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Is there a rule (or a hint) as to how I can recognize (political) boundaries. Is It country dependant? I am particularly interested in Swiss community boundaries. For example, the relation 1682248 has the the tags boundary=administrative, name=Zürich, place=city,swisstopo:OBJEKTART=Gemeindegebiet and type=boundary associated with it.

Is it safe to assume that I can query for boundary=administrative and name=$VILLAGENAME in order to find the nessesary ways for the boundaries.

Also, can I take it as a given that such a boundary is always a relation?

asked 20 Feb '12, 16:48

Ren%C3%A9%20Nyffenegger's gravatar image

René Nyffene...
accept rate: 0%

There is no way to guarantee that no one have edited the data so that it does not work. According to the wiki you can assume that this is the case. But be aware that errors might occur.

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answered 21 Feb '12, 22:28

Gnonthgol's gravatar image

Gnonthgol ♦
accept rate: 16%

To test this, you can try one way:

  • Download raw OSM data for the country or region you are interested in (via or
  • Do a filtering process for example via osmfilter and keep anything with boundary=administrative
  • choose a way to display the filtered data, for example via MapCSS in JOSM
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answered 21 Feb '12, 16:13

stephan75's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%

Yes, that's right. But can I rely on boundary=administrative to return only and all political boundaries?

(21 Feb '12, 18:48) René Nyffene...

The data on administrative boundaries is quite up to date and originates from an concerted import effort of the Swiss osm community, which is documented as follows: - -

To my knowledge the boundaries for cantons and communities should be quite complete, a couple of cantons also have the districts (Bezirke) but for other I wouldn't know. A word about completeness: The boundary-import from Swisstopo was done in a systematic way and the complete data was available. However and as always in osm - check the data, live with its errors and/or fix them yourself.

I briefly checked via overpass-api the boundary=administrative relations and there are 3329 in Switzerland, so it shouldn't look too bad.

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answered 22 Feb '12, 12:52

FischersFritz's gravatar image

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question asked: 20 Feb '12, 16:48

question was seen: 3,709 times

last updated: 22 Feb '12, 12:52

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum