admin_level=* for Greece.

Dear friends,
I’m writing this lengthy post concerning the admin_level hierarchy in Greece because I strongly believe it needs an update to reflect the current state.
Sorry for writing in English as it was a request from user Amaroussi ( and also for the bad use of English language.

Without telling you the whole story, it seems that after doing some edits to fit “Αποκεντρωμένη διοίκηση xxx” in admin_level=3 there was a conflict with “Mount Athos” which is in the same admin_level. Also it seems that there are new levels documented in the wiki concerning only the area of Athens. And in the end the names of each level don’t reflect the current situation.

It seems that Amaroussi in his page already has a suggestion.

Just to make things clear about my problem I will list what I found in lists and also in wikipedia:

  1. Greece
  2. Βόρεια Ελλάδα (, Κεντρική Ελλάδα, Αττική, Νησιά Αιγαίου - Κρήτη.
    3, Αποκεντρωμένη διοίκηση.
  3. Πειφέρεια
  4. Περιφερειακή Ενότητα
  5. Δήμος
  6. Δημοτική Ενότητα
  7. Τοπική / Δημοτική Κοινότητα
  8. Άλλα

Can we have a discussion on the above list?
Which of the above are part of the hierarchy and which are not?
When we decide about the list can we give consecutive numbers based on the OSM schema (start with Greece in admin_level=2)?
And in the end can we use the current names of these levels? old_name=* can be used as a reference in some areas.

Also we have to consider Mount Athos as there is a thin line there.
We can’t give it admin_level=2 because we mess with global OSM data but also with admin_level=3 we mess with Greece’s data.
You know Mount Athos can have its own administrative hierarchy and that will mess with the admin_level=* in Greece.

Let me paste here some of my previous responses to Amaroussi:

“As it concerns Mount Athos, do you thing it should have his own admin_level? Will this represent reality better or leaving the place without admin_level would me more accurate. Or maybe use admin_level=2 as it will be surrounded by Greece’s admin_level=2 boundary? Do we have any other similar cases in the world, like lets say Vatican? Can we find any other examples of same administration? As I wrote you before it seems that in the official administrative levels of Greece there is no reference for Mount Athos at all.”

"Well, my only concern is that by giving any admin_level, other than 2, to Mount Athos then automatically becomes part of Greece’s administrative hierarchy, something that it’s not true (I think). In reality it’s part of Greece’s territory but Greek government has no saying on Mount Athos matters. They have some sort of their own government and maybe they have their own admin_levels inside their territory.

So as a first thought I think that admin_level=2 might be more appropriate but it’s a thin line there.

If we export data for admin_level=2 globally then it shows up as a country. If we export admin_level=3 in Greece then it shows up as part of Greece’s administrative hierarchy. And what if we put admin_level=4 inside Mount Athos to represent the land that each monastery owns ? If we export admin_level=4 for example from Greece won’t these areas mess up the exported data?

Maybe I have a problem understanding what administrative means but i think that it has to do with how we split our country in areas to organize things better. And Greek governments have a saying on Greece’s territory except from Mount Athos. That’s why in official lists and documents you don’t see any reference for Mount Athos.

I know that they are part of Greece, they are bound strongly to Greek matters, but here we are talking about categorization and how data are represented."

So, can we clarify somehow all the above.?

  1. Create a list with official administrative levels (e.g. no postal codes)
  2. Use consecutive numbers
  3. Use current official names
  4. Update the wiki.

And in the end, please don’t reply with post like “It’s too much work” or “things will change again” as the reason why not is easily explained (I think).
Please make proposals based on reality and on the OSM scheme.

I know I put a lot on the table but I won’t be available for a while, at least I won’t follow closely this forum, and I want to give a good starting point for a discussion.

Your thoughts ladies and gentlemen…

I would like to double check if Former Municipalities (Πρώην δήμου) is still in use because when the 2011 plan came in, before I joined OSM, I was aware that there was some transitional plan. If Πρώην δήμου isn’t in use any more then the admin_level=8 can be Municipal Units (Δημοτικές Ενότητες) and so forth.

One of the reasons I object to using admin_level=3 outside Mount Athos is due to its widespread usage for international disputes (the nearest example to Greece being Cyprus) and exceptionally autonomous territories and intercontinental divisions (the latter refers to how Metropolitan France is made distinct from overseas Departments). I think that the incoming Decentralized Administrations (Αποκεντρωμένες Διοικήσεις) are similar to Spain’s Autonomous communities, hence my recommendation for admin_level=4.

From what I’ve found, and as stated in the users page, the names in my list are the ones that are part of the current administrative hierarchy of Greece.
No.2 are members of place=* and just put them there just in case.
Also someone should clarify No.3 as wikipedia notes that it’s not a real administrative level but I’m not sure about that.

