UKBORDERS (originally United Kingdom Boundary Outline and Reference Database for Education and Research Study) provides access to digitised boundary datasets and geographic look-up tables corresponding to the geography of the UK. A range of geographic boundaries are available, including Census, Electoral, Administrative and Postal areas. Uses of the data may include the mapping of census variables, the use of census boundaries in GIS operations and the linkage of census and non-census data. Datasets may be downloaded in one of many common GIS formats.

UKBORDERS makes available Digital Boundary Data for the following types of geographical area:

  • Census areas including Counties, Enumeration Districts and Urban/Rural areas.
  • Electoral areas including Council Areas and Electoral Wards.
  • Administrative areas including Health Board Areas and Police Force Areas.
  • Postal areas including Post Code Areas and Post Code Districts.

UKBORDERS contains the following facilities:

  • EasyDownload
    The most regularly requested UKBORDERS boundaries available as ready to use national datasets in SHAPE, E00, MIF/MID and DXF format.
  • Boundary Data Selector
    This facility lets you select the boundaries you want, for the area you want, in the format you want.  You can preview your selection over an Ordnance Survey back-drop map and then extract your selection from the UKBORDERS database in one of several GIS formats.
  • Postcode Directory Download
    This facility allows you to download complete versions of current and historical postcode directories (sometimes referred to as look-up tables). As they contain a Grid Reference for the postcode they provide a convenient means to geo-reference your own datasets.
  • Postcode Data Selector
    This facility allows you to download the set of postcodes that you want from postcode directories released between 2001 and the present day. In contrast to Postcode Directory Download, this allows you to select only the postcodes and fields that you require.
Spatial Coverage: 
United Kingdom
Time Period: 

UKBORDERS digital boundary data for Great Britain contains data valid from 1840 to the present day. A full list which provides more extensive dates and a complete list of all available boundary types is available from the EDINA UKBORDERS website.

Data Publisher:


Full UKBORDERS background information and downloadable guides are available on the EDINA website.


Digital Boundary Data may be downloaded from the UKBORDERS website in one of many common GIS file formats, including:

  • MapInfo MIF/MID file.
  • ArcView Shape file.
  • ArcInfo Export file.
Data Access: 

UKBORDERS digital boundary data for the UK is available for Educational Research or Academic Research only.

Note: Users must register with at the UK data Archive to use UKBORDERS digital boundary data with EDINA.

Edinburgh University users may contact the Data Library for access.