'historic' county boundaries added to the database

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Adam Snape
I think there's certainly an argument for including the traditional boundaries. There's certainly enough people arguing the pros for us to say that there's no clear consensus against it. As you say, there is a certain culture of tolerance within OSM that would be at odds with removal.

I do, however, take some issue with the source chosen. The OS's dataset is based upon the administrative counties formed after the local government act 1888. Whilst no doubt very useful for genealogistst or those with an interest in 1888-1974 administrative history, the LGA really marked the first significant divergence between counties as administrative entities and their traditional boundaries. 

As the aim of the exercise would appear to be mapping the traditional boundaries rather than mapping obsolete administrative boundaries, I echo the earlier suggestion that the Historic Counties Trust's dataset would be a more appropriate source.

Kind regards,

Adam



On Sun, 26 Aug 2018, 11:47 Colin Smale, <[hidden email]> wrote:

It has gone all quiet here, and in the mean time smb001 has been making steady progress across England. I take it that means acquiescence to these historic county boundaries being in OSM.

I guess we should get smb001 to write up the tagging in the wiki.

Or is there a discussion going on elsewhere that I am not aware of?

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Philip Barnes
In reply to this post by Martin Wynne
On Sun, 2018-08-26 at 12:59 +0100, Martin Wynne wrote:
> > They add no quality to the database.
>
> They do for someone wanting to know where the historic boundaries
> lie.

In that case they would be more appropriate in OHM.

Phil (trigpoint)


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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Andrew Black
In reply to this post by Colin Smale
I agree with Dave F " It's still historic data, irrelevant to OSM. They are neither "current or real". That they will "never change" is irrelevant. They add no quality to the database.They should be removed."





On Sun, 26 Aug 2018 at 12:58, Colin Smale <[hidden email]> wrote:

I agree, but where do we actually go from here? We have some options...

1) remove them all

2) leave them in the database and quietly ignore them

3) leave them in the database and document them, even though they are controversial, to say the least

Option 2 is least desirable IMHO, as we prefer things that are in OSM to be documented in some way, e.g. in the wiki

Given the "live and let live" philosophy that OSM otherwise espouses, maybe we can go for option 3?

 

Or we get some kind of consensus that they are to be removed, but then I think it should be the responsibility of the DWG to make that determination, communicate the decision, and do the reverts.

On 2018-08-26 13:27, Dave F wrote:

No, it's hasn't been acquiesced. It's still historic data, irrelevant to OSM. They are neither "current or real". That they will "never change" is irrelevant. They add no quality to the database.They should be removed.

DaveF

On 26/08/2018 11:46, Colin Smale wrote:

It has gone all quiet here, and in the mean time smb001 has been making steady progress across England. I take it that means acquiescence to these historic county boundaries being in OSM.

I guess we should get smb001 to write up the tagging in the wiki.

Or is there a discussion going on elsewhere that I am not aware of?



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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Colin Smale
I wanted to talk about the process, not the outcome. It is obvious there is not an overwhelming consensus one way or the other, and as usual the debate just fizzles out with no conclusion. If we do nothing, the data stays in the database because nobody has the balls to delete it, but it can't be documented for fear of legitimising it.

Is this the best we can do?



On 26 August 2018 16:27:58 CEST, Andrew Black <[hidden email]> wrote:
I agree with Dave F " It's still historic data, irrelevant to OSM. They are neither "current or real". That they will "never change" is irrelevant. They add no quality to the database.They should be removed."





On Sun, 26 Aug 2018 at 12:58, Colin Smale <[hidden email]> wrote:

I agree, but where do we actually go from here? We have some options...

1) remove them all

2) leave them in the database and quietly ignore them

3) leave them in the database and document them, even though they are controversial, to say the least

Option 2 is least desirable IMHO, as we prefer things that are in OSM to be documented in some way, e.g. in the wiki

Given the "live and let live" philosophy that OSM otherwise espouses, maybe we can go for option 3?

