[OSM-talk] England, Wales, Scotland borders

Igor Brejc igor.brejc at gmail.com
Sun Oct 4 08:12:48 BST 2009


For days now I've been trying to figure out how I could render borders 
between England, Wales and Scotland using OSM data, but I keep stumbling 
into same issues. Frankly, I think the way these things are tagged in UK 
is a mess (I don't know what the situation is in other places):

   1. Borders between these countries are tagged with the same
      admin_level=4 as that of subdivisions inside England (example:
      North East England, http://osm.org/go/evykef-?relation=151164).
      Now I'm not a constitutional expert, but I think Wales and
      Scotland represent different level of territorial division than
      just a collection of England's counties. And anyway, the
      states level 4 is used for "England/Scotland/Wales border" and
      doesn't mention anything else.
   2. There is no way to render JUST land borders. Maritime borders
      (territorial waters) are tagged exactly the same way as their
      continental counterparts. And even if you accept this limitation
      and decide to render territorial waters they are usually cut off
      in the available UK OSM extracts.
   3. England's coast is also tagged as a border, but Wales' and
      Scotland's isn't.

Please take my criticism as a constructive one. I'm trying to use OSM 
data in a real-life situation and I think borders are some of the more 
important data, since they are usually visible in smaller-scale maps 
(but usually _without_ marked territorial waters). The way UK's borders 
are now tagged, the only way to render them usefully would be to 
manually collect a list of OSM ways' IDs.

Of course I could go and edit these things myself, but since I'm not 
usually covering this part of the world, I don't want to step on other 
people's toes :)

Best regards,


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