I am trying to get shape files for all of the worlds admin levels, but also their localities. If you are familiar with the Google Places API, you will notice that they have Country, Admin level 1, Admin level 2... all the way to 5, and them some other place types that I presume they define.

Cities are considered localities by Google Places, but according to this list, cities could be an Admin level 3.

I have dowloaded the gadm.org shape files split into 6 layers and imported into PostgreSQL/PostGIS, and now I am viewing with QGIS.

The problem is, there are NO United States cities. Why is this? Is there a reliable place I can go to get GIS data for cities? I have checked out census.gov and I see incorporated places data, which seems to include cities, but the borders for Austin (as an example) look different than what Google considers "Austin".

  • 2
    There are as many answers are there are states, and cities. In Virginia, a city is a level 2 administrative unit (equal to counties). New York City encompasses five counties, and the economic sphere affects dozens (in multiple states). It's complicated. – Vince Nov 10 '16 at 0:00
  • Your question may be more on-topic for the Open Data Stack Exchange. – PolyGeo Nov 10 '16 at 0:23
  • @Vince apologies. Let me refine my question – tylerism Nov 10 '16 at 1:56

Administrative Boundaries are not necessary simple as noted by the comment by Vince. An Administration Level 3 is simply the third largest demarcation under whatever demarcation criteria has been determined by the governing body.

So, it could be a city, or not. It all depends on how the governing bodies decide to slice up the area for governance, which means cities can appear at various administrative boundary levels and the administrative boundaries don't have to conform to city limits.

You could try getting city data from Open Street Maps or Natural Earth

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.