 

Or we get some kind of consensus that they are to be removed, but then I think it should be the responsibility of the DWG to make that determination, communicate the decision, and do the reverts.

On 2018-08-26 13:27, Dave F wrote:

No, it's hasn't been acquiesced. It's still historic data, irrelevant to OSM. They are neither "current or real". That they will "never change" is irrelevant. They add no quality to the database.They should be removed.

DaveF

On 26/08/2018 11:46, Colin Smale wrote:

It has gone all quiet here, and in the mean time smb001 has been making steady progress across England. I take it that means acquiescence to these historic county boundaries being in OSM.

I guess we should get smb001 to write up the tagging in the wiki.

Or is there a discussion going on elsewhere that I am not aware of?



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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Andrew Black
Before we can decide whether to delete or document it we need to decide whether it is wanted.
Might a Loomio vote be a way forwards.



On Sun, 26 Aug 2018 at 15:42, Colin Smale <[hidden email]> wrote:
I wanted to talk about the process, not the outcome. It is obvious there is not an overwhelming consensus one way or the other, and as usual the debate just fizzles out with no conclusion. If we do nothing, the data stays in the database because nobody has the balls to delete it, but it can't be documented for fear of legitimising it.

Is this the best we can do?



On 26 August 2018 16:27:58 CEST, Andrew Black <[hidden email]> wrote:
I agree with Dave F " It's still historic data, irrelevant to OSM. They are neither "current or real". That they will "never change" is irrelevant. They add no quality to the database.They should be removed."





On Sun, 26 Aug 2018 at 12:58, Colin Smale <[hidden email]> wrote:

I agree, but where do we actually go from here? We have some options...

1) remove them all

2) leave them in the database and quietly ignore them

3) leave them in the database and document them, even though they are controversial, to say the least

Option 2 is least desirable IMHO, as we prefer things that are in OSM to be documented in some way, e.g. in the wiki

Given the "live and let live" philosophy that OSM otherwise espouses, maybe we can go for option 3?

 

Or we get some kind of consensus that they are to be removed, but then I think it should be the responsibility of the DWG to make that determination, communicate the decision, and do the reverts.

On 2018-08-26 13:27, Dave F wrote:

No, it's hasn't been acquiesced. It's still historic data, irrelevant to OSM. They are neither "current or real". That they will "never change" is irrelevant. They add no quality to the database.They should be removed.

DaveF

On 26/08/2018 11:46, Colin Smale wrote:

It has gone all quiet here, and in the mean time smb001 has been making steady progress across England. I take it that means acquiescence to these historic county boundaries being in OSM.

I guess we should get smb001 to write up the tagging in the wiki.

Or is there a discussion going on elsewhere that I am not aware of?



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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Adam Snape
Hi,

I don't think it's for those who have mapped something in OSM to demonstrate majority support for its retention. I think it is for those seeking to have others' contributions removed to demonstrate a clear consensus in favour of deletion.

Kind regards,

Adam

On Sun, 26 Aug 2018, 16:38 Andrew Black, <[hidden email]> wrote:
Before we can decide whether to delete or document it we need to decide whether it is wanted.
Might a Loomio vote be a way forwards.



On Sun, 26 Aug 2018 at 15:42, Colin Smale <[hidden email]> wrote:
I wanted to talk about the process, not the outcome. It is obvious there is not an overwhelming consensus one way or the other, and as usual the debate just fizzles out with no conclusion. If we do nothing, the data stays in the database because nobody has the balls to delete it, but it can't be documented for fear of legitimising it.

Is this the best we can do?



On 26 August 2018 16:27:58 CEST, Andrew Black <[hidden email]> wrote:
I agree with Dave F " It's still historic data, irrelevant to OSM. They are neither "current or real". That they will "never change" is irrelevant. They add no quality to the database.They should be removed."





On Sun, 26 Aug 2018 at 12:58, Colin Smale <[hidden email]> wrote:

I agree, but where do we actually go from here? We have some options...

