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International Time Zones and Time Zone Data

International Time Zones

GIS and Time have more in common than you might think. Did you know that a Canadian Land surveyor, Sir Sanford Flemming, contributed to the early adoption of the present system of time zones and is now also know as “Father of Standard Time”. Flemming lived in Halifax (my birthplace!) in the 1880’s and was engineer-in-chief for construction of the intercolonial railway between the Maritimes and Quebec. Flemming is also honored with an educational institution named for him, Sir Sanford Flemming College, which boasts one of the finest GIS programs in Canada. For more details on Sir Sanford Flemming consult this Paper - Go There

YEAR 2000 Arrival Times
Here's some information that we derived from From their data, we've produced a list of World locations which are ordered by "year-2000-arrival-time". The columns show the country/territory, the city/location, the arrival time, and its difference in time to Jan 01, 00:00 hours.

First countries to celebrate New Year

  • Kingdom of Tonga (DST, GMT+14)
  • Kiribati, Christmas Isl.(GMT+14)
  • Chatham Island (New Zealand), DST, GMT+13h45m)
  • Fiji (Suva)(DST, GMT+13)
  • New Zealand (DST, GMT+13)
  • Kiribati, Canton & Enderbury Isl.(GMT+13)
  • Russian Far East(Chukotka,
  • Anadyr, Uelen, Provideniya)(GMT+12)
  • Russian Far East(Kamchatka region,
  • Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky)(GMT+12)
  • Kiribati(GMT+12)
  • Marshall Islands(GMT+12)
  • Nauru(GMT+12)
  • Tuvalu(GMT+12)
  • Last countries to celebrate New Year
  • American Samoa(GMT-11)
  • Western Samoa(GMT-11)
  • Midway Islands(GMT-11)
  • Niue(NZ)(GMT-11)
  • Paper on International Time Zones
    F. Pollastri has authored this interesting article which delves into the more technical aspects of International time zones. The article is brief and to the point. Interestingly, he points out that the time zones division was officially adopted on 1884 November 1 at the International Meridian Conference held in Washington D.C. Full Article can be found Here

    The tz database
    The public-domain time zone database contains code and data that represent the history of local time for many representative locations around the globe. It is updated periodically to reflect changes made by political bodies to UTC offsets and daylight-saving rules. This database (often called tz or zoneinfo) is used by several implementations, including BSD, DJGPP, GNU/Linux, HP-UX, IRIX, Solaris, and UnixWare.Details Here

    How about a trip down the Greenwich Meridian?
    Find out why Greenwich is home to the Prime Meridian, take a virtual tour along the meridian, and order a first day cover stamp post marked January 1, 2000 from Greenwich England. Take the tour Here

    Canadian time Zones
    Article It's about TIME takes an interesting look at the six Canadian time Zones. By H. David Matthews and Mary Vincent. View the Article Here


    Time zones from DMTI Spatial Inc. - DMTI provides free demo download of Canadian Time Zone data, available in SHP, E00, or MapInfo MIF format. Download registration is required.

    Europa Technologies Map Elements - Time Zones
    Extracted from the Global Insight and Global Insight Plus data sets. Complete mapping at 1:1,000,000 scale of the worlds time zones in the context of an up-to-date political map. Includes offsets from Universal Time (UTC) and letter designation. Supplement layers include the International Date Line and a number of useful grids and bands.

    Sample Image

    Standard Time Zones of the US
    Time Zone Boundaries for Use with MapInfo Professional.IntraSearch has created a standard time zone boundary data set of the US. The attribute data includes time zone name and a logical statement indicating participation in daylight savings time. The source of the data is the US Department of Transportation, Office of the Assistant General Counsel, Regulation and Enforcement (49 CFR Subtitle A, Part 71). The vintage is April, 1984 (the latest vintage available). The standard time zones are official federal boundaries and may not reflect local participation in daylight savings time. This data set is available for $95.00. contact: - US Time Zones
    Stopwatchmaps has developed a detailed comercial dataset which can be ordered from thier website. They offer the following description. Time Zones, and their boundary lines, are established by Federal statute. While most of the time zone division lines fall on county boundaries, a number do not... the exceptions fall along township and section boundaries as defined by the Public Land Survey System. It is also true that the beginning and ending dates for the observance of Daylight Savings Time are standardly established by statute... but certain states and certain counties decline to observe Daylight Savings Time. This mapped table records each county of the U.S. and, where a county is split by a time zone boundary, each part of that county separately. For each of these, the table records the Time Zone and whether Daylight Savings Time is observed. Note, you can also download a free demo dataset prior to ordering.

    World Time Zones Data Set from ESRI
    The World Time Zones data set shows 35 different time zones around the world and gives a zone's difference in hours from Greenwich Mean Time. The scale of the data is approximately 1:3 million. The World Time Zones and World Countries data sets are in ArcView shapefile format. (The World Time Zones data set is available in ArcInfo covergage format.) Both data sets are in geographic coordinates (latitude-longitude) and are compatible with ESRI software in UNIX, PC and Macintosh environments after extraction from the Windows 95 / NT self-extracting executable. Data can be purchased for $19.95

    Free Time Zones of the United States from USGS - This data set portrays the seven time zones for the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Information on Greenwich Mean Time offset and areas in the U.S. where daylight savings time is observed is also included. To Download Free SHP File Click Here (2 MB).


    Standard World Time Zone Map

    Time Zone Maps from the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection -The University of Texas at Austin
    1998 World Time Zones
    1995 World Time Zones

    Millennium World Time Zone System (24 hour clock) Millenium World Time Zone Map

    How about another world time zone map!


    Unofficial, non-authoritative information on world time zones. Time Service Dept., U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington, DC >> Go There

    View a map of World Time Zones with current local times >> Go There

    Find local times around the world Select a city and the local time is displayed >> Go There

    Happy New Year to all and Good Luck in the new millenium!
    From The GeoCommunity

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