Boundary-Line statement

Following a number of queries about our Boundary-Line OS OpenData product, please read our statement.

Boundary-Line is an OS OpenData product which we release under the terms of the Open Government Licence. Our production cycle for Boundary-Line sees us release updates in May and October each year.

The primary purpose of Boundary-Line is to show the current operative administrative and voting boundaries within Great Britain.  New boundaries are determined in accordance with Statutory Instruments and Community Governance Orders, which typically come into effect when elections are held (usually in May).  Our product update cycle for the May release aligns with the dates that the changes to electoral and administrative boundaries become operative.

To maintain and update Boundary-Line, we need to process data received at different times, from many third parties, in differing formats within the production cycle. If we released Boundary-Line data ahead of schedule, the data would not have the benefit of going through the production processes which are in place to ensure that the data is accurate and reflects all of the available changes to the boundaries that we receive from local authorities.

We appreciate that the boundary user community may benefit from the availability of forthcoming changes to boundaries, prior to their becoming operative and appearing in Boundary-Line.  As such, we are working to improve the complex processes in place for our Boundary-Line product.  In addition, for the last two years, we have also released future-dated boundaries as a polygon dataset, and we will do this again for this year’s upcoming elections.

The future-dated boundaries dataset is planned for release in week commencing 13 March under the Open Government Licence, to show future changes to the boundaries before they become operative in May.  Although this dataset will not have been through all of the significant work we undertake prior to publication in Boundary-Line (and as such it cannot be guaranteed that it will be a true representation of the actual operative boundaries), it is unlikely that the future dated boundaries dataset will be dramatically different from the boundaries represented in the updated Boundary-Line product in May.

Much of the data on which revised boundaries are based is created by local authorities and the relevant Local Government Boundary Commission.  These organisations are all members of one of our public sector mapping agreements.  Where such organisations have created boundaries data using OS licensed data, it is likely that they will be able to publish this under the Open Government Licence, in accordance with OS’ “Presumption to Publish” policy.  If any of these organisations are not clear as to whether they can do this, they should contact OS for further advice.

If you would like to find out more about new boundaries, please visit our website: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/business-and-government/products/boundary-line.html

The new dataset will be available via this page: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/business-and-government/help-and-support/products/boundary-line.html

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