'historic' county boundaries added to the database

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Frederik Ramm
Hi,

On 09/19/2018 06:38 PM, Martin Wynne wrote:
> I'm puzzled by this insistence that we can map only that which is
> "current or real".

You shouldn't, it is one of our basic principles and it's here to stay.
Usually people don't say "current or real" but "verifiable on the
ground". The fundamental idea goes like this: If two mappers disagree
about a feature, they can simply go there and the conflict can be solved
immediately.

Allowing stuff that is not verifiable on the ground would rob us of this
possibility - all of a sudden we'd have to meet in libraries or
courthouses or universities to find out who's right.

We don't want that, generally.

But we are not fundamentalists, and we do allow exceptions. One obvious
exception is current administrative boundaries; they are not easily
verifiable on the ground but we're making an exception because of their
undoubted usefulness.

In addition these generally accepted exceptions, there's also a lot of
stuff in our database that will not withstand scrutiny and will likely
be deleted if someone looks at it with a keen "is this verifiable on the
ground" eye. The existence of such data cannot be taken as a sign that
our principles are moot.

> See for example this node:
>
>  https://www.openstreetmap.org/node/2518973091
>
> There is absolutely nothing on the ground. And 1402 is a long time ago
> to be current.
>
> But there is a brown sign directing visitors to it:
>
>  https://goo.gl/maps/LSVnemQ5fxw

Yes, you would normally at least map the sign so there's less potential
for a dispute.

Bye
Frederik

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

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Colin Smale

On 2018-09-19 18:59, Frederik Ramm wrote:

Hi,

On 09/19/2018 06:38 PM, Martin Wynne wrote:I'm puzzled by this insistence that we can map only that which is
"current or real".
You shouldn't, it is one of our basic principles and it's here to stay.
Usually people don't say "current or real" but "verifiable on the
ground". The fundamental idea goes like this: If two mappers disagree
about a feature, they can simply go there and the conflict can be solved
immediately.
 
It's time this mantra was updated. A more practical version would be something like "independently and publicly verifiable." In other words, verifiable by a random mapper without special privilege using only acceptable sources. If two mappers disagree, the point can often be decided by reference to the sources, without needing a site visit.

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Robert Skedgell
In reply to this post by Andrew Black


On 19/09/2018 16:04, Andrew Black wrote:

> There is a very big difference
>
> - ceremonial counties exist now and so are in scope for OSM.  As you say
> here are differences between them and admin counties when unitary
> authorties are involved
>  - traditional counties are an attempt to recreate the past 
> So I don't think these trad counties have any ceremonial existence any
> more.  Which means they are just causing confusion.
>
> I live in London. The place I live in has been inb the county of London
> since 1889. But the traditional county beast says I live in Surrey.

I also live in London, east of the River Lea (historical Essex). It
certainly makes a difference for the purposes of athletics: my running
club is the other side of the Lea and affiliated to Middlesex, but I am
ineligible to compete in Middlesex County AA races. I suspect people
participating in other sports at club level are affected by historic
counties.

I do not have any strong views on whether or not they should be included
in OSM, but even now they are not entirely irrelevant.

--
Robert Skedgell (rskedgell)



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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Andrew Hain
Richmond cricket club play in the Middlesex league and Middlesex sometimes play at their Old Deer Park ground[https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=16/51.46911/-0.29533]. Neighbouring Sheen Park[https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=16/51.4579/-0.2708] play in both the Middlesex and Surrey leagues.

--
Andrew

From: Robert Skedgell <[hidden email]>
Sent: 19 September 2018 21:24
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Talk-GB] 'historic' county boundaries added to the database
 


On 19/09/2018 16:04, Andrew Black wrote:
> There is a very big difference
>
> - ceremonial counties exist now and so are in scope for OSM.  As you say
> here are differences between them and admin counties when unitary
> authorties are involved
>  - traditional counties are an attempt to recreate the past 
> So I don't think these trad counties have any ceremonial existence any
> more.  Which means they are just causing confusion.
>
> I live in London. The place I live in has been inb the county of London
> since 1889. But the traditional county beast says I live in Surrey.