1) remove them all

2) leave them in the database and quietly ignore them

3) leave them in the database and document them, even though they are controversial, to say the least

Option 2 is least desirable IMHO, as we prefer things that are in OSM to be documented in some way, e.g. in the wiki

Given the "live and let live" philosophy that OSM otherwise espouses, maybe we can go for option 3?

 

Or we get some kind of consensus that they are to be removed, but then I think it should be the responsibility of the DWG to make that determination, communicate the decision, and do the reverts.

On 2018-08-26 13:27, Dave F wrote:

No, it's hasn't been acquiesced. It's still historic data, irrelevant to OSM. They are neither "current or real". That they will "never change" is irrelevant. They add no quality to the database.They should be removed.

DaveF

On 26/08/2018 11:46, Colin Smale wrote:

It has gone all quiet here, and in the mean time smb001 has been making steady progress across England. I take it that means acquiescence to these historic county boundaries being in OSM.

I guess we should get smb001 to write up the tagging in the wiki.

Or is there a discussion going on elsewhere that I am not aware of?



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Re: boundary mania (was: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database)

Frederik Ramm
In reply to this post by Colin Smale
Hi,

On 08/26/2018 12:46 PM, Colin Smale wrote:
> It has gone all quiet here, and in the mean time smb001 has been making
> steady progress across England.

I think he shouldn't have done this. He should have argued his case here
and the community should have come to an explicit resolution, rather
than one party creating a "status quo".

Personally, I am very much against mapping historic boundaries in OSM,
mostly because the exemption from the "on the ground" rules that apply
to current administrative borders (they are so important that we make an
exception) don't hold for historic boundaries.

But there's a general problem with boundary relations getting out of
hand. Take this little unnamed waterway here

https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/614127384

which is meanwhile a member of 19 different boundary relations:

* South East England European Parliamant Constituency
* The admin_level=8 boundaries New Forest and East Dorset
* New Forest West UK Parliament Constituency (4152802)
* Alderholt Civil Parish and Damerham Civil Parish
* Cranborne Chase & West Wiltshire Downs AONB (2664452)
* Dorset historic county and Wiltshire historic county
* an administrative region called "South West England" and an
administrative region called "South East England", both admin_level 5
* The Hampshire Constabulary boundary ("boundary=police") which exists
twice (relations 3999378, 8188274) if any proof was needed that this is
getting out of hand even for those who added it
* The Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service boundary ("boundary=fire")
* Hampshire County and Dorset County
* Hampshire Ceremonial County and Dorset Ceremonial County
* A statistical boundary called "Hampshire and Isle of Wight"

I have not analyzed these in detail and I won't make an attempt to tell
the readers of this mailing list which of these make sense to have in
your country. But I have a hunch that, say, the statistical boundary
"Hampshire and Isle of Wight" is not actually defined as a boundary. I
have a hunch that if the boundary of Hampshire were to change, then this
statistical area would also change - because it is *not* defined by
geometry, but just by reference to existing administrative boundaries.

I think we should all think twice before duplicating and triplicating
data in OSM just because there's yet another boundary that includes
Hampshire. We should find a way to reference existing boundaries instead
of copying them.

Practically all of the relations above have version numbers in the
hundreds, version numbers that have again increased when smb1001 did his
historic boundary mapping - of course he hasn't changed anything in the
statistical boundary "Hampshire and Isle of Wight" but still he's listed
as last modifier of this relation just because he has just split up a
way that was part of the Hampshire boundary.

I think if we continue heaping ever more boundary relations onto what we
have, we'll make things less and less understandable, less and less
maintainable.

But that's a general remark, not *specificall* aimed at history county
boundaries.

Bye
Frederik

PS: Of course, public transport relations are an even bigger culprit.
There are a handful of ways in OSM in England that are member of more
then 100 relations, mostly bus routes as far as I can see.

--
Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail [hidden email]  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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Re: boundary mania

David Woolley
On 26/08/18 20:01, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> I think we should all think twice before duplicating and triplicating
> data in OSM just because there's yet another boundary that includes
> Hampshire. We should find a way to reference existing boundaries instead
> of copying them.

