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Spatial datasets

These products contain the complete set of vector (re-usable) boundaries and centroids for output areas (OA) and super output areas (SOA) in England and Wales. Additional software is required to view and use the vector boundaries and centroids.


  • The median population weighted centroid of each OA and SOA

2001 boundaries

  • Digital boundaries for OA and SOA

2011 boundaries

  • Digital boundaries for maintained 2011 OA, SOA, workplace zones (a new geography designed to support production of statistics on the workplace population), Census merged wards and built-up areas.

All spatial vector products are available in several file formats from ONS's Open Geography Portal.

Boundaries for each geography are created at full resolution and in a generalised format. We offer two coastal extents for the full and generalised sets: 'extent of the realm' and 'clipped to the coastline'. 'Extent of the realm' is the Mean Low Water Mark but in some cases boundaries extend beyond this to include offshore islands. 'Clipped to the coastline' is the Mean High Water Mark giving the coastline a more orthodox appearance.

The four boundary types produced are designed to be used in different contexts (such as analysis or visualisation).  Currently two boundary types are available via the portal - full, extent and generalised, clipped.  Other boundary types are available on request.

Please note that the built-up area boundaries will be available in one format only - Generalised, Grid.

It is important that users understand which boundary type they require before download by reading the boundary guidance document contained in the Downloads section.

2001 and 2011 spatial products are supplied under the Open Government Licence and Ordnance Survey Open Data terms and conditions.

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