I also live in London, east of the River Lea (historical Essex). It
certainly makes a difference for the purposes of athletics: my running
club is the other side of the Lea and affiliated to Middlesex, but I am
ineligible to compete in Middlesex County AA races. I suspect people
participating in other sports at club level are affected by historic
counties.

I do not have any strong views on whether or not they should be included
in OSM, but even now they are not entirely irrelevant.

--
Robert Skedgell (rskedgell)



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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Richard Fairhurst
In reply to this post by Frederik Ramm
Frederik Ramm wrote:
> But we are not fundamentalists, and we do allow exceptions. One
> obvious exception is current administrative boundaries; they are
> not easily verifiable on the ground but we're making an exception
> because of their undoubted usefulness.

From 1974 to 1997, the county of Rutland didn't exist. It was gone. Kaputt.
It was subsumed into Leicestershire, because a county with just 30,000
inhabitants is patently ridiculous etc. etc.

Except for those 23 years, pretty much every one of those 30,000 inhabitants
(including me, from 1984) still put their postal address as "Oakham,
Rutland" or "Cottesmore, Rutland" or whatever. As far as they were concerned
they lived in Rutland. If OSM had existed back then, they would have typed
"Oakham, Rutland" into the search box, and expected Nominatim to give them
the correct response. Not Oakham in the Black Country, or Rutland VT, or
whatever.

In fact, so strong was the local attachment to the idea of Rutland that in
1997 the national Government brought it back. Rutland became a county once
more.[1] It still is one today.[2] It was an admission that for 23 years,
the situation on the ground - i.e. what people called the place - had been
the historic county boundary, not the present-day one. In terms of
geocoding, if not in terms of who collected the rates, the official admin
boundary was... I hesitate to say wrong, but certainly partial.

I'm sure it's different in other European countries where things are more
regulated and where you have fancy shit like official registers of streets
and a written constitution and all that. But placenames in Britain don't
always accord with present-day official documents. London suburbs are the
classic example: shifting, amorphous areas, often named at the whim of
estate agents. "Newham" is an artificial construct with an entire borough
council behind it, whereas "West Hampstead" is a property speculator's
construct (the original speculators being, of course, the Metropolitan
Railway and their ever-advancing Metroland) with little legal standing.[3]
But that doesn't stop us mapping West Hampstead as place=suburb, and that's
good, because thousands of people think they live there, and over on the
other side of town, precisely no-one thinks they live in Newham.

So:

Historic counties can and often do represent genuine, attested, useful
geographic information. If you're proposing to delete them, you need to come
up with a solution that will retain that information.

Or, alternatively, you could stop faffing with Wikipedia-like deletionism
and focus on making the map better. OSM would be a better, and nicer, place
if people went out and did mapping, rather than staying at home and doing
deleting. I might have said that before.[4]

Richard

[1] Though legally it's a unitary district council with the faintly
hilarious title of "Rutland County Council District Council"... go figure
[2] And it was one of the first places we mapped in its entirety!
https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/WikiProject_Rutland_England/2006_Rutland_Mapping_Party
[3] It belatedly became an electoral ward in 2002, I think.
[4] https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk/2015-August/074009.html .
Fans of Groundhog Day may wish to reread the whole railroad thread.



--
Sent from: http://gis.19327.n8.nabble.com/Great-Britain-f5372682.html

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Rob Nickerson
In reply to this post by Dave F
Like Brian, I am interested if OSM UK can do anything here. I liked his suggestion of a vote with a minimum number of people (with work done in advance by volunteers on both sides).

In a semi-related note: Does anyone have the admin boundaries (including low level such as Borough and District) from 1947? I ask because the electricity regions were established in the Electricity Act 1947 and I believe they may still be the same (or largely the same). BTW I want these for something else - not OSM. But you could argue that if we have public transport fare zones in OSM then maybe Electricity Regions make sense too.

