Boundary-Line

From Euro constituencies to council wards, Boundary-Line™ maps every administrative boundary in detail for you. And what's more, it's completely free to download and use. Free download ›

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For academics or policy-makers, Boundary-Line brings the statistics in youur reports to life. It lets you show differences between regions or councils using easy-to-read shaded maps.

Monitoring outcomes by area is key for public bodies. Boundary-Line gives you a robust analytical framework to ensure the right communities get the right resources.

When you're consulting on updating boundaries to take account of population change, Boundary-Line lets you show on a map where the line's being drawn, right down to the level of individual properties.

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Tomorrow's world

Public bodies release a wealth of data via data.gov.uk, census results and other sources. By illustrating your analysis on maps created with Boundary-Line, you'll be able to highlight the social and economic trends shaping changes in how we live and work.

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A window into the past

As an addition to the core Boundary-Line product, which is updated twice a year, you can download data showing historical county boundaries from the late 19th Century. This is ideal for historians who need to analyse old census records and archives.

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Professional quality, free of charge

Mapped at a scale of 1:10 000, Boundary-Line is quality-assured to the same standard as our premium products. But since it's covered by the Open Government Licence, you can download it for free and use it in a wide range of ways.

Specifications

Key featuresWhat this product offers
Format

ESRI Shapefile and MapInfo TAB

Data structure

Vector

Attributes

Boundary-Line contains every type of administrative area for England, Scotland and Wales.

Scale

All boundaries are captured and maintained to a generalised scale of 1:10 000.

Update frequency

Twice a year – May and October

Supply

Online download and DVD

Coverage

Great Britain

See full documentation ›

FAQs

How is this data supplied and what do I need to use it?

Boundary-Line is available for download. You can also order it on DVD.

You'll need geographic information system (GIS) software to use the data.

Which classes, levels and types of boundaries are included in Boundary-Line?

Boundary-Line contains all the current (operative) administrative and electoral boundaries for Great Britain.

They consist of:

  • Civil parishes
  • Wards
  • Communities
  • Districts
  • Counties
  • Metropolitan districts
  • Unitary authorities
  • Parliamentary constituencies
  • Electoral divisions
  • London boroughs
  • Greater London authorities
  • Greater London authority assembly constituencies
  • European electoral regions
  • Welsh assembly constituencies
  • Welsh assembly electoral regions
  • Scottish parliamentary constituencies
  • Scottish parliamentary electoral regions

The product also contains mean high water mark (MHW), extent of realm (EOR) also census agency codes supplied by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), and the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS).

What's the difference between the boundaries contained in OS MasterMap Topography Layer and Boundary-Line?

Boundary-Line is a separate product from OS MasterMap Topography Layer. They are captured at different scales and from different production systems. Topography Layer currently holds the definitive and more accurate  information as the boundaries are mered (aligned to) real-world features on the ground. It's a point-and-line structured dataset captured at mapping scales of 1:1250 (for urban areas), 1:2500 (for rural) and 1:10 000 (for mountain and moorland). All electoral and administrative boundaries are contained within the Topographic layer. It doesn't contain polygons.

Boundary-Line is captured against a lower resolution mapping backdrop and the boundaries are captured to represent the data at a nominal 1:10 000 viewing scale. Generalising the data may have moved some features from their true ground position for clarity. As a result, Boundary-Line and the Topography Layer boundaries don't always coincide. Boundary-Line is a polygon structured dataset.

When a new parish is created, how long should it take to appear in Boundary-Line?

Parishes are created and managed separately from the other electoral and administrative boundaries represented in Boundary-Line. To amend a parish, the Parish councillors make an submission to their Local Authority.

Local Authorities inform OS about parish changes, as required under the Local Government Act (1972) and the more recent Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act (2007) for name and boundary alignments

The local authority's parish update information should appear in the next Boundary-Line six-monthly scheduled release. We can only amend the parish boundaries after receiving this official notification.

Parish information updates will be available sooner in OS MasterMap Topography, since its boundary information is continuously updated.

How do I use Boundary-Line for statistical analysis?

This spreadsheet lists the Office for National Statistics (formerly Government Statistical Service (GSS)) area codes. When census and other government data is tagged with these area codes, you can use Boudary-Line to create heat maps showing differences in outcomes or growth, for example, by local authorities area.

See all FAQs for Boundary-Line ›

Licences

Boundary-Line is available under the following Licences:

Our open data products are covered by the Open Government Licence (OGL), which allows you to:

  • copy, distribute and transmit the data;
  • adapt the data; and
  • exploit the data commercially, whether by sub-licensing it, combining it with other data, or including it in your own product or application.

We simply ask that you acknowledge the copyright and the source of the data by including the following attribution statement:

  • Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right 2016
  • Where you use Code-Point Open data, you must also use the following attribution statements:
  • Contains Royal Mail data © Royal Mail copyright and Database right 2016
  • Contains National Statistics data © Crown copyright and database right 2016

Read more about Open Data licences

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