User and Contributor Manual
Localities that span political boundaries
Mindat.org works on a hierarchical locality system. In most cases this works very well. Take a locality such as:
Tsumeb Mine (Tsumcorp Mine), Tsumeb, Otjikoto Region (Oshikoto), Namibia
In this case, the mine is a child of the 'Tsumeb' page, which is a child of the 'Otjikoto Region' page, which is a child of the 'Namibia' page.
Photos and mineral entries added to the Tsumeb mine page will appear at every level going towards the right.
Photos and mineral entries added to (for example) the Otjikoto Region page would appear on that page, and the Namibia page (moving right), but not on the pages to the left of that entry (ie, Tsumeb mine and Tsumeb.)
It's pretty simple, and relies on each locality/region that you add onto the left side of this hierarchy is entirely contained within the region to the right.
The problem is that regions don't always stack nicely this way. Political boundaries don't often coincide with the geographical boundaries that we want to use.
Let's look at a great example, the Tri-state mining district of Kansas/Missouri/Oklahoma.
We end up with four different pages, because we can't put the region before the county or state level, or THOSE regions get split.
Tri-State District, Jasper Co., Missouri, USA
Tri-State District, Cherokee Co., Kansas, USA
Tri-State District, Ottawa Co., Oklahoma, USA
Tri-State District, Newton Co., Missouri, USA
The four pages don't give us any way of combining all the information into a single result page, and worse than that, if we have a specimen photo just labelled 'Tri-state district, USA', we have no way to know which of these four pages it should go onto.
Another example is The Rocky Mountains. If we want a page for the Rocky Mountains (and it's quite interesting to see what minerals are associated with an entire mountain range) we span not just counties and states, but entire countries too.
There are two different solutions to these problems, and you should choose whichever works best for your situation.
Where you have a small number of 'duplicate' pages (as in the tri-state example), we can now group 2 or more region pages into a single region page using the tool 'Placeholder for' on the edit page.
For larger regions you can create what we call a 'non-hierarchical locality'. This is a locality that fits outside of our normal hierarchy but can still be found by searches. Let's see how both of these work.
Using Placeholder to combine split region pages
Taking the example of 'tri-state' from above, you need to choose one of the regions to be the primary. It doesn't matter especially which one, but normally you'd choose the one which is the most significant for the district. Or, if that's not easy to decide just choose the first alphabetically.
Then, for each of the other region pages you wish to combine, edit the page and use the 'Placeholder for' box to enter and find the first page.
Select the correct parent (and remember, all three of our other pages should link to the first page.
Once this is done, refresh the first page and you'll see it now shows all four pages combined into one, with amalgamated photo lists, mineral lists and maps.
The last thing you may want to do is edit the primary page and add an override text for the locality which gives the generic combined name. Here's what we have done for this example
Note underneath it gives the list of other locality pages that are combined into this one. You can click on these links to edit these particular pages - which is mostly important if you want to split them again or if you want to take content from the description or references from that page to add back to the primary page.
Don't forget to change the description on the primary page to describe the entire region, not just the part of the region that the page originally covered!
Clearly this won't work for very large regions spanning major areas, for example the Rocky Mountains.
For this we've developed an alternative approach where you use a geoJSON format geospatial polygon to define your region and upload it as a non-hierarchical locality.
Does that sound complicated? Well, it is a little. So I've made a video to explain how to do it.