Thanks,
Rob

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Frederik Ramm
In reply to this post by Richard Fairhurst
Richard,

On 20.09.2018 00:01, Richard Fairhurst wrote:
> From 1974 to 1997, the county of Rutland didn't exist.

It's nice to see such a passionate plea for one particular historic
boundary, and pleas like that are what can give rise to the exceptions I
was talking about.

These exceptions do not, however, mean that it's a free-for-all for all
kinds of historic boundaries. I don't know about Rutland - the way you
say it sounds as if it is, and has always been, crystal clear what is
part of Rutland and what is not. But one participant in this thread has
stated that their particular county boundary has changed many times over
the years. I don't know if the people inhabiting the areas that have
changed hands each time kept a stubborn affection for "their *real*
county" just as you describe the people of Rutland to have done. For the
sake of the argument, let's assume there had been a couple of minor
changes to the boundary of "Rutland County Council District Council"
since 1997. Surely your argument which seems to be based on the romantic
"Rutland that people feel in their hearts" could not be applied as a
reason to store "Rutland County Council District Council in the borders
of 1997", plus "Rutland County Council District Council in the borders
of 1999", and also "Rutland County Council District Council in the
borders of 2003"...?

A line needs to be drawn, because otherwise there *will* be people
mapping these things ("for historic interest"), and they won't stop at
historic administrative boundaries; they will include electoral wards of
all EU elections back to god knows when, parish boundaries from 1905,
and school districts for good measure. And each time it will become more
different to maintain the data. How is someone who moves a river to be
more in line with current aerial imagery supposed to know which of the
23 boundaries using that river should be affected and which not?

All the reasons you have listed were based on popular use. You said
things like "pretty much everyone put their address as ...", "no-one
thinks they live in ..." etc.; at the same time such things are often
not very precise and don't easily lend themselves to drawing boundaries.
The "West Hampstead" you mention is mapped as a point - perhaps
precisely because it has no documented administrative boundary to go
with it but is a "property speculator's construct" as you say?

I think that if case-by-case exceptions are made from our "verifiable on
the ground" rule, then at the very least the object in question must be
important enough (an admin boundary that 30.000 people believe to live
in would qualify, an electoral ward that was abolished in 1905 and is
only remembered by those of the age 120+, not so much), and if someone
wants to map it as a relation (which cannot be done in a fuzzy way) then
it must be sufficiently clear where the boundary is because else we'll
have 10 mappers edit-warring over if a certain address still belongs to
the posh neighbourhood of Silver Springs or to its seedy neighbour,
Golden Showers.

Bye
Frederik

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

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

lsces
On 20/09/2018 07:24, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> Surely your argument which seems to be based on the romantic
> "Rutland that people feel in their hearts" could not be applied as a
> reason to store "Rutland County Council District Council in the borders
> of 1997", plus "Rutland County Council District Council in the borders
> of 1999", and also "Rutland County Council District Council in the
> borders of 2003"...?

That people have a desire to view this data is a simple fact. Had the
1997 boundary been drawn at that time, and then update to '1999' and
subsequently to '2003' means that this data would have been in the
database and as others keep pointing out would be accessible by looking
at the change logs. The next changes will also be logged the same way,
but ACCESSING the historic views is not an easy process?

The current 'process' dictates that OHM should take over the job of
displaying the older versions but there is currently no easy way to
carry out that process, and these 'special cases' then have to exist in
parallel across both databases. So is there not a good reason to start
processing 'start_date' and 'end_date' properly so that an object CAN
exist in different configurations over time. Material which has an
'end_date' is ignored by any 'current map' processes in which case a
'special case' historic element would be named as such and not have an
end_date ...

Current data will become superseded, and one is then adding the new
version, but the old version is still valid data and needs to be handled
better than it is currently. If the process is managed properly then
adding additional historic data should not be a problem since the vast
majority of that data will simply be a 'start_date' for objects that ARE
current in the database!

