[tz] Comments and mapping of tz zones to the real world

Steve Jones stevejones at OnTimeZone.com
Sun May 6 18:39:29 UTC 2012

At 02:55 5/6/2012, Tobias Conradi wrote:
>If a majority in a given country does not observe what the law 
>mandates, I would ask on the tz mailing list, whether the 
>information for that area should be changed.

Not sure if this adds to or distracts from the conversation, but when 
I set out to provide accurate time zone borders for North America and 
eventually realized any such effort needed the sort of caveat I 
include for <http://ontimezone.com/>http://ontimezone.com:
Ours is really just an "interpretation" of time zone data, because 
current time zone boundary data is elusive. And once you think you 
have nailed down the official "legislated" time zone, you learn about 
differences between that and the locally "observed" time zone...

Wherever locally "observed" time differs from official, the main 
borders in OnTimeZone.com follow the observed time - which is what a 
traveler is likely to actually encounter.
A problem with that is that unofficial "observed" differences 
typically follow vague "areas of influence" which defy precise 
definition. But we had to draw them somewhere. Usually these borders 
are in very lightly settled areas - and we took pains to draw them on 
the correct side of any area which may have businesses or services. 
That was our intent anyway - corrections appreciated!
Wherever these areas are in the US, the official border is also drawn 
in green, for reference purposes. No attempt was made to do this for 
other countries, because distinctions between official and unofficial 
blur a bit in the various political subdivisions within most 
countries. In the US all official time zone borders are well and 
clearly documented by a single source - the US Dept. of Transportation.
But be aware that within an area where observed practice differs from 
official, there are often internal exceptions such as Polling places, 
Post Offices or other federal offices, and sometimes law enforcement 
or various other levels of government -- who may observe official 
time even if the rest of the community does not.
Commonly bars or liquor stores in these areas observe official time. 
This can provide quite a competitive advantage for properly situated 
bars, when last-call sojourners migrate across an official time zone 
border to cadge one more hour of bliss.

Steve Jones

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