It looks to me as though boundaries can be defined recursively, so
Hampshire, rather than its bounding ways, ought to to be the object
referenced in the bigger entities.

On the original question, I would say that the thin end of the wedge is
going in and needs to be stopped.

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Colin Smale
In reply to this post by Adam Snape

On 2018-08-26 20:45, Adam Snape wrote:

Hi,
 
I don't think it's for those who have mapped something in OSM to demonstrate majority support for its retention. I think it is for those seeking to have others' contributions removed to demonstrate a clear consensus in favour of deletion.
 
I haven't done a scientific analysis of all the standpoints expressed on this thread over the past weeks, but I suspect the support for deletion is not unanimous, although it may be a majority of the relatively small number of participants. There is a case being made for retention as well. BUT, if we are to allow this data to persist in OSM, then we should at least ensure it is appropriately documented. There is a wiki page for boundary=historic, which I think makes it clear that these boundaries should not be in OSM. We will need to find a turn of phrase for the wiki page to explain that there are exceptions to the general rule.
 
If the data is to remain in the database I would definitely like to see some kind of metadata added to the relations, with source and either start/end dates or a single validity date.
 
 

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Re: boundary mania

Mark Goodge
In reply to this post by Frederik Ramm


On 26/08/2018 20:01, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> Hi,
>
> On 08/26/2018 12:46 PM, Colin Smale wrote:
>> It has gone all quiet here, and in the mean time smb001 has been making
>> steady progress across England.
>
> I think he shouldn't have done this. He should have argued his case here
> and the community should have come to an explicit resolution, rather
> than one party creating a "status quo".

I agree.

> Personally, I am very much against mapping historic boundaries in OSM,
> mostly because the exemption from the "on the ground" rules that apply
> to current administrative borders (they are so important that we make an
> exception) don't hold for historic boundaries.

And also because there is no single entity otherwise known as the
"historic" boundaries. Even before the major changes in the 1970s
(objection to which is what a lot of the passion for the historic
boundaries stems from), they were not perfectly stable. The Victorians
were inveterate tinkerers, they adjusted boundaries continually even if
only at a much more local level than the 1974 reforms.

Any mapped historic boundaries are, therefore, nothing more than a
snapshot of what they were at a particular moment in time, not a record
of how things have always been. Even the KML downloads provided by the
Association of British Counties, the prime cheerleader for the historic
counties, is offered in two different definitions which match different
snapshots of the boundaries.

The historic boundaries are useful for a number of historic research and
educational uses. But they are only properly meaningful when used in the
form which matches the date being researched. Unless we are going to
have every variant of the historic boundaries mapped on OSM (in which
case, we should also map newer but now defunct administrative
boundaries, such as the county of Avon), there's no real value in
mapping them in OSM at all. Leave them to dedicated historic projects
where the data is relevant.

Mark


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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Martin Wynne
In reply to this post by Adam Snape
> I don't think it's for those who have mapped something in OSM to
> demonstrate majority support for its retention. I think it is for those
> seeking to have others' contributions removed to demonstrate a clear
> consensus in favour of deletion.

Should this consensus be among OSM mappers or OSM users?

Martin.

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Mark Goodge


On 26/08/2018 21:05, Martin Wynne wrote:
>> I don't think it's for those who have mapped something in OSM to
>> demonstrate majority support for its retention. I think it is for those
>> seeking to have others' contributions removed to demonstrate a clear
>> consensus in favour of deletion.
>
> Should this consensus be among OSM mappers or OSM users?

Most users will be blissfully unaware that they are there, since they
won't be rendered in most cases.

Mark

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Dave F
In reply to this post by Adam Snape
Disagree. We all add data which abides by certain rules & criteria. We vet it ourselves as we're adding it. If a contributor fails to do that, they should be expected to justify the reasons. This hasn't occurred. That they still exist as historical documents is not a viable argument.

As Dave W. pointed out, it's the thin end of the wedge.

