Skip to content

Digital boundaries

We maintain digital boundaries for a range of geographies to support the production of statistics.

More information on the geographies can be found in the metadata that accompanies the download files and in the Beginner's Guide section of the website.

Product details

Digital boundaries are produced as shapefiles (a format produced by ESRI), with accompanying metadata in HTML format which can be displayed in any internet browser.

Boundaries can be supplied in Mid/Mif (a format produced by MapInfo) on request. Please contact us for details.

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'.

The four boundary types produced are designed to be used in different contexts (such as analysis or visualisation).

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


Boundaries may be downloaded free of charge. Alternatively, please complete a boundary request form from the Downloads section and email it to ONS Geography. A charge of £50 + VAT will be made per CD / DVD  in line with ONS charging policy.

Terms and conditions of supply

The majority of ONS Great Britain coverage digital boundaries are now freely available under the Ordnance Survey (OS) OpenData and the Open Government Licensing agreement (see External links).

The following attribution statements must be used to acknowledge ONS and OS copyright and source in use of all ONS digital boundaries:

Contains National Statistics data © Crown copyright and database right [year]

Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right [year]

Output Area and Super Output Areas (OA/SOA)

The OA/SOA boundaries are in part derived from OS information, and some OA boundaries which follow ward or parish boundaries reproduce parts of the OS Boundary-Line™ product.

Following the introduction of Boundary-Line™ as an Open Data product, the OA/SOA boundaries are now free to use under the OS Open Data licence.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.