GfK Europe Map Edition 2015/2016 depicts current administrative and postcode boundaries
Europe in transition: Maps reflect demographic and political changes
GfK has released its Europe Map Edition 2015/2016, which reflects the thousands of regional changes that have occurred in Europe over the past year. The digital maps of administrative and postal regions comprise the foundation for location-based analyses, or geomarketing, for companies across all industries.
GfK updated the approximately one thousand digital maps in the GfK Europe Map Edition to reflect the latest status. The maps have been supplemented with numerous regional levels. One of these enhancements includes an increase in the level of detail, particularly along coastlines and in cities. The maps offer comprehensive coverage down to Europe's most detailed postcode and administrative levels – the five-digit postcodes and municipalities, respectively. GfK's geomarketing experts have also calculated 2015 data on regional purchasing power, inhabitants and households.
Demographic, economic and political changes pose challenges to government and postal organizations across Europe. Fluctuations due to moving residents as well as long-term demographic and economic changes necessitate reforms to ensure boundary structures meet current and future demand.
"Efficiency is a political and economic imperative in today's administrative and postal organizations," explains Klaus Dittmann, head of cartography in GfK's geomarketing solution area. "For this reason, hundreds of regions such as municipalities and postcodes are adjusted each year in every European country so these organizations can operate efficiently and provide better service. These changes are reflected in the administrative and postcode maps that we update every year to ensure our customers have a reliable basis for their business analyses."
An up-to-date cartographic basis is a prerequisite for carrying out market analyses in companies from all industries. Outdated postcode boundaries are problematic, because this is the means by which address-based company and market data is linked to and visualized on digital maps. For example, if the postcode of a company site changes, any turnover generated by this site would be attributed to the wrong postcode if outdated boundary data is used.
There have been changes to every European country's postcode and administrative levels; in total, these changes number in the thousands. Some examples of the more comprehensive changes:
- municipality level: 45 boundary changes
- 4-digit postcode level: 40 boundary changes
The administrative and postcode boundaries were newly rendered on the basis of official and more detailed sources. All boundaries are now accurate to within 50 meters (admin. boundaries) or 10 meters (postcode boundaries).
The administrative boundaries of the federal states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Berlin were newly rendered on the basis of official vector data from the respective regional authorities. The maximum boundary deviation is now less than 5 meters. Postcode boundaries are now accurate down to the level of individual houses.
- municipality level: 49 municipalities were dissolved and 4 were newly created. This reduced the number of municipalities from 11,212 (as of 01.01.2014) to 11,167 (as of 01.01.2015). Due to annexations and neighborhood redistricting, boundaries have changed for 31 municipalities, new names have been assigned to 2 municipalities and new ID numbers have been assigned to 6 municipalities.
- 5-digit postcode level: The postcodes have been updated using the latest data from the Greek postal service. This changed the number of postcodes from 1,089 (2014) to 937 (2015). 184 postcodes were dissolved and 32 were newly created.
- administrative levels: The adjustment of the postcode level affected all administrative layers; there were a total of around 70 boundary changes to municipalities and communities.
- There were a total of around 80 boundary changes to the postcode districts and postcode sectors.
The administrative and postcode boundaries were newly rendered on the basis of official and more detailed sources. This changed the maximum boundary deviation from 250 meters to 10 meters.
- municipality level: 5 new and 14 dissolved, 11 boundary changes
- 5-digit postcode level: 10 dissolved, 11 new, 11 boundary changes
- 5-digit postcode level: There have been changes to around 20 percent of this postcode level – 104 dissolutions and 10 boundary changes.
- 4-digit postcode level: 14 new and 2 dissolved
- municipality level: 12 dissolved, 2 new, 8 boundary changes
- municipality level: 18 name changes, 10 boundary changes
- 4-digit postcode level: 250 boundary changes, 10 dissolved and 4 new postcodes, 7 name changes
All maps for Poland were completely re-digitized. This changed the maximum boundary deviation from 50 meters to 25 meters (in rural areas) and to around 10 meters in Warsaw.
- 5-digit postcode level: The postcodes in Warsaw were completely re-digitized. There were 28 new and 158 dissolved postcodes, 7 name changes and many boundary changes.
- municipality level: 283 dissolved municipalities and 31 new municipalities; around 92 ID changes and 90 name changes
- administrative levels: The boundaries were newly rendered using official and highly detailed sources. This changed the maximum boundary deviation from 300 meters to 10 meters.
- postcode levels: The postcodes in the city of București were completely re-digitized.
The 5-digit postcodes were overhauled using new sources from the Czech land registry office. For this reason, there were countless boundary changes that affected all administrative and postcode layers.
- municipality level: 868 boundary corrections
- districts: 56 boundary corrections
- 5-digit postcode level: 706 boundary changes, 93 name changes, 2 dissolved and 2 new postcodes
The administrative and postcode boundaries were newly rendered using official and highly detailed sources. This changed the maximum boundary deviation from 250 meters to 10 meters.
- municipality level: 2 new, 16 name changes, 1 name correction
- 5-digit postcode level: 17 dissolved and 63 new postcodes
All boundaries were newly rendered on the basis of official vector data from the Swiss authorities. The maximum deviation from the precise (real-world) position now corresponds to less than 5 meters. Postcode boundaries are now accurate down to the level of individual houses.
- municipality level: A total of 34 municipalities were dissolved and 9 were newly created. This changed the number of municipalities from 2,363 to 2,338 (as of 01.01.2015).
- postcode levels: Due to new sources, the postcode map was changed by around 80 percent. 977 postcodes were dissolved and 521 new postcodes were created; there were also 1,287 name corrections and boundary changes.
- The boundary changes to the 5-digit postcodes affect all administrative layers.
- municipality level: 40 boundary changes
- 4-digit postcode level: 140 boundary changes and one new postcode
NUTS regions: new system as of 01.01.2015
The Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics (NUTS) was created by Eurostat in order to provide a unified classification of regional units for the compilation of regional statistics for the European Union. This standard is updated in intervals every three to four years to reflect regional administrative changes.
- new NUTS3 structure in Greece, Croatia, Portugal, Poland, Slovenia and partially new structure in Germany (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) and Great Britain
- new NUTS2 structure in Greece and Croatia and partially new structure in Great Britain; new IDs in Slovenia; name changes in Turkey and Albania
The approximately 1,000 maps for the 42 European countries are available in all standard map formats, including *.shp (ESRI), *.tab (MapInfo), *.lay (RegioGraph) and Oracle Spatial. In addition to maps of the postcode and administrative levels, the country map editions also include topographic details such as streets, bodies of water and city points categorized by number of inhabitants. All maps are vector-based and consequently offer infinite zoom and flexible viewing options.
Additional information on GfK's digital maps can be found at
Print-quality illustrations can be found here.
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