I would like to use the data from Open Street Map to identify which county I am in, but I noticed something unusual with the Independent Cities of Virginia. Essentially, there are a few cities that are independent of counties, even if they are completely contained within a county. When I do a query (Via the Map Quest Geocoding API), it returns that I am in the surrounding county, and not the city. For instance, here is Augusta County, which contains two independent cities, Staunton and Waynesboro. I've seen this for a half dozen other independent cities, BTW.

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It's a bit tricky to see, but Staunton has a county boundary approximating the city boundaries. When I call Staunton, it correctly shows Staunton City as the county. When I look at Waynesboro, it stays it is in Augusta, not Waynesboro City. What I'm trying to do is to figure out how to make the appropriate correction. I can see a couple of possibilities, including:

  1. Somehow trace an interior boundary that matches the city of Waynesboro, and identify that county as Waynesboro City.
  2. Somehow make the existing Waynesboro think it's a county.

I'm not quite sure how either of those could be done, or which is the best, or even if there's a better solution all together. How can I make this correction?

1 Answer 1


When looking at Nominatim's internal representation for Waynesboro you can see that there is an administrative boundary for Waynesboro and also for Augusta county, both having the same admin_level. This might confuse Nominatim. One possibility might be to fix the relation for Augusta county by adding the relation for Waynesboro with the role inner. This excludes it from the relation (see multipolygons for further explanations). I cannot say if this will fix the problem.

The internal view of Staunton seems to be correct as far as I can see. The important difference between the Staunton relation and the Waynesboro relation seems to be the border_type. So I guess the correct solution is to fix the border_type for Waynesboros administrative border by setting it to the value county.

I strongly suggest to ask these kinds of questions on help.openstreetmap.org in order to reach a much greater part of the community.

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