New kinds of geography in MapIt

MapIt is a mySociety service that can take UK postcodes and return which administrative boundaries those postcodes are inside. This can be used to find out what council or constituency an area is in —  you can test it at

Over the last few months we’ve been updating some existing boundaries in MapIt, and adding new kinds of geographies.

LSOA boundary on openstreetmap

What has changed

Local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups have been updated to their new April 2020 boundaries. Small census areas have been updated to their latest version across all UK nations.

There is also a new kind of statistical geography: Travel To Work areas. These are areas that include the home and work location of 75% of people inside them. They are a way of visualising the commuting boundaries of an area, which may be significantly different from the administrative ones (See maps of all Travel To Work areas in England).

Small census areas are small statistical areas that cover a neighbourhood sized areas (although what locals consider the neighbourhood to be may vary). Many sets of official statistics are mapped against these small areas, making them an important intermediary between postcode or coordinate data and measures such as the indices of multiple deprivation.

As many statistics are produced separately for different UK nations, there are different kinds of small areas in different nations.


  • Lower Super Output Areas  (LSOA) – England and Wales
  • Datazones (DZ) – Scotland
  • Super Output Areas (SOA) – Northern Ireland


  • Middle Layer Super Output Area (MSOA) – England and Wales
  • Intermediate Zones (IZ) – Scotland

In MapIt, all of these boundaries are present, available under the English geography names (LSOA/ MSOA) to avoid needing more complicated lookups when working with postcode data from across different nations.

What can I use this for?

Mapping from user postcode data to LSOA helps build a picture of the environment of users. As we’ve done with FixMyStreet, this can be used to understand patterns of use. It can also help researchers with existing postcode datasets to find the equivalent statistical areas to expand the dataset.

You can see some of these areas in practice powering the postcode lookup on this minisite looking at the new 2019 maps of multiple deprivation in England.

You can access MapIt from an application through an API, or use the bulk upload tool to convert an existing dataset.