We’ve put this page together as a way of sharing some data that researchers, analysts, journalists and others may find useful. All the files listed below are available as open data, under the UK Open Government Licence or the Open Data Commons Open Database License. Therefore, these files can be used, with attribution, in commercial work and you are free to adapt and distribute the data as you wish. We’ve tried to add value to the original data by including more information in the files and/or by combining small parts into a larger whole.

Scotland DTM (50m resolution)

We are pleased to be able to share this digital terrain model of Scotland, created using Ordnance Survey open data (their Terrain 50 product). Included in the download are four files – one is a full resolution raster file (500MB) for use in packages such as QGIS, one is a small-file-size rendered, georeferenced version (16MB), and two were specifically created for use in Aerialod and other rendering software (a 16MB tif and 14MB png respectively). The data are provided in a single, zipped folder just over 81MB in size. We have also cut out Scotland’s lochs from the raster surface, using the OS Open Zoomstack product (the ‘surfacewater’ layer). This is particularly useful when creating realistic 3D renders, for example. Source: Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right [2021].

An example render of the Isle of Skye, using this dataset

US Building Footprints

We are huge fans of the Microsoft Building Footprints project, but it isn’t always easy for GIS users to work with the data. For this reason, we have converted each state buildings dataset from geojson to GeoPackage format and put them on a separate download page. In addition to the different file format, we have also attached a state and county FIPS code to each feature, as well as a GEOID and the county name. Our hope is that this makes it easier for people to use the data, which is an incredible free open data resource. There are more than 125 million buildings in the dataset and our version comes in at more than 28GB for the whole country, but like the original source it is divided into states. However, you should find that even the largest file (California, with almost 11 million buildings and 2.7GB) loads in under 30 seconds in QGIS. Source: Microsoft Building Footprints, licensed under the Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL) v1.0.

A snapshot of the buildings data for Ohio, coloured by county

All buildings in Great Britain

We have also created a single GeoPackage containing all buildings in Great Britain (this can be opened in QGIS and other modern GIS packages). The zipped GeoPackage is 1.6GB in size and the unzipped version is 5.3GB, but it should work flawlessly. The file is a little bigger than the raw data files from Ordnance Survey because of the new fields I have added (i.e. as below, one that tells you which local authority a building is in, and another that tells you how many square metres each building covers). These are useful for exploring and filtering the data. Source: Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0. Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right [2020].

Our ‘buildings of Great Britain’ layer, coloured by local authority

English IMD 2019 geofile (with all domains)

We have put together a single file of one of the most commonly used English datasets, containing all data relating to the 2019 English Indices of Deprivation – in both Shapefile and GeoPackage format. This contains everything you’ll need to map and analyse patterns of deprivation across England, using the latest data and the most detailed LSOA boundary file. Source: MHCLG, 2019 and Office for National Statistics, licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0. Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right [2020].

This is a large, high resolution file, clipped to the coastline

Populated places of Great Britain

This is a file containing over 42,000 populated places in Great Britain. Alasdair put it together using Ordnance Survey open data and you can download it in different formats – and with a ready-to-go QGIS project on this GitHub repository. Since it’s Ordnance Survey data, the file covers England, Wales and Scotland only. Place names can be displayed – where applicable – in Gaelic or Welsh, or all in English. If you download the QGIS project from the GitHub page and read the information there you’ll see that we’ve added some filters and queries when it comes to using this data in your projects. We have made this file available as a shapefile, geopackage and geojson. Source: Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0. Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right [2020].

A preview of our GB places layer

UK local authorities (2020) with data

We have also shared a generalised UK local authorities dataset here because it is one of the most commonly used datasets in the UK for mapping and visualisation. The much more detailed file (for accurate spatial analysis) is available from the ONS Open Geography Portal. We have added a number of fields to the dataset, including ones to indicate what country or region an area is in, plus the latest ONS population estimates (mid-2019) for each area, in addition to the ONS Standard Area Measurements (e.g. accurate land area). There is also a field indicating what kind of area each local authority is (e.g. London Borough, Unitary Authority, Non-metropolitan District). We have made this layer available in Shapefile, GeoPackage and geojson formats – in a single folder. Source: Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0. Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right [2020].

UK local authority dataset (shaded by % age 70+)