As it concerns Mount Athos we can tag it as level 3 alone but at least we have to leave clear information about it on the relevant wiki pages. At least a wikipedia link and a description.
(I’m holding my breath here because maybe the word administrative means something different to me but I thing we should move on with that)

As for the first admin_level in Greece in my opinion it should be the first available admin_level (No.4) regardless from the widespread use of that or any other level.
Each country has a hierarchy and tries to better fit that in the first 10-11 admin. levels.
Nowhere is mentioned that a specific admin_level has a meaning (except from level 2) and trying to coordinate the whole thing globally will be a disaster.
Where do we find a relevance between two levels of two countries? Is it based on the names, the translations of the names or the similarities are real? And what similar means?
And we try to coordinate our levels with whom? And if a country has one more admin_level between the ones that are coordinated what happens?
(Also we could start with level 3 and leave notes about the usage and meaning of level 3 Mount Athos that could possibly trigger a separate admin_level hierarchy on its own)

Consecutive numbers will give a clear picture of what is before and what is after. I really don’t get the idea of leaving out, lets say, admin_level=5.
Even official documents have consecutive numbers in the hierarchy based on the current status. Before the latest change in the hierarchy and the naming of Greece’s admin.levels it was also the same. Consecutive numbers with different names. No one leaves out a level waiting for something to fit in there in the future.
And if anything changes in the future our obligation is to change everything again to represent these changes.

That’s why I’m asking again with this post to clarify the list and give consecutive numbers and create clear guidelines in the Greek users and in the admin_level wiki pages.
No differences anywhere and no references to discussions in the front pages (only links).

After some research it seems that Mount Athos is officially categorized in 4. Περιφερειακή Ενότητα level.
So do you think that the list can be something like

  1. admin_level 2 Ελλάδα – Greece
    2, admin_level 3 Αποκεντρωμένη διοίκηση – Decentralized administration
  2. admin_level 4 Περιφέρεια + Άθως – Peripherie + Mount Athos
  3. admin_level 5 Περιφερειακή Ενότητα – Regional unit
  4. admin_level 6 Δήμος – Municipality
  5. admin_level 7 Δημοτική Ενότητα – Municipal unit
  6. admin_level 8 Τοπική / Δημοτική Κοινότητα – Local / Municipal community
  7. admin_level 9 Άλλα – Others

I think we need a lot more opinions from others on this matter too, before I can make an full final informed decision.

I see that the front page of the Greek forum has changed to the better, in my opinion.

I like that the admin_level hierarchy is now clear and with all the references in place.

My only concern is only about Mount Athos because the top level administration level messes things up (and it’s not real).
At least ELSTAT 2011 documents give Mount Athos the same admin_level with the Peripheries.

Are there any official documents that prove what’s the official admin_level of Mount Athos?

EDIT: And also i think the translations are wrong (in the front page).

For example
EN: East Macedonia and Thrace
EL: Περιφέρεια Ανατολικής Μακεδονίας και Θράκης

why don’t we translate the word “Περιφέρεια” in the english text?
It is a definition that describes what the name is refered to, after all.
From what i’ve seen this is also passed to the map data and in my opinion is wrong.

And just to make my self clear, Crete refers to the island but Peripherie of Crete may include the island around Crete and also marine borders.
We have to write the official admil_level name and not the geographical one.
I don’t know if this happens because of the english references in the wikipedia pages but i still think it’s wrong.

EDIT 02: Why are the name:el keys (and who knows what else) deleted from the map?

The Autonomous State of the Holy Mountain is an autonomous polity within Greece…it has a civil governor appointed by the Greek government
it doesnt have a NUTS code, ISO considers it a self-governed part but in a prefecture level

the thing is you need special papers to get there, so it cant be in the same level with other administrations or regions
i think the best solution is to have its own admin_level 3

2:National Borders
3:Autonomous region
4:Decentralized administration
5:Region (NUTS 2)
6:Regional units (NUTS 3)
7:Municipalities (LAU 1)
8:Municipal units (LAU 2) -Kapodistrias municipalities

i fixed most name:el problems and added the word region in region names

i also thought about NUTS 1 (Attiki, North Greece, Central Greece, Aegean and Crete) but has no administrative importance

I think everything is in order now…

shure? from my point of view it is still a very big and buggy patchwork where nothing, really nothing fits.

see wikipedia:


Shure…If you explain what you mean with “…nothing, really nothing fits.”.

The site has all the lists and all the details for everyone to follow, even to argue for.
That was not the case before.
Also it seems that nobody argues with the new list.
And from what i understand it’s still a work in progress.

So what’s your point? Do you have a specific problem to address or you don’t like it in general?
Do you have a specific proposal about something?

this was about the new admin level hierarchy

it definitely needs work, and the problem is we are few and this time of year most people has exams etc

i was trying to find an easier way of doing this (like downloading all level 6 boundaries in josm and apply new level)

if you guys know about this pls share

the big problem is the islands situation where large prefectures became many regional units

I write in this old post because it’s the same topic and also for the clarity of the discussion.

I believe that the names of the various admin. levels should change in the wiki page because they don’t follow the official translations and it’s misleading information for the new users.

The correct case is Municipality of xxx, Prefecture of xxx, Decentralised Administration of xxx e.t.c.

Some examples

A research will show you that there are many more examples of this case and none(?) of the other.

Long names should be in the “official_name” tag. e.g. “official_name:en=Decentralized Administration of Attica” and “name:en=Attica”. See