Ordnance Survey – Administrative Divisions

April 11, 2007

Administrative Divisions for the UK are very confusing and it is difficult to find good and reliable resources. This has changed now, thanks to the GeoSemantics team from Ordnance Survey, Britain’s national mapping agency. The GeoSemantics team, which is part of the OS Research Labs, has released version 0.1 of an Administrative Geography that consists of an ontology describing the different types of administrative divisions and over 11.000 instances. The “OS Administrative Geography” is released under a creative commons license.
The UK is subdivided into 3 countries, 11 Government Office Regions (GOR) ,34 counties, 100 Unitary Authorities, 33 London Boroughs, 36 Metropolitan Districts, 1 Quasi Unitary Authorities, 238 districts and 11.288 parishes. Northern Ireland is not part of this data set since it is mapped by a separate government agency, the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland (OSNI).

Thanks to Cathy Dolbear, Katalin Kovacs and the rest of the OS GeoSemantics team for releasing this extremely useful data set.

The OS Administrative Geography for the UK is comparable to the “Publication de données géographiques au format RDF” for France by the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE).

Geonames.org is mapping geonames features to URIs or Ids of local authorities. The geonames RDF represenation for the City of Southampton now contains a link to the Ordnance Survey Id “southampton_00ms” :

http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/ontology/v1/AdministrativeGeography.rdf#southampton_00ms

(Update 20 April 2007 : Changed the URL to the Ordnance Survey rdf document. The OS URI have been activated and sightly modified.)

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3 Responses to “Ordnance Survey – Administrative Divisions”


  1. [...] from Geonames announces that the Ordnance Survey has released ontologies and a semantic data set of administrative classifications. Good step. The OS is a big organization with lots of history, and slowly I think it’s [...]


  2. [...] In order to use the admin boundaries we will have to clean up the existing admin divisions and align them with the Ordnance Survey divisions. [...]

  3. Randy Fay Says:

    Just an FYI that the (hopefully) great links here are all broken now, and even the names of the data products seem to have changed. I didn’t successfully navigate the Ordnance Survey site.


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