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Improving Mindat.orgWhat happened to Palatinate?

6th Nov 2018 08:30 GMTHartmut Hensel

I just noticed that "Palatinate" ( a subregion of Rhineland-Palatinate ( has moved in the hierarchy below "Ahrweiler" which is complete nonsense. Ahrweiler is a town in Eifel region and has nothing to do with Palatinate.

In addition Palatinate lost several important localities like Obermoschel (Moschellandsberg) which is now assigned to a new region "Donnersberg".

Who made these changes and why? Palatinate as it is now is wrong and useless.



6th Nov 2018 15:16 GMTUwe Kolitsch Manager

1) Palatinate: The log file doesn't show any manual changes. Probably this was the result of some automatic change (and a warning that such automatisms should be done very careafully).

Fixed now.

2) Obermoschel: again no manual changes visible.

However, Alsenz-Obermoschel was changed by Jolyon:

15/Oct/18 13:26 Update by Jolyon & Katya Ralph (

Changed name from 'Alsenz-Obermoschel, Palatinate, Ahrweiler, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany' to 'Alsenz-Obermoschel, Donnersberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany'

Maybe on the basis of`?

"Alsenz-Obermoschel is a Verbandsgemeinde ("collective municipality") in the Donnersbergkreis, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany."

However, referring to Donnersbergkreis: The district is located around the highest mountain [Donnersberg] of the Palatinate, the Donnersberg with 687 m above sea level.

What's your opinion?

6th Nov 2018 18:54 GMTHartmut Hensel

Thank you Uwe for clarification and for fixing the Palatinate page.

Regarding the "Donnersbergkreis": I am not sure how to handle this. I think years ago Peter Haas started with Palatinate based on the "Verbandsgemeinde" level. That's why we have for instance Alsenz-Obermoschel in the hierarchy.

I do not know why this was chosen, but personally I am not happy with. A more "natural" approach from my point of view would be to choose the "Kreise" as base level which are wellknown by the assigned car plates. But this has not been done and if we start with a mixture of "Verbandsgemeinden" and "Kreise" this might end up with a mess. And we would have to move many more localities into the Donnersbergkreis as this is rich in mineral localities (Rockenhausen, Stahlberg, Imsbach ...) which have not been touched by Jolyon.

So I would prefer to bring it back into the old system as it was before Jolyon touched it.




Following localities are now below Rhineland-Palatinate and not assigned to Palatinate anymore:

Bad Dürkheim -

Donnersberg (as discussed above) -

Kaiserslautern -

Kusel -

Südliche Weinstrasse -

Zweibrücken -

hope I found everything...

Looks like this has been done by intention.

7th Nov 2018 00:53 GMTJolyon Ralph Founder

Palatinate doesn't really fit into the hierarchy at the same level as the districts of Rhineland-Palatinate, so it probably belongs as a non-hierarchical locality and everything that was in Palatinate should now be in the correct sub district of Rhineland-Palatinate instead.

Searching for Palatinate will also match Rhineland-Palatinate, so there is not a big issue on this in terms of search. The non-hierarchical region for Palatinate will also provide a correct page containing all Palatinate localities.

But we do not need Palatinate, Rhineland-Palatinate together in locality names, this is overkill.


ps. I don't know why Palatinate was moved into the wrong place in the hierarchy, this was probably by error.

7th Nov 2018 08:30 GMTHartmut Hensel

I am not sure if I agree with you, Jolyon. Palatinate is a politically motivated region that goes back until around 1800 and formally ended 1946. Still today Palatinate has specific administration units ("Bezirksverband Pfalz"). This is in contrast to geographical regions like Hunsrück ( or the Alps.

The motivation to introduce Palatinate as a subregion was motivated by the fact that many local collectors (including me) are focusing on Palatinate and therefore it is of high interest to get a quick overview over Palatinate-only localities in mindat. If this is possible without having it as a subregion, that would also be fine of course. But how does that work? I.e. who decides what belongs to Palatinate and what not? When I check the example of Hunsrück then I see a lot of localities that definitely do not belong to this region. For instance Obermoschel is listed under Hunsrück, but this is definitely wrong.

