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Help using the election maps apps

Our Election Maps web applications for Great Britain and Northern Ireland help you understand the electoral boundaries in the United Kingdom. The apps have been built using responsive web design techniques to ensure they function on the most common combinations of devices and operating systems.

The first time you launch the applications a number of useful tips will be overlaid on the whole screen (in dark grey), to help get you started. After first use you'll need to return to the help button if you require more help – which will bring you back to this help page.

User tips are displayed under the cursor in a grey box where appropriate.

Jump to help:

New feature: labels

Show boundary labels

Once you have selected a boundary (or two), you can choose whether to show the boundary name(s) on your map. Simply toggle the ‘Show names’ button on/off as required. If you toggle boundary names on, it’s best to view your map at a more zoomed-in level so you can see the labels clearly.

Getting to know the applications

The header bar
The header bar runs across the top of the app. It contains the boundary layers side panel selector, search box, map centring control, the boundary area status, information icons and a help button.

The side panel
The side panel is located down the left-hand side of the application and is selectable on or off by use of the blue 'layers' icon at the top left-hand side of the screen. It holds the boundary layer options, map fader and custom print options.

Map navigation
The map displays the boundaries, boundary areas and copyright information.

To access the different scales, close the side panel (if visible) using the blue layers selector to expose the grey + and – zoom controls and the slider bar that joins them. Click on the + and – zoom controls or drag the slider bar up or down.

To move around the map, click on the compass arrows or drag the map as required with the cursor. There may be a slight delay before the map moves while boundaries are displayed.

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Using the search

You can search for: postcode areas (SO16), full postcodes (SO16 0AS) and place or boundary names. Place and boundary name searches will return a list of any matches. Selecting a match from the displayed list will move the map to that area, zooming to the appropriate level. Boundary names will be displayed in the header bar (with the exception of Non Civil Parishes and Communities which will have no associated name).

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Map centring

Also within the search box is the map centring control. If your browser supports the geo location functionality, and you are willing to let the app access your current location, it will centre the map on your current location. Declining the sharing request, or non-support of the functionality, will centre the map on the centre of Great Britain.

Please note – using Internet Explorer 8:
If you are having problems loading boundaries, try zooming closer into the map before selecting boundaries.

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Boundary areas

You can only select a maximum of two boundaries

Boundary areas are also referred to as layers. You can select boundary area types from the side panel. A maximum of two boundary areas can be selected and displayed on the map at any one time, but you may deselect any check box and choose another. When you have selected two boundary areas, the remaining boundary type names will be greyed out. If you try to select more than two boundary types, a black dialog box will display a message.

As well as choosing a particular boundary area from the search box, boundary areas can be selected directly on the map. Clicking on the map to select an outline area will position and zoom the map to show the area’s full extent. The boundary area name will be updated in the header bar and the region will be shaded in orange.

Dialog box asking you to select boundary due to overlap

If two boundary area types are displayed on the map, clicking on one boundary will still cause that region to be shaded in orange. If the boundary area you have clicked on overlaps with the second boundary type, a dialog box will appear requesting you to select one of the two boundary types; this region will then be shaded in orange as normal. In this instance, the selected boundary area name will be displayed on the top line of the header bar with the other boundary area type name below it.

Please note: Unitary Authorities are, for voting purposes, divided into Unitary Authority Wards – except in the Isle of Wight, Cornwall, County Durham, Northumberland, Shropshire and Wiltshire where it is the Unitary Authority Electoral Division.

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Area statistics

Access neighbourhood statistics

When you search for a postcode using the search bar, you can then find out statistics about that particular area such as information about healh, education and crime rates. To do this, simply click on the statistics icon in the top right-hand side of the application and a 'Neighbourhood statistics' box will appear. Click on the postcode within this box and you will be taken to information from the Office for National Statistics.

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Printing from Election Maps

To print your selected map area, simply click on the 'Print' button in the left-hand navigation and follow your browser printing instructions.

Alternatively, you can press Ctrl-P on your keyboard and follow the menu-based instructions in your web browser.

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Map options

Some heavily built-up areas can make it more challenging to identify boundary lines. The backdrop mapping can be faded, using a control in the side panel, without affecting the overlaid boundary area.

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External links

Links to the Ordnance Survey linked data scheme will be enabled from the information buttons to the right of the header bar. The information is related to the selected boundary area, where applicable.

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Basic requirements

The Election maps applications require a modern browser running on a moderately powerful smart phone, tablet or computer. There is a lot of data to process, so the more powerful your device, the quicker it will run.

A network, WiFi or 3G mobile connection is required to conduct searches and retrieve map data; without an internet connection the application will not function as intended.

The apps have been tested in the following browsers:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 8+
  • Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Firefox (latest version)
  • Android browser (latest version)
  • Apple Safari (latest version)

They may work on other browsers but this is not guaranteed.

The apps have been tested on the following devices:

  • Apple iPhone
  • Apple iPad
  • Android phone
  • Android tablet
  • Microsoft Windows powered computer
  • Apple OSX powered computer

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Important links

Launch map of Great Britain

Find electoral boundaries in your area of Great Britain.

Launch map of Northern Ireland

Find electoral boundaries in your area of Northern Ireland.

Useful election facts

Read our useful facts to get you thinking about the different types of elections in the UK.

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© Ordnance Survey 2019