--
Lester Caine - G8HFL
-----------------------------
Contact - https://lsces.co.uk/wiki/?page=contact
L.S.Caine Electronic Services - https://lsces.co.uk
EnquirySolve - https://enquirysolve.com/
Model Engineers Digital Workshop - https://medw.co.uk
Rainbow Digital Media - https://rainbowdigitalmedia.co.uk

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Martin Wynne
In reply to this post by Frederik Ramm
> it is one of our basic principles and it's here to stay.
> Usually people don't say "current or real" but "verifiable on the
> ground". The fundamental idea goes like this: If two mappers disagree
> about a feature, they can simply go there and the conflict can be solved
> immediately.

"Verifiable on the ground" is easier said than done. I have just been
mapping a small stream which has been piped under a residential area.
Verifiable on the ground is the fact that it enters the pipe at one
location, and exits the pipe at another location. What is not verifiable
on the ground is the route the pipe takes between the two. I have
assumed that it is not a straight line, because that would take it
directly under some of the houses, but that it follows the road layout
for maintenance access if needed.

But I can't verify that fact. Should I not map it at all? What is
verifiable on the ground is the fact that the stream does not stop dead
at one location and restart at another.

Martin.



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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Colin Smale

On 2018-09-20 10:25, Martin Wynne wrote:

But I can't verify that fact. Should I not map it at all? What is verifiable on the ground is the fact that the stream does not stop dead at one location and restart at another.

How can you verify it's the same stream? Taking your own flourescein or a RFID-tagged carp on mapping expeditions? It may be highly likely that it is the same stream, but that is not the same as being verifiable.
 

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Martin Wynne
> How can you verify it's the same stream?

I can't.  I've deleted it.

This raises the question of the maximum length of a culvert under a
road, beyond which it is no longer permissible to map it as such. Under
a country lane is ok? But under a motorway?

What is a stream? Even if it's the same water, does that make it the
same stream? Is a pipe a stream?

Do we map pipelines? Or just the visible markers? What is the correct
tagging for this:

  https://goo.gl/maps/2NEHNpuz2SH2

or this (same pipeline):

  https://goo.gl/maps/ME2EMqXE7dH2

Martin.

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Dan S
In reply to this post by Colin Smale
Op do 20 sep. 2018 om 09:46 schreef Colin Smale <[hidden email]>:
>
> On 2018-09-20 10:25, Martin Wynne wrote:
>
> But I can't verify that fact. Should I not map it at all? What is verifiable on the ground is the fact that the stream does not stop dead at one location and restart at another.
>
> How can you verify it's the same stream?

Poohsticks.


(How did the conversation get to this...)

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Martin Wynne
In reply to this post by Martin Wynne
> Do we map pipelines? Or just the visible markers? What is the correct
> tagging for this:

Sorry, forget that. I found:

  https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:pipeline%3Dmarker

Martin.

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Martin Wynne
In reply to this post by Dan S
> Poohsticks.
>
>
> (How did the conversation get to this...)

The argument against the historic county boundaries is that they can't
be verified on the ground.

I map lots of stuff that can't be verified on the ground. For example
rural bus stops often have no physical marker.

Martin.

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Dave F
In reply to this post by Dan S
On 20/09/2018 11:57, Dan S wrote:
> Poohsticks.
> (How did the conversation get to this...)

OSM threads *always* go off track, often from the first reply.

Could we all please /try/ to keep on topic, or start a new thread?

Cheers
DaveF


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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Dave F
In reply to this post by Brian Prangle-2
Hi

I see this as a global issue, not restricted to the UK. I could (& probably should) have posted originally in the main Talk forum.

There is only one database, I don't see it's within OSM UK's authority to make fundamental changes to it.

As I noted previously, many discussions have been had & a decision made.

