[Talk-us] Differences with USA admin_level tagging

Adam Franco adamfranco at gmail.com
Mon Jul 10 14:41:01 UTC 2017

Just to weigh in from Vermont, the situation Greg mentions in Massachusets
also applies in Vermont:

On Jul 9, 2017 3:14 PM, "Greg Troxel" <gdt at lexort.com> wrote:
> From a state government point of view, the state is divided into
> municipalities., where every bit of land in the state is in exactly one
> municipal entity.  Whether a particular entity is Town vs City is merely
> a detail of the form of government, in terms of Board of Selectman and
> Town Meeting vs Mayor and City Council (more or less; there are multiple
> kinds of cities and that's messy, but they all I think have councils).
> Both have zoning bylaws, general bylaws, property tax, police chief,
> school committees, planning boards, conservation commissions, and
> various other things all the same.  The town meeting vs city council is
> really a minor distinction.  Sometimes a town changes into a city; I
> think Framingham just did or is about to.  Other than people who live
> there and elections, it's almost unremarkable except for rarity.
> In particular, cities are not contained within towns.  They are peers,
> fully equal in all ways, with a minor difference in government
> organization.  Nobody I know thinks one is at a higher level than the
> other.

In Vermont "Towns" and "Cities" are peers that are mutually exclusive, have
equivalent statutory rights and responsibilities, but differ only in the
mechanism of government (mayor + City Council for Cities, versus
Selectboard for Towns). Cities never contain towns or vice versa. They
should have the same administrative level in OSM.

Cites and Towns fully subdivide the counties, with one exception: "Gores
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gore_%28surveying%29>", small left-over
slices left unincorporated. These could be considered the same level of
hierarchy as Towns and Cities, but do not actually have a Town government
as they are too small, usually 0-20 residents. Their management handled by
the state in lieu of a functioning Town Government.

Vermont has many dense collections of homes and businesses that are
colloquially referred to as villages or towns. Some of these dense areas
may have municipal water/sewer and additional facilities such as a
post-office, however these densely populated areas do not have government
independent of the Town government. Their borders are amorphous and based
more on where services are provided and settlement patterns than any legal
status. These village centers were imported from TIGER as
boundary=administrative_area,admin_level=8, and I've started re-tagging
them as boundary=census when I come across them.

On Sun, Jul 9, 2017 at 3:25 PM, Kevin Kenny <kevin.b.kenny+osm at gmail.com>

> On Jul 9, 2017 3:14 PM, "Greg Troxel" <gdt at lexort.com> wrote:
> Kevin Kenny <kevin.b.kenny+osm at gmail.com> writes:
> > So to me, what makes sense for New York:
> >
> > admin level 2 - United States of America
> > admin level 4 - New York State
> > admin level 5 - New York City, special case
> > admin level 6 - County, Borough (within New York City)
> > admin level 7 - Town, City
> > admin level 8 - Vlllage, hamlet (where borders defined), community
> > district (New York City), City of Sherrill
> It seems from reading your comments cities are within towns, that a
> house within a city is also within a town.
> Villages can span the borders between Towns, but in  all cases the
> residents of a Village are also residents of some Town.
> Cities are independent of Towns. Every resident of New York is a resident
> of exactly one City, Town, or Native American reservation.
> Single exception: For most purposes the City of Sherrill is administered
> as if it were a Village within the Town of Vernon.
> I'm pretty sure I have the ordering right. The specific level numbers are
> negotiable.
> A handful of Towns have Wards. I've never tried to map one and I'm not
> familiar enough with how they exist 'on the ground.
> So I do not follow putting
> them at the same level.  But it also seems that legally the notion that
> a house in a city is within the town has no consequence, in terms of not
> having to follow town law (perhaps there are no town laws) and not
> having to pay town taxes.  So I think you are saying that effectively
> being in a city means you aren't within a town, even though you are
> within the polygon.  Is that a fair read?
> The other question I have about your list is about town/city being at 7
> vs 8.  It seems that in most states, the city type of thing is at 8.
> The numbers are arbitrary, just leaving room for some 7 thing that might
> or might not exist.  But it seems good in terms of data consumers for
> ~everything that's sort of like a city (to include Mass towns) to be at
> 8, to reduce the need for special-case code.  That would put
> village/hamlet at 9, which strikes me as also aligned.
> This raises the notion if there are places in the US where there is
> something smaller than a county and bigger than a city in a meaningful
> way, for example a state where cities are in townships but city
> residents also have town law/tax consequences, which would lead to
> town=7 city=8.
> > This scheme differs from what I see on the Wiki only in that the
> > sixty-odd cities other than New York and Sherrill would be promoted
> > from level 8 to level 7.
> Which I guess is exactly my question, more succinctly :-)
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