ONS 2011 Census Geography Prospectus

Today saw ONS publish the 2011 Census Geography Prospectus. This contains details of what and when geographic products (digital boundaries, digital spatial data and lookup tables) will be released. When available, these products will be available to download from the ONS website or supplied on hard media from Customer Services.

The first products will be available, one month prior to the second release of Census data, in October 2012 (subject to the Census outputs being published on time in November) and the second will follow in January 2013. More details relating to what’s incorporated in these releases are below:

Date Products Format
October 2012 2011 Ouput Area, Lower and Middle Layer Super Output Areas shapefile/kml
2011 Ouput Area, Lower and Middle Layer Super Output Areas population weighted centroids shapefile/kml
2001 Ouput Area, Lower and Middle Layer Super Output Areas shapefile/kml
2011 Output Area to 2011 geography lookup files (e.g LSOA/MSOA, wards, LA/UAs, counties, 2001 to 2011 OAs) text/csv
January 2013 2011 Workplace zones (WZ) shapefile/kml
2011 Workplace zones population weighted centroids shapefile/kml
2011 Output Area to 2011 geographies (e.g. settlements, urban areas, postcode sectors) text/csv

Full details of all the products and releases dates are here (.xls).

A ‘Census Geography FAQ‘ document (pdf) is also available and provides further explanation into some of the geographic issues, some highlights:

  • Digital boundaries are expected to made available under an Open Government Licence so will be free for reuse by all (a final decision on this is expected by the end of June 2012)
  • Only 2011 Output Areas, Lower and Middle Layer Super Output Areas, Local Authorities and National Park statistics will be published on an exact-fit basis, all other geographies will be best-fit
  • less than 5% of 2001 OA/SOA boundaries are expected to change in 2011


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