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National Statistics Boundaries

The new Metropolitan Police maps are based on areas that are described in the press release as:

Crime mapping areas are based on pre-defined (‘sub ward’) areas consisting of an average of 633 households. There are 4,765 ‘sub wards in London.

These ‘sub-wards’ are in fact Super Output Areas (SOAs) which have been defined by National Statistics for applications based on neighbourhood statistics.  More precisely, the maps use the (catchily named) Lower Layer Super Output Areas, or LSOAs.

National Statistics very helpfully make boundary data for these areas freely available on their website, and will also send them to you on a CD-ROM for free if you prefer.

This is all good stuff… except that if you want to add your own data to existing sets based on these boundaries, you really need a postcode to SOA lookup table.  And this is apparently not free but can only be done if you have access to commercial packages such as the Ordnance Survey’s Code-point.

If anyone knows of a free postcode-SOA lookup file then please let us know as this would be really helpful for data-mashers.  If indeed a free version of this does not exist as yet then this is a priority dataset for us to try to make available.

Richard Allan, Task Force Chair

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