Mapping for local projects


We’ve been working with maps for 25 years now, so it’s a pleasant surprise when we receive requests we’ve never had before.

Recently, we were contacted by a company responsible for organising charity door knockers. They needed A4 printed maps of postcode sectors to pass to ground staff showing street level detail. This would enable them to use maps at a local level to plan fundraising routes and clearly define territories for each agent. Historically, they were using a map maker to manually create these, however as the company grew, this was becoming too time consuming and expensive.

Even working at our fastest to a set template, we could manually create a map perhaps every 5 minutes. At this rate covering a quarter of the 9,544 postal sectors in the UK would take around 200 hours or 28 full days (assuming a 7 hour working day). Fortunately, we already have automated processes in place to mass-produce maps based off templates in our GIS, Prospex, so we set to work making the modifications for this project.


The map template we used was as follows:

  • Centred and named by the postcode sector
  • Neighbouring sectors slightly faded out with boundaries shown
  • Lowest level of background map applied
  • Household count for the sector included


We conducted a few test runs and found that scalability was becoming an issue. Sectors in cities are typically 0 - 4 mi2, which produces a detailed map like this:

DN2 5 example postcode sector map

HA1 1 example postcode sector map.

We decided to split the sectors in 2 batches, standard sizes and large (anything greater than 8mi2) and set the exported maps to run. The standard maps looked great and printed well at A4, typically showing detail of street names. The resolution was even high enough to print at A3 if required.


The large maps were exported as 8 x A4 images. We then used a seperate in-house program to rejoin the images to 1 high resolution large sector (meaning we could print it up to A2 print scale). Digitally, this image could be zoomed in on and remain detailed enough for street name level. This image “stitching” function is one specialty of our Prospex GIS, but we were able to do this on the client’s behalf without them needing to invest in a full geographic information system.


Finally, we hosted all 9,243 maps on our unlimited cloud storage and categorised into sub folders of areas (YO), the client could easily access and download the images when required. These maps are now available to draw upon whenever the client needs them, whether that is to prospect in a new area or recruit and train a new fundraiser.


The images remain generic and stocking an image for every postcode sector in the UK with detail down to street level can be beneficial for all kinds of users. Now that we have done the hard work, we can make these maps available for anyone to use, whether to illustrate a local area for a community group or project, or even just to decorate a wall with a detailed image of the neighbourhood. If you’d like one for your area, please get in touch and we can share a free sample.

Our other blogs

Google Fusion Tables

After almost 10 years of service, Google are to retire their Fusion Tables product at the end of 2019. This tool was very useful got visualising and sharing large amounts of tabular data - particularly amongst small and mid-sized businesses. So what can we do to fill the gap left by this tool?

Yorkshire Day

As a Yorkshire-based company, we wanted to help celebrate Yorkshire Day, which takes place on 1st August. Naturally, we wanted to put a geographic spin on the celebration, so we took a look at drinking preferences within God’s own county.

Meet the team: Toby

Toby, our Sales Executive, gives a retrospective of his time teaching, and learning about Beacon Dodsworth's GIS solutions.

Household spend on fruit and vegetables

Using GIS mapping to visualise, analyse and present data in a geographical context.

Mapping GP prescription data

An article by Allan Brimicombe (Head of Centre for Geo-Information Studies at the University of East London) & Pat Mungroo on using GP prescription data to understand health needs.

Cycle to work day

Each year for #cycletoworkday we take a look at cycling statistics across the country and try to map that data and find interesting trends. This is mainly because we at Beacon Dodsworth are either a little bit obsessed about cycling, or we tend to worry about the environment.

Administrative Geography

Administrative geography is a way of dividing the country into smaller sub-divisions or areas that correspond with the area of responsibility of local authorities and government bodies. It provides an alternative to postcode geography but because it tends not to be used by consumers, it is often overlooked. We take a look at administrative geography, what it is and how to use it.

Mapping for local projects

Recently, we were contacted by a company responsible for organising charity door knockers. They needed more than 9,000 postcode sectors mapped at A4 size to pass to ground staff showing street level detail. This would enable them to use maps at a local level to plan fundraising routes and clearly define territories for each agent.

Who spends most on Fruit and Veg

National Vegetarian Week (#NationalVegetarianWeek) this year runs from 13th to 19th May. What better opportunity to highlight how GIS mapping can be used to create marketing campaigns and raise awareness of the benefits of eating more fruit and veg.

The foundations of geographical analysis

Displaying data on maps makes it easier to understand as well as giving a new perspective on a problem. Using a GIS to prepare and present data has become increasingly popular over the last 20 years, but graphical displays of data on maps were around long before computers came along.

Social change over 10 years

The next census isn’t due to take place until 2021 so we thought it was a good time to take stock of some of the changes and trends we noticed between the 2001 and the 2011 census. What difference does 10 years make to our society and the people that live within it?

What is geodemographic profiling?

More than 64 million people live in the UK, each with their own outlook, priorities, needs and way of life. Geodemographic profiling offers a way to group these individuals to try and identify the right audience for your product or service.

How to back up your Prospex data

Keep your GIS projects safe by using the in-built Prospex back up process. Here is how.

Using geographic intelligence to grow the UK’s broadband network

Using geographic intelligence to sustainably grow the UK’s broadband network.

The power of postcode sectors

Postcode sectors are aggregations of individual postcodes and they provide meaningful geographical reporting areas in any GIS. However, they aren't as easy to map as you might think. Here is how we do it.

Living Costs and Food Survey

The Living Costs and Food survey (LCF) is compiled every year and is used by the UK and European governments, Department for Transport (DfT), and Her Majesty’s Revenue and the Customs (HMRC). But what is it, and why should we care?

How far is it to the beach

Using Beacon Dodsworth's scripting technology to showcase demographic and geographic trends.

All you need to know about postcodes but were afraid to ask

The humble postcode has been around for years. We look at how postcodes are used and what led to their introduction.

Where is the North

We've used the territory manager tool in Prospex GIS to split the UK into north, south and east and west with equal population counts.

What is GIS software?

A Geographical Information System (GIS), is a tool for analysing, visualising, managing and presenting data that is related to a physical, geographical location. That link to geography is the key difference between GIS and other data visualisation techniques.

Geodemographics and the University of East London

The University of East London explain how they have been using our P² People & Places geodemographic classification.

Postcode to postcode drive time and distance

What happens if we want a postcode to postcode drive time lookup table?

What has the census ever done for us?

How Census 2011 can be used to help organisations with demographic analysis.

Get in touch
Call  01904 701020, complete   or