OCDEP 3: Jurisdictions

Author:James Turk


Definition of the Open Civic Data Jurisdiction type.


A Jurisdiction represents a logical unit of governance.

Examples would include: the United States Federal Government, the Government of the District of Columbia, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, or the Wake County Public School System.

The following would not be considered Jurisdictions:

  • Bethesda, MD - Bethesda is a Census Designated Place and as such has no formal government.
  • North Carolina’s General Assembly - The General Assembly is part of the state government, and would be an Organization within North Carolina’s government.

Additionally, Open Civic Data Jurisdictions should not be confused with the concept of judicial jurisdiction, which is an altogether different issue that we do not attempt to address.

All entities within the Open Civic Data ecosystem are related (directly or indirectly) to a Jurisdiction, and so, along with Divisions (which Jurisdictions themselves depend upon), Jurisdictions can be viewed as one of the foundational pieces of Open Civic Data.


The Jurisdiction type has the following properties:


An ID in the format ocd-jurisdiction/country:<country_code>(/<type>:<type_id>)*/<classification> (where the first part of the ID is identical to the related Division.)

The following pattern should be used create a jurisdiction_id given a division_id and classification:

jurisdiction_id = (division_id.replace('ocd-division', 'ocd-jurisdiction') +
                    '/' + classification)
The common name of the Jurisdiction, such as ‘Wyoming’ or ‘Hope County School System’
The primary website of the Jurisdiction.

The type of jurisdiction being defined, current options are:

  • government - A combined government for a city, county, state, or country where the legislature and executive (and possibly judicial) branches form a cohesive whole that should be considered as one. (The United States is one such example.)
  • legislature - A legislature in a region in which there is no unified legislative-executive government. An example would be a Parliament in Westminster systems.
  • executive - An executive branch in a region in which there is no unified legislative-executive government. An example would be the cabinet in Westminster systems.
  • school - A school system that is independent from a city/county government.
  • park - An independent park district.
  • sewer - An independent sewer district.
  • forest - An independent forest preserve district.
  • transit_authority - An independent transit district or authority.
division, division_id
A link to an Open Civic Data division (or the object itself embedded within the Jurisdiction).

A list of sub-objects representing times when the jurisdiction’s legislature has met (if one exists).

An identifier that uniquely identifies the session within the context of the Jurisdiction. (e.g. 2009)
The canonical name of the session. (e.g. 2009 Regular Session)

The type of session, choices are:

  • primary - A regularly scheduled session.
  • special - Any session that is not regularly scheduled.
Start date of session in YYYY-MM-DD format (may be approximate by leaving off -MM-DD or -DD portion).
End date of session in YYYY-MM-DD format (may be approximate by leaving off -MM-DD or -DD portion).
A list of features that are present for data in this jurisdiction. The definition of these flags is currently left up to individual implementors.
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