[Talk-us] admin level for US states

Martin Koppenhoefer dieterdreist at gmail.com
Tue Nov 25 09:29:25 UTC 2014

2014-11-24 21:18 GMT+01:00 Minh Nguyen <minh at nguyen.cincinnati.oh.us>:

> Assuming this table reflects the actual state of the map, most countries
> have chosen 4 for their state equivalents.

Actually, many countries do not have something like a "state equivalent",
it is a particularity of the USA because they are a federal republic.

> This level-skipping scheme extends all the way down to the smallest
> jurisdictions. Because the TIGERcnl import chose admin_level=8 for
> municipalities, skipping 7, I was able to tag Ohio townships as 7 without
> demoting all the state's cities and villages. [2] Even though neighboring
> Kentucky and West Virginia lack a level of government between counties and
> municipalities, it makes sense to keep cities in most states at the same
> admin_level, because they're functionally equivalent. (Virginia is a
> notable exception.)

I was not going to get into discussion about cities and other lower level
admin entities. Please lets stick to the state question.

> For context, there's an open pull request to have the Standard stylesheet
> render country and state labels based on administrative boundary polygons
> rather than place nodes. [3]

yes, this is also something I wanted to point to, because in the discussion
for this style change it was argued that some countries, which currently do
use level 3, should change that to level 4 (like the US), and I was arguing
the other way round, that the US should probably change the states to level
3 instead.

> Martin, how would the U.S. would be affected by this change? As it stands,
> U.S. state boundaries and labels appear at z4 and above, regardless of the
> state's size. Of the smallest states, Rhode Island (RI) appears at z4 and
> z6+, Connecticut (CT) appears at z4+, and Maryland (MD) and Delaware (DE)
> are both obscured at z4 by the label for Washington, D.C.
> At a glance, this change would seemingly omit most of the Northeastern
> states' labels at z4.
It appears to set a minimum size of 750 "way pixels" at z4 and 3,000 at z5
> for displaying a state's label. I don't really see those states' two-letter
> refs as being clutter.

I am not sure why raising the importance would lead to less names
displayed. If this holds true, the stylesheet would have to adopt to
correct this IMHO.

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