Spatial units in our data collections

Georeferencing by spatial unit links a case to a particular bounded space. It is the various configurations of these bounded spaces (e.g. county boundaries) that we refer to as spatial units. 

Here are a selection of spatial units commonly found in our data collections. For each defined spatial unit, you can find:

  • a description, synonymous terms and other information
  • a link to a search in Discover for studies that contain that spatial unit

Some spatial unit also link to the corresponding digital boundary files, enabling the use of those data collections in geospatial applications.

Much of this information was gathered during the U•Geo project.

The InFuse geography pages provide information on the geographies for which UK 2011 Census aggregate data values are produced and made available through our InFuse interface.


British National Grid

British National Grid Reference

The British National Grid is a common referencing format for all geographic data in Great Britain. The result is that any location can be described in terms of its distance from the origin (0,0), which lies to the west of the Scilly Isles.

Grid references are always presented in terms of eastings (distance east from the origin) and northings (distance north from the origin). [Definition source: ONS Geography]

Synonyms: Ordnance Survey National Grid; National Grid

Country: England; Wales; Scotland

Established: 1,936

Coding system: OSGB36

Responsible authority: Ordnance Survey 


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