland appear to be nothing else other than Unparished parishes.

  3. Suggestion: use “admin_level=6;8;10” for City UAs

    Some County shape files (admin_level=6) have inner holes which are identical to the city Unitary Authority shape files (admin_level=8 since that page is Districts & Boroughs), which are also identical to the “City of ...” Parish shape files (admin_level=10) provided within the Csmale GPX Resource. The problem is that a Unitary Authority is NOT a County, no matter how it is styled, and all city Unitary Authorities that I've investigated are Unparished.

    Thus, the strangeness for the city UAs is that the identical shape is used at both ‘County’, ‘Borough’ & ‘Parish’ level, which will lead to some very strange naming if all 3 levels exist (personal experience with Nottingham). Once again, using a convention-accurate triple value should help discriminate & prevent unnecessary duplication.


Hi Alex, thanks for your engagement

You have some good points but I have to disagree with a number of things you suggest...

Firstly, I consider the phrasing "non-civil parish" rather poor. The OS use the phrase "Non-Civil Parish or Community" for these unparished areas, but this should be parsed as Non-(Civil Parish or Community)", i.e. an area which is outside any CP or community. These polygons are purely included in OS Boundary-Line for topological completeness, and in no way indicative of any administrative boundary - they don't even have a name. You may discover there is some correlation with former council areas for example, but this coincidental. The OS are not responsible for defining these boundaries, they only publish the data. These parts of the UK outside of all civil parishes and community areas are normally referred to as "unparished areas" and this is the terminology I would suggest we retain. They are NOT for "unparished parishes".

As such, my view is that these polygons, which represent an absence of a certain status in the enclosed area, don't have a place in OSM. Hence I have rolled back your change to my main page. If you have a strong opinion about the inclusion of these polygons in OSM, you will have to make a proper case and possibly convince the community at large.

Concerning the admin_level of UAs, I think level 6 (equivalent to administrative counties) is correct and appropriate, as UAs have the responsibilities of both Counties (education, highways etc) and Districts (refuse, planning etc). You are right, a UA is not a county. A UA is an authority, a county is an area of land. The (ceremonial) county of Kent (for example) includes Medway, but Kent County Council has no jurisdiction in Medway.

Unitary Authorities are not all unparished, I don't know where you got that idea from. Cornwall for example is completely parished.

There are some anomalies whereby a UA "looks like" a county - Herefordshire, Rutland, etc, but that doesn't change the fact that they are run by a UA and not a County Council. Formally Rutland is a unitary district with the full legal title of Rutland County Council District Council....

Finally, for navigation purposes, CP's are (IMHO) pretty useless, especially in rural areas. The names often seem disconnected from the settlements, people sometimes don't even know (or care) which CP they live in, the boundaries are almost never indicated on signage, they play no role in addressing....

Please note that this page is my personal page, not part of the main wiki. I have constructed this documentation to give me a consistent base to work from as I go through the UK boundaries. I have attempted to incorporate the tagging status quo, adding my personal tagging model where there was a gap. If you would like to discuss the admin levels in use in the UK, the talk-uk mailing list is probably a better bet. --Csmale (talk) 17:05, 12 August 2016 (UTC)


Hi Colin; thanks for a response.

I've modified the original suggestion in response to your comments.

  • designation = civil_parish | non-civil_parish

    I accept all your comments about ‘non-civil_parish’(es) with 2 exceptions:—
    1. “they don't even have a name”
      Each & every one that I have researched has a name. The one that I am working on at the moment, as an example, is called on the (pdf) website “Long Eaton (unparished)”. It no longer falls within the current administrative purview, but that does NOT mean that it no longer exists. Human beings continue to live there, and those folks need location services. The convention for all that I have researched is that the responsible body adds “(unparished)” to the end of their name, which is the policy that I've followed in naming them in OSM.
    2. “these polygons ... don't have a place in OSM”
      Unless you are a wizard with a fully-commissioned wand, stating it doesn't make it so.

      The Unparished areas already exist in OSM, even if not established as a relation, since they are defined by the CPs that exist around them. Ipso facto, your statement is both factually & semantically incorrect. In addition, the folks on the ground do not stop referring to “Long Eaton” simply because it has become unparished. However, if an admin_level=10 Boundary Line is missing in OSM then they will have severe difficulty searching or locating themselves within Long Eaton, which is a far more important issue than semantics.

      It seems a shame that you do not accept my basic premise that the location & naming services of the OSM map start with an admin_level=10 Boundary Line, and that this fact is the fundamental reason for declaring non-admin areas to be “administrative” in nature. The fact that some bureaucrats went a little potty is unfortunate but can be easily handled.

  • admin_level=6 | 6;8;10 (for designation = unitary_authority)

    I accept that my original statement ‘all UAs are unparished’ was wrong, but it is correct for City UAs such as Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, and others. The simple fact is that admin=6 is for Counties, and UAs are NOT counties. They may well have county-like powers, but that does not make them Counties. UAs do not fit into the simple structure that originally existed & is currently set out in the Wiki. I can understand why you suggest admin_level=6, and I'm searching for ways to help it to fit.

    It seems a shame that you do not accept my personal experience that, for City UAs, there will be an absence of an admin_level=10 area and that this will lead to difficulties in location & naming.

You write ‘Please note that this page is my personal page, not part of the main wiki’. I'm happy to accept that, but also point you to the statement at the bottom of this page:

‘... if you don't want your writing to be edited/redistributed, then don't submit it here’