Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Updating Pub Density

I was hugely gratified by the interest shown in the pub density map. My original intent was rather more serious than just visualising a class of POI popular with OSMers.

I now have access to the government generated areas used to present census, and other population-based data, in a uniform way. These are called "Super Output Areas", and, I think, roughly contain 7500 people. Unfortunately, I only have these areas for England and Wales (I currently have a request with the General Register Office for Scotland for those North of the border).

So, here is a new pub density map:

A larger version is available on Flickr.

There are lots of things to notice, so I'm just going to highlight a few:
  • Outer London has loads of gaps.
  • Grimsby seems to be teetotal.
  • A whole swathe across the Pennines from Liverpool to Doncaster and beyond is rather pub light. Many parts here have been traced from various sources.
  • Wales is still light on pubs, which is to be expected because it is seriously under-mapped.
  • Nottingham has three areas without pubs, one probably does not contain any pubs, another is poorly mapped, and the third has been traced.
Broadly speaking the idea of using equal population areas doe reveal more about the data.


  1. LSOAs and MSOAs in Scotland are known as Datazones and Intermediate Geographies respectively. You can download them here: http://www.sns.gov.uk/Downloads/DownloadGeography.aspx

  2. Thanks, I'd lost the will to navigate the government department maze!

  3. Hi, great job. I don't suppose you have a file with all the pubs that you could post to hand?

    I may be able to help with pubs in SE London - I found a useful resource from Greenwich Council that lists all licensed premises and their postcodes. Assuming I can import it (don't really see why not but will ask other's opinion) then that will fill in a large gap around there. Obviously it's only accurate to postcode level, but hopefully it's a lot better than nothing.

    Not sure if others have considered doing the same thing?

  4. @Stephen Knox

    It's really much better to go and research these things on the ground. A council list may be encumbered by copyright (and issues like where did they get the postcodes from). Doing a comparison between OSM data and the council list would give you a list of places to look for (rather like Dracos postbox list): and often enough there are a lot of other changes too.

    Many local CAMRA groups have a good idea of the current status of local pubs: I'd love it if OSM could work with them.

    An easy way to get the data from OSM is to use a XAPI interface (see the OSM wiki), but be warned that as of late the main instance often does not reliably return data. OSM data is in XML format which is a bit of a pain if you just want it in a S/s.