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UK polygons, Ceremonial or Administrative? [poll]

+2 votes
868 views

So, there has been some changes regarding the United Kingdom polygons lately. Some users got happy about the changes, some quite the opposite of that. Most of those that were happy probably geocached more outside England than the others. The polygons for Scotland for example was very old and quite broken.

The update of the polygons was taken from Openstreetmap. That's our usual source for this. For all other countries we use "administrative borders", but that doesn't seem acceptable for England (by her citizens). Personally we (Project-GC) believe it's more correct since that's how it is for all other countries.

One of the reasons we got some bashing was just because we changed things. Not the end result or the lost data before that. We can understand that it's frustrating to "lose" some logged counties and similar. It has not been our intention, but the data for United Kingdom was broken, we rather fixed it then.

We have heard things like administrative borders changes, and yes they do. They do so for other countries as well, not extremely often though, and the changes normally aren't huge. It's hard to avoid changes, I don't think anyone feels that it's correct to treat USA as provinces of Spain, France and England? Maps do change.

Regardless. The user ShammyLevva has helped us building polygons that should work for all of United Kingdom, based on the ceremonial borders in England. This has been imported in our system in a way where they are not used yet, we have just tested the technical complications.

A good side-effect of these new polygons is that we also have polygons for regions that matches Geocaching.com.

So, now we ask the community. Do you want these new polygons?

PS! There may be some minor adjustments if we choose to use these. They are not 100% reviewed to be correct yet.

UPDATE:

When the result of the poll was over 50 to 1 we started to migrate to the new polygon data. It's already partly in place. The servers will now spend the whole night calculating which county all the geocaches exists in with the new data. Meanwhile there can be mid-way effects on some maps.

Choices:
Keep it the way it is now. (2 votes, 3%)
Keep it the way it is now, administrative borders are more correct. (0 votes)
Keep it the way it is now, administrative borders are more consistent. (0 votes)
Switch to the new ones, I don't care about the county changes, but I want the regions. (1 vote, 1%)
Switch to the new ones, ceremonial is what we want. (1 vote, 1%)
Switch to the new ones, ceremonial is what we want, and the region data is a great plus. (60 votes, 88%)
I don't care at all. (4 votes, 6%)
What's this data for? (0 votes)
asked Apr 6, 2016 in Miscellaneous by magma1447 (Admin) (221,310 points)
edited Apr 6, 2016 by magma1447 (Admin)
I really like the new UK region and county maps. However, there seems to be an inconsistency in the Southeast England region.  I have logged caches in both Kent and East Sussex.  However, the map is showing my Southeast England region as white, not green.
South West England is showing the same inconsistency.  I have logged caches in Somerset county, but my Southwest England region is white on the map.
There was a typo in the region names on the first load. For some reason Groundspeak call the regions South East England and South West England whereas in the north they call them Northeast England and Northwest England. I'd foolishly gone with a consistent naming pattern not knowing Groundspeak was inconsistent.

The maps were updated with this issue fixed on Monday so it takes a bit of time for the update to filter through to all caches in an area and then to refresh everyone's stats. I've just looked and it shows the refreshed data for your account now. IE: all of the south is showing green for you. It looks like you've only got South Wales and Eastern England to do.

Hope this helps.
That does help, thanks, but the update hasn't made its way into my maps yet which are still white in those regions. I guess I will keep waiting.

And to repeat: I really like the new regions and county definitions. I hope they stay stable forevermore :)
Yup I've just been in an email exchange with ganja1447 to see if that's just a cached data thing (cached as in stored not as in cache container :) ) or a config thing.

Edit: note it's correct on the dynamic map reports under the tools menu. Map regions and Map counties. It's just the profile stats maps that have yet to update.

5 Answers

+4 votes

The map will end up being the same as this Groundspeak one https://wiki.groundspeak.com/download/attachments/11173980/ukfullmap.jpg?version=1&modificationDate=1405415769333&api=v2

The ceremonial counties are based on current UK legislation as per this information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceremonial_counties_of_England

The list of Regions and Counties would get rid of the small individual council areas and become:

  • East Midlands
    • Derbyshire
    • Leicestershire
    • Lincolnshire
    • Nottinghamshire
    • Northamptonshire
    • Rutland
  • Eastern England
    • Bedfordshire
    • Cambridgeshire
    • Essex
    • Hertfordshire
    • Norfolk
    • Suffolk
  • London
    • City of London
    • Greater London
  • Northeast England
    • County Durham
    • Northumberland
    • Tyne and Wear
  • Northwest England
    • Cheshire
    • Cumbria
    • Greater Manchester
    • Lancashire
    • Merseyside
  • Southeast England
    • East Sussex
    • Kent
    • Surrey
    • West Sussex
  • Southern England
    • Berkshire
    • Buckinghamshire
    • Dorset
    • Gloucestershire
    • Hampshire
    • Isle of Wight
    • Oxfordshire
    • Wiltshire
  • South West England
    • City of Bristol
    • Cornwall
    • Devon
    • Someret
  • West Midlands
    • Herefordshire
    • Shropshire
    • Staffordshire
    • Warwickshire
    • West Midlands
    • Worcestershire
  • Yorkshire
    • East Riding of Yorkshire
    • North Yorkshire
    • South Yorkshire
    • West Yorkshire
answered Apr 6, 2016 by ShammyLevva (Expert) (8,260 points)
I can see how it's confusing as that Wikipedia article says the ceremonial counties have been abolished in favour of the administrative boundaries. What it doesn't mention is that although they have no legal meaning, we still use the county names to specify places, if we see the word county, we still expect to see these counties.
+2 votes
This is perfect. The Ceremonial Counties (and regions!) are what UK users have been wanting for ages now. No-one in the UK uses the word 'counties' to mean administrative areas.

