Data Aggregation & Levels of Geography in NI

March 1, 2017

When creating your Suggest a Dataset application it might be worth articulating to the data holder the lowest level of geography you are seeking when the data is being released as open data. 

This could be data that is not currently published for external use and is a good opportunity as a prospective user of this data to inform the level/scale this data is released at. 

Or it may be the case that the data is publically available but not at a scale/resolution you deem appropriate for its re-use.

Stating the level of geography you would like to see the data released at gives data holders a better understanding of external user needs and increases the likelihood that the data will meet the expectations of the broader open data user community. 

However, stating the level of geography you would like to see a given dataset released at is no guarantee that the data holder will be able to meet that specific request. 

The decision making process of the data holder will be primarily driven by ensuring they abide by the data protection principals set out in the Data Protection Act and ensuring statistical disclosure control has been applied to the data prior to publication.

If you are unfamiliar with the levels of statistical geographies and/or administrative boundaries in Northern Ireland, this guide will outline some of the options available.

Types of Geography (all available under an Open Government License)

Northern Ireland Small Areas

Publisher - NISRA

Small Areas (SAs) were introduced in Northern Ireland after the 2011 Census.  Small Areas are generally created by amalgamating 2001 Census Output Areas which were built from clusters of adjacent postcodes.

Number of Small Areas: 4,537

Download SA data here


Northern Ireland Super Output Areas

Publisher - NISRA

Super Output Areas (SOAs) were a new geography that were developed by NISRA to improve the reporting of small area statistics

Number of Super Output Areas: 890

Download SOA data here


Standard Electoral Wards (2012)

Publisher – Land & Property Services

Number of Electoral Wards: 462

Access Electoral Wards data here


Local Government Districts (2012)

Publisher – Land & Property Services

Number of Local Government Districts: 11 

Access Local Government Districts data here