The main Census geography products are included in the scope of Census Access, and, with the possible exception of the recovery of material costs, are free at the point of use. The Output Area boundaries are in part derived from Ordnance Survey material and the terms and conditions for the use of the vector boundaries which also cover the Ordnance Survey interests must be accepted before use. These do not restrict use of the vector boundaries within an organisation or use jointly by organisations which have each accepted the terms of the licence. But there are some circumstances, particularly use of the vector boundaries for financial gain, where a further licence from Ordnance Survey may be necessary. Census Customer Services should be contacted in any case of doubt.

The conditions should be examined before use of the products.

In general terms, viewable (raster or hard copy) boundaries may be used without restriction and copied subject only to the acknowledgement of Crown copyright and source. Standard Ordnance Survey conditions apply to the copying of underlying topographical maps.

In general terms, re-usable (vector) boundaries may be used on acceptance of the condition of the licence:

  • in any organisation, in the public or private sectors, for internal business purposes

  • by any individual consumer for their private use

  • jointly between any licence holders or by a contractor for a licence holder

and may be published to promote public or commercial services provided this is not for financial gain and the use of the boundaries is secondary to the user's services and business activities and is not a service or business activity in itself, but, in Ordnance Survey terms, the boundary data may not be modified, altered, decompiled, reverse engineered, or disassembled beyond what is necessary for permitted use or to extract the Ordnance Survey elements in the data.

Such permitted use would include, for example, joint use of Output Areas boundaries in vector form by a local and health authority to prepare maps of Census results to illustrate a report published in any media covering broader subjects relating to the services provided by the authorities. But it would not include use of Output Areas in vector form in a mapping facility in a package sold for marketing applications, where an additional Ordnance Survey licence would be required.

Conditions of supply of 2001 Census Output Area Boundaries

The Census Output Area Boundaries1 are Crown copyright and are subject to the following Open Government terms and conditions

Open Government Licence

Copyright and source must be acknowledged2

All 2011 Census statistics incorporate measures to protect against the inadvertent disclosure of information relating specifically to an identified person or household. The material shall not be used to attempt to derive information relating specifically to an identified person or household, nor shall a claim be made that such information has been obtained or derived

The Output Area (OA) boundaries here are in part derived from Ordnance Survey (OS) information, and some OA boundaries which follow ward or parish boundaries are reproduced parts of the OS BoundaryLine product. Consequently IPR in the OA boundaries lies jointly with ONS and OS and so the following terms must be observed

OS OpenData Licence2

The Office for National Statistics uses anti-virus software to safeguard against any viruses being included in the original material, but does not accept liability for any loss or damage arising from any virus which may be present in the material.


  1. The rights in material drawn from the Output Area boundaries remains the property of the Crown

  2. Copyright and source must be acknowledged prominently by the words

a. "Contains National Statistics data © Crown copyright and database right [year]" (for ONS)

b. as instructed in the OS OpenData link above (for OS)

Before you make any use of this data, you must carefully read the terms and conditions of this licence. By accessing the data you will be deemed to be bound by its terms and conditions. If you do not wish to be bound then you must return the data to us.