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

You can find more information on the geographies in the metadata that accompanies the download files and in the ‘Beginner's Guide’ section of the website.

Product details

We produce digital boundaries as shapefiles (a format produced by ESRI), with accompanying metadata in XML format which can be displayed in any internet browser.

We can supply boundaries in MID/MIF (a format produced by MapInfo) on request. Please contact us for details.

We create boundaries for each geography 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 we produce are designed to be used in different contexts (such as analysis or visualisation).

It is important that you understand which boundary type you need by reading the boundary guidance document.


You can download the full, extent and generalised, clipped boundaries free of charge from the Open Geography portal. To request a boundary set not available on the portal or in another format, please contact us. We may make a charge of £50 plus VAT per CD/DVD in line with our charging policy.

Terms and conditions of supply

The majority of our Great Britain coverage digital boundaries are now freely available under the OS OpenData and the Open Government Licensing agreement.

You must use the following attribution statements to acknowledge ONS and OS copyright and source in your use of all our digital boundaries:

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

Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right [year]

Output Areas and Super Output Areas (OA/SOA)

The OA and 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 OpenData product, the OA/SOA boundaries are now free to use under the OS OpenData licence.