"Addressing administrative units in international tsunami early warning systems: shortcomings in international geocode standards", International Journal of Digital Earth, Taylor & Francis
Administrative units reflect the territorial hierarchies established within all countries of the world. The units are addressable with geocodes that provide a bijective mapping between territories and unique identification codes. Early warning systems for natural or man-made hazards often map affected or threatened areas to administrative units to establish a spatial reference that is comprehensible to all parts of the population. Addressing these territories in an international context has several requirements, such as worldwide coverage, completeness and topicality, which must be met by geocode standards. In this paper, the practicability and suitability of international geocode standards are examined in the context of the requirements of large-scale early warning systems. This paper exposes the insufficiencies and limitations of existing geocode standards International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-3166, Second Administrative Level Boundaries data set project (SALB) and Nomenclature of the Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) and emphasises the suitability of the non-official hierarchical administrative subdivision codes (HASC). The analysis is framed in the context of addressing affected areas for an Indian Ocean tsunami early warning system. This system was developed within the Distant Early Warning Systems project according to the requirements of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission for Regional Tsunami Watch Providers (RTWPs).