In addition we should make a decision whether to work with "Kreise" like "Donnersberg" or "Südliche Weinstraße" or with "Verbandsgemeinde" like "Alsenz-Obermoschel". A mix of both doesn' make sense in my opinion. And still "Donnersberg" is not complete, as I said above.


7th Nov 2018 11:44 GMTDavid Von Bargen Manager

Non-hierarchical regions need to have a boundary to work properly. You need to be able to find some place where they have created a file that has the boundary (fairly easy to import into mindat) to drawing the boundary yourself in a mapping program (this could be done either in the open street map website or there are map programs that allow you to create custom maps - these options do take a bit more work). If the region consists of a number of current political entities, there is a program for Open Street map that will combine these into one file and eliminate internal boundaries).

Mindat is moving to putting everything into the current political boundaries (with a few exceptions) and having old political boundaries and geological areas put into the non-hierarchical locations. To make this work, we do need to be able to have the boundaries of these other types of localities.

If you want to do this boundary mapping yourself, I do have instructions on how to do this available, or if it is a short list of political entities included in the area, if you list them (see - and if you use the checkboxes, you can see how the final boundary will look), I can pull together the boundary.

7th Nov 2018 12:43 GMTRoger Lang Manager

Just another correction: the district (Kreis or Landkreis) is called "Donnersbergkreis" not "Donnersberg". The Donnersberg would be a locality in the Donnersbergkreis.



7th Nov 2018 12:49 GMTRoger Lang Manager

If we would be consequently going by political hierarchy levels it should be for GER:

Bundesland (federal state)

Landkreis (district)

Verbandsgemeinde (association community or just community)

Gemeinde (community)

Locality like a mine, a mountain etc etc ...

7th Nov 2018 13:30 GMTJolyon Ralph Founder

Roger, that hierarchy is pretty much what we are aiming for now.

7th Nov 2018 13:49 GMTThomas Lühr Expert

Just as a sidenote

From time to time the German politicans get infected by a virus that causes a mania to change the boundaries and is called "Gebietsreform"

LOL (missing the eye-rolling smilie)

7th Nov 2018 14:00 GMTRoger Lang Manager

Thomas Lühr Wrote:


> Just as a sidenote

> From time to time the German politicans get

> infected by a virus that causes a mania to change

> the boundaries and is called "Gebietsreform"

> LOL (missing the eye-rolling smilie)

Fullack ;-)

7th Nov 2018 14:05 GMTJolyon Ralph Founder

David. Palatinate is somewhat a special case because it does map exactly to a subset of the districts of Rhineland-Palatinate state


As you can see, it can itself also be subdivided into other regions. But this is when things get silly and we really do need to ask what regions are necessary in our hierarchy.

Now, my understanding is Palatinate is a historic region and not a significant current political region. Why does this matter? Because we need to be better at ensuring our localities match other data sources beyond the mineral world - both in terms of information and mapping services (eg google maps, openstreetmap, wikipedia) and other scientific databases.

We have used certain locality names for convenience for a long time, and collectors like to use certain regional names because "that's how it's always been done". I was told recently that the NEW labels for displays of minerals at the National Museums Scotland use the political boundaries of the 1950s because that's how they've always done it.

This is not how we intend to do it!

SO, back to Palatinate - It looks relatively easy to create a polygon for the area based on the map displayed above. It can also be done more accurately by combining the different boundaries for the districts contained and merging them into a single region. I can't do this right now because I'm away until next week. But it is certainly possible to do simply.

I'm still working on the region. There are some things that are broken which I am trying to resolve!

7th Nov 2018 15:13 GMTHartmut Hensel

Jolyon, I completely agree with you. And as you say, a map of Palatinate should not cause any discussion as the boundaries are clearly defined.

I am looking forward to have everything arranged well soon. Please feel free to contact me in case there would be any questions that require knowledge of the local situation.

Regarding "Verbandsgemeinde": I think this is a administration level that is very specific for Rhineland-Palatinate and not known in other German states (Bundesländer). So it would not make sense to use it Germany wide. But maybe there are similar administration levels in other German states?