Cheers
DaveF
 

On 19/09/2018 10:10, Brian Prangle wrote:
I've not participated in this debate because I have no strong views either way and no specialist knowledge to contribute. However I don't think a decision has been reached here as there are roughly equal numbers for and against and those  "just commenting" from a thread population of 17 - hardly representative of the UK OSM community.

I'd like to develp Colin's emphasis on process on how we can arrive at a decision and what follows from that decision and ifany of  you see a role for the UK Chapter in all of this

We can have a Loomio vote but I would suggest we set a minimum number of voters for it to be seen as representing the UK community. Might I suggest 60?  I think that's roughly the number of  users editing the map daily.

If the vote is for retaining historic boundaries then we need a volunteer (before the vote!) to document the wiki, taking on board Frederik's comments
If the vote is for not having them then I suggest a two stage process:
1. All new edits get reverted
2. A plan is drawn up for retaining all the current data by migrating it to OHM and then deleting it from OSM.  That respects all the hard work by Sean. Again identified before the vote takes place! (Might I suggest that those complaining loudest consider stepping forward to do this?)

If we can't get volunteers for these processes then I suggest a vote is not worthwhile

Regards

Brian

On Tue, 18 Sep 2018 at 22:53, Warin <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 27/08/18 06:05, 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?
>
>


OSM users can easily remove stuff in there pre filtering of OSM data. So
it is not an issue for them.




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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Dave F
In reply to this post by Martin Wynne

On 20/09/2018 12:07, Martin Wynne wrote:
>
> The argument against the historic county boundaries is that they can't
> be verified on the ground.

No, Martyn. It's that they are not current.

Current boundaries aren't visible on the ground either. No one's painted
dashed lines across the fields, but they're still real & verifiable via
LA's documentation.

Cheers
DaveF

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Colin Smale
In reply to this post by Dave F

On 2018-09-20 13:22, Dave F wrote:

As I noted previously, many discussions have been had & a decision made.

The discussion is clearly ongoing.... Could you point me to the "decision" please?


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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Martin Wynne
In reply to this post by Dave F
>> The argument against the historic county boundaries is that they can't
>> be verified on the ground.
>
> No, Martyn. It's that they are not current.
>

Make up your minds!

Previously:

 > > On 09/19/2018 06:38 PM, Martin Wynne wrote:
 > > I'm puzzled by this insistence that we can map only that which
 > > is "current or real".

 > Usually people don't say "current or real" but "verifiable on the
 > ground". The fundamental idea goes like this: If two mappers disagree
 > about a feature, they can simply go there and the conflict can be
 > solved immediately.

Martin.

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Re: 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

sk53.osm
In reply to this post by Frederik Ramm
I think Richard as usually eloquently summarised my position. Rutland is perhaps an extreme example insofar as more-or-less the entire population objected to the county disappearing. However such cases are not uncommon across the world: of the top of my head, I can think of the city of Allegheny being subsumed by Pittsburgh in the early 1900s, and a more successful municipality which avoided being incorporated into Madison, Wisconsin in the late 1900s. My twitter feed is full of tweets from OSM contributor Christian Rogel about the campaign for the French region of Brittany to be extended to incorporate it's historical capital, Nantes.

A sense of identify associated with place is neither romantic, nor something which can be determined by administrative diktat. Although administrative boundaries can have unexpected consequences: in the modern day, some youth gangs use post code districts as boundaries. Whereas I would expect many people to be able to identify the historical/traditional county in which they live, I'd very surprised if they even know a ceremonial county exists at all (unless they were angling for a Deputy Lord Lieutenantship). Furthermore, whereas there is abundant evidence to help identify the rough boundaries of the former, I suspect there is not one iota of on the ground evidence for the latter.

