Edinburgh open data map

Greener Leith‘s Edinburgh Open Data Map is available here.

Although it aims to present the best and most up to date data, the map comes with absolutely no warranty as to the accuracy of the data shown.

The map was designed entirely in R, using a variety of spatial analysis packages, the openair package for air quality analysis, the leaflet package for mapping and the shiny package for the user interface and server-side scripting. It is currently hosted on RStudio‘s shinyapps.io server.

The map could be used in conjunction with UCL‘s excellent Datashine Visualisation of Scotland census data, and Ben Moore‘s map of road accidents in Edinburgh.

How to use

The map consists of several layers, which can be turned on and off using the panels initially situated at the top of the map. Once a layer has been turned on, pop-up information on individual features in the layer can be shown by clicking on them on the map.

Panels (including the search box) can be dragged out of the way, or collapsed by unselecting them. For convenience, once a panel is collapsed, its layers remain displayed by default. To clear the layers, reselect/deselect the panel again.

To zoom in and out, use the “+” and “-” buttons on the top left corner. On a tablet, pinch to zoom should work.

The background map can be changed between:

  • OpenStreetMap (in colour, with detailed local information)
  • Stamen Toner light (grey, which makes the data layers easier to see)
  • Stamen Toner (black and white)
  • CartoDB‘s Dark Matter (dark)
  • ESRI‘s World Imagery satellite

By default, a relatively low resolution background map is displayed, for responsiveness. If you are using a device with a high-resolution / retina screen, tick the “Hi-resolution” box.

To search for a location, type in an address in the search text box, and press “search”. It is easiest to enter just a postcode. Alternatively, if you enter a street address, you will need to specify the city. The search uses the Google Maps API, and provided an address is found (and is not beyond the greater Edinburgh area), the location will be marked on the map. Multiple searches will create multiple markers on the map. To clear them all, press “clear”.

There are over 10,000 listed buildings in the area covered by the map. In order to keep the map responsive, listed buildings are only shown once the user has zoomed in quite closely on a neighbourhood. For the same reason, open spaces and recycling points are only shown at high zoom levels.

The layers are drawn on the map in the order they have been selected. If features from two different layers overlap, only the features from the most recently added layer can be clicked on, as they are drawn on top of, and obscure the features of the layer below. If a layer of interest is obscured in this way, de-select it, then re-select it – it will be re-drawn on top of all the other layers, and will be clickable again.

Known issues

The map will render on mobile devices, however, a screen of at least 10 inches and a mouse are required in order to make full use of the map.

The coordinates of the some of the features were not available from their data source, and were batch-geocoded using the Google Maps API. This applies to: the LCCC planning projects, GPs, dentists (from postcode only), and some nurseries (from postcode only). The location of these features is therefore approximate, particularly where only postcode was used. The accuracy of the location of the other features is that of their original data source.

Public sector and Ordnance Survey data attribution

The map contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0 and Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright.

Data sources

Unless specified otherwise, all the data shown on the map has already been published as open data by other organisations.

Many of the datasets shown on the map are published by the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) on the CEC open data portal and/or the CEC mapping portal. Spatial data was captured by CEC against Ordnance Survey (OS) basemaps. With the exception of the draft Second Local Development Plan data (see below), the information is supplied under the Open Government Licence v3.0. The data includes:

  • World Heritage Site area, conservation areas, green belt, and tree preservation orders
  • living landscapes project
  • open spaces
  • 2014 vacant and derelict land survey
  • 2014 housing land audit
  • dentists, care homes and sheltered housing
  • school locations and catchment areas
  • allotment gardens and recycling points
  • community councils, natural neighbourhoods and neighbourhood partnerships boundaries

Data on the draft Second Proposed Local Development Plan, including tram line safeguard and proposed stops has been compiled by CEC on an OS basemap, and is available as an interactive map on the CEC website. The data has not yet been made available as open data by CEC, and is currently licensed to Greener Leith under a Public Sector (Scotland) End User Licence signed in April 2015. The data displayed on the map does not substantially copy any Licensed data from the OS.

Data on planning projects mainly comes from the list of sites of interest published by the Leith Central Community Council (LCCC). Data on major projects extending beyond the LCCC boundary (St James Centre redevelopment and tram extension) has been added to provide a broader picture of the planning environment.

Data on listed buildings is published by Historic Environment Scotland under an Open Government Licence v3.0.

Data on GPs is published by the NHS National Services Scotland Information Services Division (ISD) under NHS NSS copyright.

Data on air quality from the UK Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN) is published by Defra, and dynamically extracted using the openair package. Specifically, hourly data on the concentration of four pollutants, wind speed and wind direction, updated daily by the AURN, is downloaded when a user accesses the app. The data can be shown as a time series, or as a wind rose plot. For more information, please refer to the openair website.

Boundary data on Councils, Scottish Parliamentary Constituencies, Westminster Constituencies and Wards is published by the OS as part of their Boundary-Line OpenData product.

Data on the community councils’ online presence (websites, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds) was collected by Lynn Sharp of the Improvement Service in September 2015. It is likely to rapidly become out of date.

Boundary data on postcode sectors is published by the UK Data Service – Census Support based on National Records of Scotland data under an Open Government Licence v2.0.

2011 Census data, 2012 Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation data and house price data was downloaded from the Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics website.

News stories are taken from the Broughton Spurtle‘s RSS feed.

OpenStreetMap data is searched through the Overpass API (you can go to overpass turbo to try it) using the R package overpass.

Source code

The source code is available from GitHub under an GNU General Public License v2 or later.


Feedback, bug reports and suggestions are very welcome. Please email jeremy@greenerleith.org and we will get back to you, or leave a comment below.

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