Joined: 15/03/2016 20:10:00
England has some regions that were formerly called counties and have now been changed to something less important than a county, but still with a recognized government status. These are sometimes called "ceremonial counties" but Wikipedia lists "metropolitan counties" as the best name.
The metropolitan counties are Greater Manchester, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, West Midlands and West Yorkshire. The counties typically have populations of 1.2 to 2.8 million.
The county councils of these were abolished in 1986, but the counties themselves still exist legally. They are used for some administrative and geographic purposes, and are still ceremonial counties. Most of the powers that the former county councils had were devolved to their metropolitan boroughs, which are now in effect unitary authorities; however, some functions (such as emergency services, civil defence and public transport) are still run jointly on a metropolitan-county-wide basis.
I have been looking at the GeoNames record for West Midlands, one of the six metropolitan counties. The feature code has been changed multiple times: it has been A.ADM2, A.ADM2H, A.ADMD, and now it's demoted all the way to L.RGN.
Having thought about it, I believe no documented feature code is perfect for the "metropolitan counties" of England but the best match is: A.ADMD
This means an administrative area, "undifferentiated as to administrative level". IMHO this is the best fit for "metropolitan county" which I would describe as "a special sub-class of county that has only a few legal functions". "Historical" is incorrect as "metropolitan county" is a current designation. Metropolitan counties don't fit into the administrative levels ranking: they are not really equal to an A.ADM2 nor are they really superior to an A.ADM3; they are kind of their own thing. There is no special feature code for "metropolitan county" or "ceremonial county" and A.ADMD is the only nonspecific active county code.
IMHO it's regrettable to have two regions both called "West Midlands" and both tagged with the exact same feature code L.RGN. I propose that all six of the "metropolitan counties" should be tagged as A.ADMD.
I bring it up here for discussion rather than just going in and changing it. I hope there will be consensus and we can change it for the last time.