But as Thomas stated: The "Gebietsreformen" change things from time to time and especially the "Verbandsgemeinden" are affected. So one more reason not to use this level from my point of view.

7th Nov 2018 15:23 GMTRoger Lang Manager

The "Verbandsgemeinde" is not restricted to Rhineland-Palatinate. The same in Saxony-Anhalt

Lower Saxony has a similar level "Samtgemeinde" .

Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein equivalent level: Amt

etc for most others.

But i would agree with hartmut that we don´t really need this level.

Bundesland (federal state)

Landkreis (district)

Gemeinde (community)

Locality like a mine, a mountain etc etc ...

would be perfectly straight.

And if we talk about non-hierarchical regions: for Rhineland-Palatinate this would not only be Palatina but also Nordpfälzer Bergland, Hunsrück, Taunus, Westerwald, Siegerland (part of), Eifel etc.

7th Nov 2018 15:28 GMTDavid Von Bargen Manager

OK, it took about a half hour to clean everything up.

The Palatine is now a non-hierarchical locality -

The sublocalities that were below the Palatine have been moved up to the Rhineland-Palatinate.

If you can go in and combine localities, it is a whole lot easier to do, than trying to draw your own maps. It took about 10 minutes to put everything together. Drawing a map from scratch would probably take at least an hour to do.

7th Nov 2018 21:21 GMTDavid Von Bargen Manager

It might be wise to sort of not do anymore of these for awhile. There seems to be a bug in how the native languages are generated.

I went in and deleted the Palantine portion of the locality string, but the native language string generated still includes Pfalz.

For example see:

This may be caused by a problem in the fix all children function.

8th Nov 2018 12:51 GMTHartmut Hensel

Thank you David for fixing this!

Looks like before now (apart from the fact that Donnersbergkreis is still incomplete and "Kreise" are only partially used).



14th Nov 2018 16:33 GMTJolyon Ralph Founder

I spent some time cleaning up Rhineland-Palatinate - hopefully it's in a better state now, but let me know if there are any issues.

19th Nov 2018 13:05 GMTHartmut Hensel

I am not sure what has been changed in the meantime. I mostly checked Palatinate and not whole Rhineland-Palatinate. But I still observe the same issues:

- There is a mixture of "Kreise" (like e.g. Südliche Weinstrasse - and "Verbandsgemeinden" (e.g. Deidesheim - on the same hierarchical level. I would prefer to have either one or the other as explained above. At least it should not be mixed up on the same level.

- Donnersberg ( should be renamed "Donnersbergkreis"(see also Roger Lang's post above) and it misses important sublocalities (Verbandsgemeinden): Kirchheimbolanden, Rockenhausen and Winnweiler which are listed separately on the same hierarchical level as Donnersbergkreis. Currently Donnersbergkreis only contains one Verbandsgemeinde: Alsenz-Obermoschel.

19th Nov 2018 13:07 GMTHartmut Hensel

An overview of Kreise and Verbandsgemeinden in Rhineland-Palatinate is given here:

It should be readable even without German knowledge.

19th Nov 2018 23:19 GMTJolyon Ralph Founder

I think the top-level subdivisions of Rhineland-Palatinate are better now.

There are still some of the Verbandsgemeinden missing, and some Ortsgemeinden are at the wrong level. In some cases where both the Ortsgemeinden and the Verbandsgemeinden have the same name, the region boundaries for the Ortsgemeinden are shown at the Verbandsgemeinden level. We will go through these slowly and fix them, but if you see any problems please let me know!

20th Nov 2018 08:10 GMTHartmut Hensel

I checked Rhineland-Palatinate top-level and this looks very well now. Only when I select Palatinate as non-hierarchical locality then it looks different (Donnersbergkreis is still incomplete, for instance). Maybe this is a caching problem?

Back to Rhineland-Palatinate: I observed only one error. Kreis Südwestpfalz (loc-305573) should get an additional Verbandsgemeinde "Thaleischweiler-Wallhalben" and "Krähenberg" (loc-278898) should be moved there as a sublocality. Zweibrücken (loc-290296) is then without any sublocality, but I could enter a historic one later which is currently not in mindat.
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