GIS Data Sources

This page tries to point in the right direction for obtaining data that can be built into GIS mapping applications. The first section concentrates on general sources of data whereas the quick links below this highlight specific data sources that can be freely obtained:

School Data
Environmental Data
Social data
Health datasets
Crime data

General data sources:

Office for National Statistics (ONS)

ONS is responsible for collecting and publishing statistics related to the economy, population and society at national, regional and local levels. It also conducts the census in England and Wales every ten years. A comprehensive list of individual datasets and reference tables can be found here:

and a geography portal for geographical reference data (e.g. LSOA’s E+W, administration boundaries) can be found here


Nomis is a service provided by the Office for National Statistics, ONS, to give you free access to the most detailed and up-to-date UK labour market statistics from official sources. Select ‘query data’ from the link below:

London Data Store

For social and demographic data within London, this is the first port of call.

Government data

The Government is releasing public data to help people understand how government works and how policies are made. Some of this data is already available, but brings it together in one searchable website.

Specific data sources:


Bounding boxes for each country

GeoJSON country boundaries

School data

School performance data

Department of education provide detailed data on school performance at KS2, KS4, KS5 level for the whole country. A text file containing field descriptions is also available. Download data in xls format and geocode the postcodes to put into GIS. The following fields provide the most useful general information: Average point score, Average level per pupil, % pupils achieving level 4 or above in reading and maths and writing, —“”—level4b, —“”—level5.

School list

From the link above, download the spine package and geocode the results.


Data can be downloaded from the link below and requires geocoding.

Environmental Data

Environment Agency geostore

A large collection of environmental datasets spanning a variety of applications, which I believe has superseded the MAGIC database.

UK river network

Ordnance survey has recently provided a shapefile detailing all the rivers in the UK. This can be found here

Forest inventory

A complete breakdown of forest in GB by woodland type (registration is required)

Open spaces London

An earlier blog post details how to use Open Street Map to generate this GIS layer. Alternatively, drop me a message and I will be happy to pass this dataset onto you.

Land cover map

CORINE land cover map provides land cover type by vector and raster for 2007 and is available to download from the CORINE UK website.

Public rights of way

Shapefiles for certain counties can be downloaded from here:



NAPTAN: National public transport access nodes

CSV files contains Eastings and Northings for each public transport stops (bus, train, ferry etc) throughout the UK.

Great Britain Railways and Stations

This shapefile shows the position of all railway lines and stations but does not contain any attribute data regarding train companies and routes. This shapefile must be projected into BNG.

British rail network

This dataset contains route information for each rail company operating in GB and is based on information from the association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC). Unfortunately it only comes as a text file but it at least provides a nice overview of the companies and routes they offer.

UK road network

Ordnance survey provide the whole road network throughout the UK.

London underground routes and stations

Data can be found from the following website (download as kml for Arcmap).


Social data

Job seekers (youth unemployment)

Data describing the number of people claiming job seekers allowance (currently upto August 2014). Data available on various timescales and provided in CSV format. Select Job seekers for small areas if you want the data at LSOA level. Other benefits data is accessible and all our found under DWP Benefits.

Fuel poverty

Detailed statistical tables by several different Census regions in excel – needs to be spatially linked to shapefiles.

Income estimates

Follow the link and then click on data to download income estimates by MSOA 2007/2008.


Health Datasets

Doctor’s surgeries

Data can be exported when a postcode is entered in the search bar. This csv file needs to be geocoded before entering into GIS.

General health data stores

Look into the public health observatory for england and this tool for a wide variety of health datasets such as obesity, diabetes rates, childhood obesity etc.


Crime data

The Police Force provides monthly data by LSOA and by crime type for the whole of the country. Data comes in csv format and can be analysed in Excel before being linked to LSOA spatial layers.


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