Opening date: 8 February 2016
Closing date: 7 March 2016


The 2016 ONS Geography Products and Services Review gathered views about the geographic data, guidance and services ONS Geography provide. The Review is part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring our geographic products and services are fit for purpose. This evidence is critical for ONS Geography as it allows us to further strengthen our business cases to ensure we can best provide users with efficient, refreshed and/or new geographic services. The Review ran from 8th February to 7th March 2016. We received 102 responses from national and local government, academia, commercial and voluntary sectors.

We asked about the following:

  • ONS Geography Products

  • ONS Geography Services

  • National Statistics Address Lookup (NSAL)

  • GSS Coding and Naming Policy for UK Statistical Geographies

  • Producing population estimates for Civil Parishes

  • Output Area Classification

  • Grid-based Population Estimates

You said

  • Administrative boundaries and postcode products were the most used products. You demonstrated there are many varied and interesting uses of our products and their application in research, analysis and service delivery.

  • 93% respondents would like to access statistics and geographies from the same website.

  • 42% had downloaded the National Statistics Address Lookup (NSAL) or would do so in the future. Users who are not members of the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) are still unable to benefit fully from using the UPRN.

  • 9 character GSS codes are now widely used and well understood. Many users are now embedding the codes in automated operational systems.

  • The 2011 Output Area Classification is valued for its free, detailed assessment of the population and widely used across many sectors.

  • Potential applications of grid-based population statistics are being explored by users, but there is still concern about their benefit when compared to traditional administrative and Census geographies.

We did

  • We will continue to maintain our existing geographic products, but research options for adding new geographies where there is an identifiable and evidenced need.

  • We will work towards creating a consolidated platform for accessing geography and statistics.

  • We have applied to Ordnance Survey for further derived data exemptions to enhance the National Statistics Address Lookup product by adding more geographies.

  • We will continue to work with users who are experiencing barriers to adopting the GSS 9 character codes.

  • We will continue to investigate alternative methods for producing parish level statistics that provide a balance between the number of parishes for which statistics can be published and the requirement to protect the data for disclosure control purposes.

  • We will investigate the potential of using Administrative Data to update area classifications more regularly following the 2021 Census.

  • We will research the options for producing population statistics on grids. The intention of the ONS is to offer more flexibility for our users by releasing statistics on grids, Census and administrative geographies.

Read the full report and view the results on the Open Geography portal.

If you have any queries about this consultation, please contact ONS Geography Customer Services: or call +44 (0)1329 444971.

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