Supplying names for timezones in the data files

Paul Eggert eggert at
Thu Jul 18 05:48:46 UTC 1996

   Date: Wed, 17 Jul 1996 16:27:02 -0400
   From: Garrett Wollman <wollman at>

   # ZONE-DESCR America New_York United_States Eastern time

Good idea, but how about a format like this instead?

   America/New_York	+404251-0740023	US	US Eastern time

where the columns are:

 * zone name in tz database
 * latitude and longitude (in ISO 6709 format) of the zone's main location
 * country code (in ISO 3166 2-letter format)
 * an (English) comment describing the zone

The latitude and longitude should make it easier to build a graphical
display with a dot for each city.  The 2-letter code will help you get
around the problem of Greenland, Virgin Islands, etc., since these
territories all have their own country code.

   ... so I don't have to scratch my head and ask myself, ``OK, so
   which territory is Pangnirtung in?'' and similar questions.

I think that the 1200 or so people on Baffin Island for whom
America/Pangnirtung are appropriate know exactly where it is (:-).
But clearly a graphical display will help here too.

   Unfortunately, this does get into some sticky political situations.

Very much so.  So far the tz database has escaped the politics that
engulfed Windows 95's time zone map (I've heard they've removed the
map in recent patch releases).  I think we'll be OK as long as the
comment describing the area is chosen tactfully enough.

How about if I prepare two files, one called `zones' with the above
format, and one called `iso3166' that looks like this:

	AD	Andorra
	AE	United Arab Emirates
	AF	Afghanistan

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