So I've voted yes to the switch, with the regions as a nice bonus too. :)
answered Apr 6, 2016 by Paperballpark (11,490 points)
+1 vote
The big thing for me will be the introduction of regions, though the use of ceremonial counties would be better than the administrative divisions we have at present. Well done to Shmmylevva for mapping this.
answered Apr 6, 2016 by Optimist on the run (Expert) (18,130 points)
0 votes
As the first people to complete every "county" in both the UK and Ireland (according to your maps)  last August, we have quite a vested interest in this. I agree that the counties should match the traditional counties, eg those used by mygeocachingprofile too (their choices of borders seem well chosen). Having those new Scottish areas appear recently was quite a shock, I was already planning trips to recomplete our map, so a stable and logical set of counties would be great, although part of me secretly enjoyed visiting every unitary authority :)
answered Apr 6, 2016 by adamandbeckychater (150 points)
The old Scottish boundaries were an almightly mess and didn't in the least little bit represent any recognised Scottish county boundaries. What they were was a temporary set of boundaries in use for an extremely short period from 1974-1995. When those "regions" of Scotland were abolished in 1995 (5 years before geocaching even started) they were replaced by "modern" counties that took account of growth of new towns. This is what is now in use on Project-GC.

MyGeocachingprofile sadly uses the 21 year old obsolete Scottish regions that make no sense. It does seem to use decent English regions though. Wales I'm unsure of and await a Welsh user giving info on how best to treat Wales. I'm assuming some of the smaller south Wales "areas" should be amalgamated to form proper counties.

NB. A bug on Open Street Map at time of import meant several tiny islands were erroneously treated as counties.
Thank you for the reply. My main issue was those little islands, so knowing they were a bug and are now fixed is quite a relief. Given what I now know, I'm happy that, as you say, both Wales and Scotland are now much more accurately represented. I quite liked having the unitary authorities represented, having your map being more work to complete led to some epic road trips last August to get the last few, but I can also see the positives of the more simple traditional counties in the proposed new version.
I still see those islands, e.g. Lambs Holm and Glims Holm, is the change not live yet or are they still in the data? I'm fairly sure they're not counties. Also, you have the Isle of Lewis as a separate county, when in fact it's just part ofNa h-Eileanan Siar.
Change isn't live yet - this vote is about whether to adopt the change and fix those issues :)

All of the islands that are in error are fixed in new data.
Ah okay, thank you, I'll stop going on then. I just want to be back to 100% map completed asap :)
Map should be refreshed now adamandbeckychater. You need to come up and visit me in Aberdeen I see, and the Central Belt of Scotland. Wales awaits Welsh users giving a verdict on boundaries so may yet change.
+1 vote

Can a Welsh user please clarify what the expected Welsh counties would be. In the current Project-GC list they are:

  • Northern Wales
    • Isle of Anglesey
    • Gwynedd
    • Conwy
    • Denbighshire
    • Flintshire
    • Wrexham
  • Southern Wales
    • Powys
    • Ceredigion
    • Pembrokeshire
    • Carmathenshire
    • Swansea
    • Neath Port Talbot
    • Bridgend
    • Rhondda Cynon Taf
    • Merthyr Tydfil
    • Blaenau Gwent
    • Caerphilly
    • Torfaen
    • Vale of Glamorgan
    • Cardiff
    • Newport
    • Monmouthshire

I suspect some of the small southern Wales areas aren't really counties? I need some info from informed Welsh users.

answered Apr 6, 2016 by ShammyLevva (Expert) (8,260 points)
Not Welsh but we visit there often :) I think that's a good list to use, it's the same as this article https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government_in_Wales It does include unitary authorities, however, so maybe a better list is the one in this article https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historic_counties_of_Wales
I'm not keen on using the historical counties - who uses Radnorshire nowadays? - but https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preserved_counties_of_Wales may be an alternative.
Hmm reading the article it appears that those are analogous with the Scottish "regions" that were in use 1974-1996, ie: abolished 20 years ago.
Reading the preserved counties it does look they may be equivalent to the cermonial counties of england - the boundaries are still being maintained/updated ("The Assembly accepted these proposals such that from 2 April 2003 each preserved county now encompasses between one and five whole local government areas. The boundary between Mid Glamorgan and Powys was further modified on 1 April 2010 to reflect the 2009 local government boundary changes in the Vaynor area.") it also looks like it is easy to generate the polygons for them by merging together the corresponding administrative regions which make up each of them. I agree getting some input from the welsh would be a good plan though..
If the Welsh users would like the preserved counties of Wales as their counties. I've already created the polygons for that and its just a matter of passing them to ganja1447.
I put up a vote on the Facebook Geocahing UK group and overwhelmingly the support was for the Welsh modern administrative counties the same as Scotland. So it seems it's just the English that hanker for the past, although I suspect we all knew that was the case anyway ;) ;)
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