Country borders of Norway and France

Recently I discovered some changes to the Norwegian border:

Here someone created a new relation for Norway, containing the previously existing relations for Norway and Svalbard, which is under Norwegian administration. He also changed the English name of the old Norway to “Norway - Continental” and moved the ISO3166-1 code to the new Norway relation. I encountered some problems with these nested relations and so my first thought was just to add all members of the old Norway and Svalbard relations to the new one, instead of using nested relations, so that Norway would have a proper boundary again.

However, after some research I figured out that this is not at all correct. In fact the ISO3166-1 code “no” applies only to continental Norway, while the islands Svalbard and Jay Mayen together have the ISO3166-1 code “sj” - and actually Jan Mayen is also under Norwegian administration, just as Svalbard, but has its own border relation.

Any ideas how to tag this correctly? I guess there should be one relation with ISO3166-1 code “no” for continental Norway and one with “sj” for Svalbard and Jan Mayen, since these are the territories to which these codes apply. But which one should be the border of Norway and how should it be tagged - the one with continental Norway or a new one including also Svalbard and Jan Mayen? What about further tagging (place=country, boundary=administrative, admin_level=2) - which of these relations should get which tags?

Actually the situation seems to be even more complicated for France and New Caledonia, which also has its own ISO3166-1 code “nc”, but is under French administration:

Also here any ideas or suggestions are highly appreciated.

I placed the discussion here since this is probably a matter of international interest.

After a bit of research and some discussion at the SotM Baltics this weekend I collected some ideas how to properly tag the borders of France any Norway.

First of all, the tagging of borders with ISO3166-1 should be clear, since ISO3166-1 is a standard and defines exactly to which areas the codes refer. Therefore each ISO3166-1 code should have a relation marking the border described by this code. In particular, this means:

  • NO - Norway (continental part)

  • SJ - Svalbard and Jan Mayen (Arctic territories of Norway)

  • FR - France (continental part + Clipperton Island)

  • BL - Saint Barthélemy (Saint-Barthélemy)

  • GF - French Guiana (Guyane française)

  • GP - Guadeloupe

  • MF - Saint Martin (Saint-Martin)

  • MQ - Martinique

  • NC - New Caledonia (Nouvelle-Calédonie)

  • PF - French Polynesia (Polynésie française)

  • PM - Saint Pierre and Miquelon (Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon)

  • RE - Réunion

  • TF - French Southern Territories (Terres australes françaises)

  • WF - Wallis and Futuna (Wallis-et-Futuna)

  • YT - Mayotte

It may seem strange why Clipperton Island is included in FR, but the other territories are not… But that’s how the standard defines it, and if we tag anything with ISO3166-1, than it should be the borders that ISO3166-1 actually refers to, and nothing else.

Now for the more complicated issues. If we tag these relations with boundary=administrative, we also need to assign an admin_level. What would be better? admin_level=2 for each of these relations? Or admin_level=3 for each relation and admin_level=2 for two more relations that contain all French / Norwegian territories? Finally, where should place=country go - to each of these relations or to two larger relations for Norway and France?

While writing this, I discovered that the situation is similar with AX - Åland Islands and FI - Finland…