DaveF 

On 26/08/2018 19:45, Adam Snape wrote:
Hi,

I don't think it's for those who have mapped something in OSM to demonstrate majority support for its retention. I think it is for those seeking to have others' contributions removed to demonstrate a clear consensus in favour of deletion.

Kind regards,

Adam

On Sun, 26 Aug 2018, 16:38 Andrew Black, <[hidden email]> wrote:
Before we can decide whether to delete or document it we need to decide whether it is wanted.
Might a Loomio vote be a way forwards.



On Sun, 26 Aug 2018 at 15:42, Colin Smale <[hidden email]> wrote:
I wanted to talk about the process, not the outcome. It is obvious there is not an overwhelming consensus one way or the other, and as usual the debate just fizzles out with no conclusion. If we do nothing, the data stays in the database because nobody has the balls to delete it, but it can't be documented for fear of legitimising it.

Is this the best we can do?



On 26 August 2018 16:27:58 CEST, Andrew Black <[hidden email]> wrote:
I agree with Dave F " It's still historic data, irrelevant to OSM. They are neither "current or real". That they will "never change" is irrelevant. They add no quality to the database.They should be removed."





On Sun, 26 Aug 2018 at 12:58, Colin Smale <[hidden email]> wrote:

I agree, but where do we actually go from here? We have some options...

1) remove them all

2) leave them in the database and quietly ignore them

3) leave them in the database and document them, even though they are controversial, to say the least

Option 2 is least desirable IMHO, as we prefer things that are in OSM to be documented in some way, e.g. in the wiki

Given the "live and let live" philosophy that OSM otherwise espouses, maybe we can go for option 3?

 

Or we get some kind of consensus that they are to be removed, but then I think it should be the responsibility of the DWG to make that determination, communicate the decision, and do the reverts.

On 2018-08-26 13:27, Dave F wrote:

No, it's hasn't been acquiesced. It's still historic data, irrelevant to OSM. They are neither "current or real". That they will "never change" is irrelevant. They add no quality to the database.They should be removed.

DaveF

On 26/08/2018 11:46, Colin Smale wrote:

It has gone all quiet here, and in the mean time smb001 has been making steady progress across England. I take it that means acquiescence to these historic county boundaries being in OSM.

I guess we should get smb001 to write up the tagging in the wiki.

Or is there a discussion going on elsewhere that I am not aware of?



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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Mark Goodge
In reply to this post by Colin Smale


On 26/08/2018 20:54, Colin Smale wrote:

> There is a wiki page for boundary=historic, which I think makes it
> clear that these boundaries should not be in OSM.
I think it's slightly unfortunate that OSM uses the tag 'historic' for
something that's different to what we are discussing here. As well as
being potentially ambiguous, it may also encourage people to add
boundaries that are "historic" in the sense used used by proponents of
the traditional English counties.

Mark

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Mark Goodge
In reply to this post by Andrew Black


On 26/08/2018 16:37, Andrew Black wrote:
> Before we can decide whether to delete or document it we need to decide
> whether it is wanted.
> Might a Loomio vote be a way forwards.

As a relatively recent newcomer to OSM as a contributor, I was wondering
about that. Does OSM have the equivalent of Wikipedia's "Articles for
Deletion" where issues like this can be discussed and, hopefully, a
consensus reached?

Mark

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Re: boundary mania

Colin Smale
In reply to this post by David Woolley

On 2018-08-26 21:17, David Woolley wrote:

It looks to me as though boundaries can be defined recursively, so Hampshire, rather than its bounding ways, ought to to be the object referenced in the bigger entities.
 
This wouldn't work in the case of civil parishes as components of districts and UA's though. You cannot define a district as the union of the parishes. There are unparished areas, detached parts and "lands common" which complicate the model. However I believe every point in the UK is within some district/UA, and every district is within a county, giving 100% coverage at that level.
 
 

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Adam Snape
In reply to this post by Mark Goodge


On Sun, 26 Aug 2018, 21:20 Mark Goodge, <[hidden email]> wrote:

I think it's slightly unfortunate that OSM uses the tag 'historic' for
something that's different to what we are discussing here. As well as
being potentially ambiguous, it may also encourage people to add
boundaries that are "historic" in the sense used used by proponents of
the traditional English counties.

