Looking for UK County Outlines

Apologies if my first post is in the wrong place.

I am looking for outlines of UK counties, and wondering if that is something which could be extracted from this data? If not, does anyone know where I might be able to get such data? It does not need to be particularly detailed, so long as it shows the rough outlines and can be overlaid onto Google Maps or OpenStreenMaps.

There are some PDFs of the counties available from Ordnance Survey - http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/freefun/outlinemaps/ - which contain good outline data for each county. However, they are old maps and the boundaries in some places have moved, plus I’m not sure that the licence would stretch to any kind of reverse-engineering of the data in the PDF, especially if it ended up mixed in with any Open Source data.

So - any ideas where I should look? Alternatively, if there is a recommended tool that I could use to trace out the counties myself (over some old maps, naturally) that would not take days to master, then that is a good alternative.

Oh - ‘free as in money’ is ideal, but it is more the ‘free as in speech’ that is the most important, so I don’t have to worry about how the data is used.

I do have a list of 1.7million OS grid references against postcodes, so if anyone knows of a list of counties against postcodes, I could snap a shape around all the postcodes for each county - at a stretch. It would be derivative works, but should be okay for that particular site.

Hope I haven’t confused things! I basically just want the current UK county outlines, but since such a thing seems to be as rare as hen’s teeth, I’ll try any workable technique to derive them.


– Jason

Some of the county boundaries are in, if not all. They’re tagged in a variety of ways. Sometimes with boundary=administrative and an admin_level= (some number), and sometimes they have been done as part of a relation. Perhaps both.

The border between Essex and Suffolk is fairly clear on the river Stour here (the .-.-. rendered boundary):

See also Key:boundary http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:boundary
and Relation:boundary http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Relation:boundary

I’m afraid I’ll have to leave it to somebody more knowledgable on how you would query the database to get just the relevant information though.


PS: I suspect the NPE layer was used in many cases. I used the NPE layer to denote the Essex districts based on the old parish boundaries, from some list of which parishes are in which district (perhaps wikipedia sourced). It may be that the parish boundaries have changed in places, so the district boundaries may well be wrong as you point out.

Cool - thanks. The information available here is vast (and I hope to be contributing to it soon - TomTom is loaded up with the tracker software to map all the missing little streets in my town).

I’ll look into that administrative boundary querying.

– JJ

Of what I’ve seen in the UK, all the county boundaries as well as district and parish boundaries are taken from Npemaps as has been said. Consequently it’s not always correct, and I know of quite a few errors which is frustrating. Another tecnquie has been to walk around spotting wheely bins and working out which streets belong to which county/district etc. I think this has mostly been done in London, maybe only London. Tracing these takes a long time though. Also, you may find this interesting, as it makes it clear what boundaries have and haven’t been done.