I would like to make a shapefile of Great Britain's counties.

I have downloaded the boundary-line data from ordnance survey.

When I pull Data/GB/county_region.shp into mapsahper I get this map:

enter image description here

What happened to all the other counties? Scotland, Wales etc. Has anyone else tried using this ordnance survey map, and knows if you can get all the counties for Great Britain?


1 Answer 1


The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland does not have Administrative 'Counties' as a ubiquitous level 2 administrative unit. Some places are Unitary Authorities (54 regions), others are Metropolitan Boroughs within Metropolitan Counties (36), so just traditional counties will have numerous gaps. What you need is Administrative level 2 boundaries and not counties. Admin Level 0 is the entire UK in one geography, Level 1 are the countries of Scotland (Alba), Wales (Cymru), England, & Northern Ireland (Ulster) in four geographies, and Admin Level 2 are the counties and the other geographies I list above with complete UK coverage in a consistent manner and detailed outlines.

1) This is what you get from GADM and I think it is just what you want. Level 2. Just go to the link and select the UK and select admins.

enter image description here

2) Download piecemeal from OS.

3) Obtain from EU NUTS.

Essentially, if you take number 1 then all the work is done for you and I suspect all 3 sources have the same data originator.

  • I'm just curious. Was the level of detail the same as the OS boundaries you obtained? Just from a visual instruction inspection is fine. Jan 8, 2016 at 5:12

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