Mark

I quite agree. Much of the most strident opposition seems to be to adding an historical (ie. now obsolete) feature. Where proponents are using the term 'historic' they mean 'of long-standing importance'. 

I feel I should stress at this point that we do map a fairly similar set of boundaries, the so-called 'ceremonial counties'. These are basically a modern attempt at providing a set of geographic county areas which don't strictly follow county council administrative areas eg. the ceremonial  county of Nottinghamshire actually contains Nottingham!

If our mapping of boundary relations should only extend to administrative functions we probably ought to reconsider our inclusion of ceremonial counties. If we can see the value to the database of a county as a geographic concept divorced from administration there might well be a case for including our traditional counties.

Adam 

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Colin Smale
In reply to this post by Martin Wynne

On 2018-08-26 22:05, Martin Wynne wrote:

I don't think it's for those who have mapped something in OSM to
demonstrate majority support for its retention. I think it is for those
seeking to have others' contributions removed to demonstrate a clear
consensus in favour of deletion.

Should this consensus be among OSM mappers or OSM users?
 
Normally OSM is very mapper-centric, possibly too much so. If there was a bit more engagement from the data consumer community we might reach a more balanced consensus, rather than the current status where we are often afraid to raise the quality bar for contributors for fear of frightening them off or something.
 
Data modelling is an art.... Striking the right balance between too much and not enough detail, what to put in and what to leave out, remembering that what you want to get out determines what you have to put in. If you expect to be able to see the distinction between A and B, then the data to enable that distinction must be in the database directly, or it must be derivable from data that IS present. Until the tagging is sufficient for some algorithm to make that distinction, the problem has not been solved.
 

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Dave F
In reply to this post by Adam Snape


On 26/08/2018 21:47, Adam Snape wrote:


On Sun, 26 Aug 2018, 21:20 Mark Goodge, <[hidden email]> wrote:

I think it's slightly unfortunate that OSM uses the tag 'historic' for
something that's different to what we are discussing here. As well as
being potentially ambiguous, it may also encourage people to add
boundaries that are "historic" in the sense used used by proponents of
the traditional English counties.

Mark

I quite agree. Much of the most strident opposition seems to be to adding an historical (ie. now obsolete) feature. Where proponents are using the term 'historic' they mean 'of long-standing importance'.

It would be helpful if we ignored the fact they're named 'historic'. Everything is historic. That new sandwich shop that opened last week on the corner? It has a history of one week.

What's important is that they are not current.

 
I feel I should stress at this point that we do map a fairly similar set of boundaries, the so-called 'ceremonial counties'.

My understanding is these are separate from admin boundaries & current?

DaveF

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Colin Smale
In reply to this post by Adam Snape

On 2018-08-26 22:47, Adam Snape wrote:

I feel I should stress at this point that we do map a fairly similar set of boundaries, the so-called 'ceremonial counties'. These are basically a modern attempt at providing a set of geographic county areas which don't strictly follow county council administrative areas eg. the ceremonial  county of Nottinghamshire actually contains Nottingham!
 
If our mapping of boundary relations should only extend to administrative functions we probably ought to reconsider our inclusion of ceremonial counties. If we can see the value to the database of a county as a geographic concept divorced from administration there might well be a case for including our traditional counties.
 
Except that the "ceremonial counties" actually do exist, and serve a function. They are formally called "Lieutenancy Areas" and represent the jurisdiction of the Lord Lieutenant as direct representative of the monarchy. Their boundaries are maintained by a different legal process to the admin areas, and on occasions can diverge for a limited period until they catch up with changes to admin boundaries. And then there is the Stockton-on-Tees anomaly...the borough is divided between the ceremonial counties of Durham and North Yorkshire.
 
While we are at it, let's kill off the admin_level=5 regions and introduce the new combined authorities with a metro mayor at that level.
 

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