A thought on boundaries

The complex goal of describe all those borders for such an extended period requires a system that is easy to edit and simple enough to not discourage new mappers.
Right now some boundaries are roughly mapped and others and others follow modern detailed lines or natural boundaries such as rivers or lakes, sometimes the boundary lines are repeated several times and sometimes they overlap which makes fixing them increasingly difficult.

I believe it is important to decide how to map large areas in the future in order to make it easier to edit them and attract new interested mappers.

I don’t know how it could be done but looking at this project I had some ideas that maybe could be useful:
-Simplify the polygons used to represent countries, especially pre-modern ones
-Standardize tags for non-independent and vassal state, such as those part of an empire
-Reduce the number of territorial changes to one per year for pre-modern “countries”, without assigning the days and months in the start_date

@jeffmeyer and @vanessa_GIN have been grappling with empires, suzerains, vassals, and other premodern polities for a while; I wonder if they have any insights from that effort. The relationships between them are often nuanced enough to require explication outside of a map, making Wikidata perhaps an important companion for representing these features.

We’ve never expected the day and month to be provided if it isn’t known, but when it is documented, there’s a good case for us to acknowledge it. I assume users would expect us to attribute some territorial change to the Battle of Hastings on a specific date in 1066, or affect a name change in response to the ascent of the first Ming emperor on a specific date in 1368. Some polities lasted for less than a year, all but forcing us to provide sub-year granularity.

On the other hand, I would agree that individual troop movements don’t necessarily warrant territorial changes in the form of new boundary relations. Even though battlefield maps are an important subgenre of historical maps, I think we’d need to leave some breathing room for maps that focus on other aspects of society.

To me, this suggestion points to some other issues that might be more pressing. Many of our dates before the 19th century may be wrong because of confusion between the Julian calendar and the Gregorian calendar, which was adopted unevenly over the course of centuries. This issue has been a source of concern regarding Wikidata, despite its built-in functionality for distinguishing between calendars. OHM could actually be a part of the solution, since some of the current uncertainty around Gregorian calendar usage stems from a lack of access to historical boundary data. (In a similar fashion, mapping time zone boundaries could help resolve more recent events to a specific time of day.)

Many boundaries were mapped before we established a chronology relation type. Chronology relations will make these boundary relations much easier to navigate and increase our capacity to manage boundaries that are mapped precisely in both space and time.

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