[Talk-us] Strange city boundary: Lee, Illinois

Kevin Kenny kevin.b.kenny at gmail.com
Wed Nov 14 16:11:30 UTC 2018

On Wed, Nov 14, 2018 at 10:46 AM Martijn van Exel <m at rtijn.org> wrote:

> I looked at a few place boundaries in Utah and compared with current TIGER
> files.. Definitely needs work..
> https://www.dropbox.com/s/e1113me8y9t1my5/Screenshot%202018-11-14%2008.42.30.png?dl=0 (colored
> = current OSM, grey = TIGER places shape file 2018)

It may indeed need work, but don't expect admin levels in the US to be
hierarchical, except that typically there will be no administrative region
crossing state lines. (The examples of state-line-crossing cities above, as
the posters point out, are legally separate cities on the two sides of the

There are lots of weird cases. The Vermont-New Hampshire line does NOT
follow the Thalweg of the Connecticut River - and is monumented by the only
set of trig points placed by the Judicial Branch of the US Government -
their markers bear the legend "THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES" and
are offset from the line to keep them above high water.
- the Supreme Court was settling, in 1934, a boundary dispute that had been
festering since 1778.

New York has two cities (New York City, which is coterminous with five
counties, and Geneva) that cross county lines, and about 15% of the
villages cross township lines. The rules for New York are:
All counties are mutually exclusive, and all of the state is in one county
or another.
The next admin-level (township, city, Indian Reservation) are all mutually
exclusive, and all of the state is in one or another of these.  But cities
and Indian Reservations can cross county lines (townships cannot).
At the next admin-level all bets are off. No village overlaps a city, but
they cross township and occasionally county lines all the time.

Other states have other rules. There are no really good assumptions to be
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