Hello there,

I am currently evaluating various sets of administrative boundaries to determine best fit for a project. I have explored the OSM site and have not been able to locate a clear outline of the OSM administrative boundary data dimensionality. Specifically, I am looking to learn:

  • What is the temporal coverage of the OSM admin boundary data? (e.g. 2000-2010)
  • How often have admin boundaries been updated for the time period covered? (e.g. 2000-2010 coverage with annual releases)
  • What is the globally shared administrative unit level granularity? (e.g. admin 1)
  • Does OSM involve country governments to verify boundaries?

Thank you for your help!

asked 30 Apr '19, 22:00

erstearns's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


OSM is a volunteer-based decentralized platform covering the whole world, so there can be a lot of differences between locations when it comes to the sources, freshness, update pattern or completeness. It's people trying to depict reality, not governments controlling the data.

Global country level is 2 (although level 1 is also used somewhere, according to database stats - https://taginfo.openstreetmap.org/keys/admin_level#values ), you can see these data here:


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answered 01 May '19, 00:18

kocio's gravatar image

accept rate: 20%

OSM does not store historical data (former administrative boundaries) so we have no data which is guaranteed to pertain to your timerange. On the contrary, we take pride in updating administrative boundaries (for instance commune mergers in France and Switzerland) as soon as they become active. Also as @kocio says there will be significant variation between regions in the range of coverage of boundary data.

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answered 01 May '19, 15:58

SK53's gravatar image

SK53 ♦
accept rate: 22%

Thank you both, @kocio and @SK53 for that information.

(14 May '19, 00:48) erstearns
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question asked: 30 Apr '19, 22:00

question was seen: 1,174 times

last updated: 14 May '19, 00:48

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