As others have said there are numerous non-governmental bodies whose work is largely constrained by the traditional county boundaries. Sporting groups such as the teams in the Surrey Cross-country League (some such as Herne Hill Harriers within the 1889 county of London) allow a reasonable reconstruction of the original county boundaries. County level associations exist for many sports and maintain, for the most part, these traditional boundaries. Similar things happen with groups such as local history societies (the Thoroton Society for Nottinghamshire). I happen to sit on the committee of the Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Entomological Society, which, guess what, is devoted to the study of insects in these two traditional counties. The reason for this adherence to the old counties is that many of the organisations came into existence in the decades around 1900. Furthermore, bitter experience shows that trying to shadow the administrative structure is a recipe for continual change and lack of continuity (look at the original planned titles of the Buildings of Scotland & Wales: all based on admin units which have largely ceased to exist, and will have no meaning to people in 20 years time).

At this point I should be clear I am not advocating whether these boundaries should be in OSM or not. I am advocating that it is not the role of OSM to be a mere slave of administrative whims which don't reflect the lived experience of ordinary people Surely this is the essence of what OSM should be about: the opportunity to represent more than just the 'official' view of the world. In 1950 such a viewpoint would have meant reverting anyone who added "name:cy" tags.

Lastly on consensus. We clearly don't have it on this issue, nor necessarily on what truly meets an on-the-ground rule for boundaries. Instead of arguing about the points we don't agree about, consensus is better built by adumbrating the things which we believe in common, and agreeing on which specific points there are differences. As we all should know by now voting may not solve anything.

Jerry

On Thu, 20 Sep 2018 at 07:25, Frederik Ramm <[hidden email]> wrote:
Richard,

On 20.09.2018 00:01, Richard Fairhurst wrote:
> From 1974 to 1997, the county of Rutland didn't exist.

It's nice to see such a passionate plea for one particular historic
boundary, and pleas like that are what can give rise to the exceptions I
was talking about.

These exceptions do not, however, mean that it's a free-for-all for all
kinds of historic boundaries. I don't know about Rutland - the way you
say it sounds as if it is, and has always been, crystal clear what is
part of Rutland and what is not. But one participant in this thread has
stated that their particular county boundary has changed many times over
the years. I don't know if the people inhabiting the areas that have
changed hands each time kept a stubborn affection for "their *real*
county" just as you describe the people of Rutland to have done. For the
sake of the argument, let's assume there had been a couple of minor
changes to the boundary of "Rutland County Council District Council"
since 1997. Surely your argument which seems to be based on the romantic
"Rutland that people feel in their hearts" could not be applied as a
reason to store "Rutland County Council District Council in the borders
of 1997", plus "Rutland County Council District Council in the borders
of 1999", and also "Rutland County Council District Council in the
borders of 2003"...?

A line needs to be drawn, because otherwise there *will* be people
mapping these things ("for historic interest"), and they won't stop at
historic administrative boundaries; they will include electoral wards of
all EU elections back to god knows when, parish boundaries from 1905,
and school districts for good measure. And each time it will become more
different to maintain the data. How is someone who moves a river to be
more in line with current aerial imagery supposed to know which of the
23 boundaries using that river should be affected and which not?

All the reasons you have listed were based on popular use. You said
things like "pretty much everyone put their address as ...", "no-one
thinks they live in ..." etc.; at the same time such things are often
not very precise and don't easily lend themselves to drawing boundaries.
The "West Hampstead" you mention is mapped as a point - perhaps
precisely because it has no documented administrative boundary to go
with it but is a "property speculator's construct" as you say?

I think that if case-by-case exceptions are made from our "verifiable on
the ground" rule, then at the very least the object in question must be
important enough (an admin boundary that 30.000 people believe to live
in would qualify, an electoral ward that was abolished in 1905 and is
only remembered by those of the age 120+, not so much), and if someone
wants to map it as a relation (which cannot be done in a fuzzy way) then
it must be sufficiently clear where the boundary is because else we'll
have 10 mappers edit-warring over if a certain address still belongs to
the posh neighbourhood of Silver Springs or to its seedy neighbour,
Golden Showers.

Bye
Frederik

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

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