Ellie Owen, holding a data tracker used in the FAME project, Colonsay, Scotland

Mapping and GIS

The conservation work of the RSPB is reliant on the application of up to date, accurate data.

We collect and analyse vast amounts of data each year which are then shared with other organisations around the world to ensure that the best decisions are made for wildlife.

GIS at the RSPB

We have a dedicated team of GIS and data specialists who work on preparing and presenting our conservation data.

Using specialist software, we conduct geospatial analysis of data to investigate geographic patterns. Analysed data outputs are mapped, and where appropriate are made available for wider use from the download area.

The GIS team maintains a definitive set of our reserve boundaries and other land holdings which can also be downloaded. The RSPB currently holds around 11 million species records, which fall into the following broad categories:

  • Annual monitoring of rare/sensitive species, such as bitterns and corncrakes
  • National surveys of scarce and/or restricted species such as the 2015 Golden Eagle national survey
  • Reserves monitoring data, including non-avian species of conservation interest
  • Citizen science data, such as the swift survey
  • Regional monitoring of priority species, such as hen harrier monitoring in the Forest of Clunie SPA

Many of these datasets are made available through the National Biodiversity Network Gateway, from where you can request access. If the data you require is not available on the NBN, a bespoke data request can be made from the Accessing RSPB GIS data page.


Date: 24 July 2017. ZIP, 37.26Mb

IBAs zip file (including GIS data)

Date: 24 July 2017. Zip, 199Kb

RSPB Northern Ireland Reserves 2017

Date: 24 July 2017. Zip, 1.37Mb

RSPB England Reserves 2017

Date: 24 July 2017. Zip, 2.87Mb

RSPB UK Reserves 2017

Date: 24 July 2017. Zip, 298Kb

RSPB Wales Reserves 2017

Date: 24 July 2017. Zip, 1.07Mb

RSPB Scotland Reserves 2017

Accessing our data

We're committed to making our biodiversity data available to all audiences so conservation and development decisions are made on the basis of the highest quality data possible.

The RSPB believes the only limits to the free provision of data should be where this may cause harm to the species or sites in question.

Where to find RSPB GIS data

The RSPB is committed to making the data which it collects available through the National Biodiversity Network (NBN). This should be the first point of call for all RSPB data.

If the data which you require are not yet available through the NBN, or if you require a higher level of access to data on the NBN, you will be asked to complete a data request form providing further details of how these data will be used. We will use this information to make a decision about releasing the data at better resolution.

It may not be considered suitable to supply sensitive data at its original resolution, in which case lower resolution data may be supplied. Those who use data for conservation purposes, such as staff of conservation organisations, are given a higher basic level of access to sensitive RSPB data than the general public.

Data sensitivity is determined in line with the guidance developed in consultation with the Rare Breeding Birds Panel for the new Atlas of Breeding Birds.

Partnership Data

We regularly work in partnership with other conservation organisations and government departments. One or more of the partners will be designated as the dataset distributor, having agreed conditions for data access with the other partners. Where the RSPB is not the dataset distributor, we will refer any requests for that dataset to the distributing partner.


No charge will be levied for data which are to be used for conservation purposes. Where the data are to be used for commercial purposes, for example in a consultancy report, a charge may be levied to cover the cost of the time taken to extract and process the data. This is levied at a rate of £150 for the first hour and £75 for each subsequent hour, plus VAT.

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