Improvements to Local Insight to help save you time

One part of our current development plan is to improve Local Insight so you spend less time searching for data and more time using data.

We are excited to introduce two new improvements that enable you to:

  • Search for indicators on the map more easily
  • Identify your areas with ease using MSOA names 

Search for indicators on the map more easily

One of our users described Local Insight as their ‘Data Dictionary’. We love this description as it captures the breadth of data available in the tool (over 1000 indicators in fact!). With so much data available, being able to find what you are looking for quickly is important.

We have added a search bar to the Data dropdown on the Map page so that you can hone in on what you are interested in, in far fewer clicks.

Data search bar

How to use

  1. Click on the Data button to open the menu of themes and their indicators 
  2. The search bar is at the top. Type in any text and the indicators that contain that string of text will be displayed under their theme heading
  3. Click on an indicator name to view it on the map
  4. To show the full menu of indicators again, delete the text in the search bar 

Please note: Not all indicators within Local Insight are shown within the Data menu by default. There are over 1000 datasets in Local Insight and the Group Admin user(s) select which ones are shown. If a user searches for an indicator that is available in Local Insight but not assigned to a theme then nothing will come up in the search.


Identify your areas with ease using MSOA names 

MSOAs are an integral geography in Local Insight. You can view indicators on the map at MSOA level and you can create custom areas out of MSOAs. However, MSOA codes are not easily recognisable – they are made up of two parts: The parent Local Authority and a string of numbers. For example, Westminster 018. 

Meaningful Names

The House of Commons Library has created a set of meaningful names for MSOAs (also available on an interactive map). We have added these names into Local Insight to make it easier for you to find the areas you are interested in. As part of this, we have also changed the LSOA names to incorporate the name of the parent MSOA to help you have a better idea of where the LSOA is located.


Previous MSOA code New MSOA names 
Westminster 018 Strand, St James & Mayfair – Westminster 018
Westminster 019 Knightsbridge, Belgravia & Hyde Park – Westminster 019
Westminster 020 Central Westminster – Westminster 020

Where can you see these new names?

The names can be found in two places on Local Insight: 

  • When hovering over areas on the map
  • When creating custom areas out of MSOA or LSOA areas


When hovering over areas on the map

  1. Choose an indicator from the Data button and select to display it on the map 
  2. Zoom in to view the data at either MSOA or LSOA level (the Info popup will inform you at which level you are viewing the data)
  3. Minimise the Info popup, and then hover over the areas on the map
  4. In the top right hand corner will be a small box that displays the MSOA/LSOA area name and the value for that area

MSOA hover


When creating custom areas out of MSOA or LSOA areas

In Local Insight, you can create areas made up of MSOAs and LSOAs. The new names will now display in the custom area creation popup. 

  1. Click Group Admin Manage custom areas
    1. Click Add custom area
    2. Select Custom Area Type Based on standard area
  2. Select to browse the list of MSOAs or LSOAs

MSOA names

Please note: Only Group Admin and Power Users can create custom areas in Local Insight.

If you are unfamiliar with the terms LSOA and MSOA, these are statistical geographies created for the Census. Read more about them in our blog: LSOAs, LEPs and lookups : A beginner’s guide to statistical geographies.

Get in touch!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us on or give us a call on 01273 810270