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I work for the UK NHS and am looking at different mapping tools, with the intention being of improving some of our public health outreach.

For this purpose, we need to use postcode sectors (i.e. the part of the postcode before the space and the first digit afterwards e.g. SW1W 0 or LS1 4).

Is it possible to use postcode sectors with OpenStreetMap? When I try to search with them it directs to the nearest postcode.

Many thanks,


asked 30 Mar '20, 14:01

WillMn's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

OpenStreetMap doesn't generally have postcode sectors mapped.

However, when you ask "is it possible to use postcode sectors with OpenStreetMap" - you can use any geographic data with OSM. It's all just latitudes and longitudes. OSM isn't really a "mapping tool" or a platform, it's a database of mapping information that you can incorporate into other tools.

If you want to download postcode sector polygons for free, you can do so from .

If you provide more information on what you're actually trying to achieve, I'm sure people here will be happy to help further.

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answered 30 Mar '20, 14:29

Richard's gravatar image

Richard ♦
accept rate: 18%

We're looking at how to optimise how certain portable health units are assigned and the associated systems rely on postcode vectors, at a very early stage though.

Thanks a lot for your explanation and information, it's very helpful.

(31 Mar '20, 14:20) WillMn

Further to this, having uploaded MapIt's postcode sector polygons into, could anyone please tell me if it's possible to incorporate this information into OSM's directions feature? E.g. if I could get public transport directions to a particular location from the centrepoint of the upload postcode sector. Thanks!

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answered 06 Apr '20, 16:26

WillMn's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

please post this as a separate question. It is related to the first one, but a new one. OSM does not have a directions feature. What you see on is the integration of functionality offered by different providers: GraphHopper and OSRM. There are other routers based on OSM as well. You will to contact each of them and ask them to include those postcode sectors.

(08 Apr '20, 06:32) escada

Thanks Escada, that's very helpful. Will be sure to post new questions separately in future.

(09 Apr '20, 15:33) WillMn

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question asked: 30 Mar '20, 14:01

question was seen: 1,577 times

last updated: 09 Apr '20, 15:33

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum