GSS geography champions

Geography champions work across the Government Statistical Service (GSS) to improve statistics containing geographical information.

Their main responsibilities are to:

  • ensure compliance with the GSS Geography Policy, including geographic referencing and coding standards
  • raise standards in visualisation and use of mapping tools
  • facilitate knowledge sharing
  • promote innovation

The network is chaired by the geography champion from the Office for National Statistics. This champion reports back to the Regional and Geography Committee.

Want to be a geography champion?

Each government department can nominate a geography champion (or several champions) to work with a network of geography champions across the GSS who meet on a quarterly basis.

If you would like to be a geography champion please email:

Please read the privacy notice for champions before you sign up.


The purpose of the geography champions network is to improve the way in which statistical outputs with geographical information are reported across the GSS.

One specific aim is to help ensure statistical outputs comply with the GSS Geography Policy, including common geographic referencing and coding standards. Another is to raise the standards of associated products including visualisations and maps.

The network will also facilitate knowledge sharing and innovation with regards to geographies across the GSS.

The work of the geography champions network applies to all statistical products, datasets and data tables produced and published across the GSS, either regularly or irregularly.


The role of a geography champion is:

  • to raise awareness of the geography policy within their department and to provide advice and support regarding compliance with it
  • to flag up the availability of a “geography health check” service where the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will check statistical outputs comply with the geography policy
  • to work with the quality champion for their department and keep each other aware of relevant activities and compliance work
  • to flag up any issues regarding compliance with the geography policy with the ONS  geography champion who is responsible for promoting and monitoring use of the geography policy so that support and advice can be offered
  • to share good practice and news of improvements in geographical reporting for statistical outputs

The role of the ONS geography champion is:

  • to coordinate the geography champion network, including arranging meetings and compiling a quarterly update
  • to provide support and assistance to the other geography champions to assist them in undertaking their role, including visiting departments to undertake a presentation and/or meet with staff
  • to keep geography champions informed about any changes to the geography policy or geography guidance
  • to maintain the geography champion network online presence
  • to report back to the Regional and Geography Committee at its biannual meetings
  • to make other GSS geography interest groups, such as the Central Government Geography Interest Group, aware of the geography champion network


The group membership will consist of representatives from departments across the GSS responsible for statistical outputs.


The main benefit to statistical producers is an increase in compliance with the geography policy and Code of Practice for Statistics with regards to the provision of common geographic referencing and coding standards. The network should also lead to  greater innovation and increased knowledge sharing.

The main benefit to statistical users is greater consistency across the GSS with regard to common geographic referencing and coding standards, leading to greater interoperability. This will allow users to incorporate datasets into their own management or Geographic Information System (GIS) and to use GSS datasets in conjunction with other datasets.


In scope:

  • To advise and encourage teams responsible for statistical outputs to follow the principles set out in the geography policy
  • To promote good practice
  • To facilitate discussion and knowledge sharing

Out of scope:

  • Enforcement of the GSS Geography Policy

It is not the intention for the ONS geography champion or the other geography champions to seek to enforce geography policy compliance, but rather to promote good practice and to offer support and advice so compliance with the policy is made easier.


The primary form of communication between the ONS geography champion and the other geography champions will be by email, meetings which take place twice a year and quarterly updates. There may also be opportunities to hold events or workshops for geography champions.


Government Geography Profession (GGP)