Geostat initiative

GEOSTAT initiative

The GEOSTAT initiative was taken jointly by Eurostat and the National Statistical Institutes to establish a data and production infrastructure for geospatial statistics. This infrastructure is to be defined and designed through a series of ESSnet projects, the GEOSTAT projects.

The infrastructure will become an integral part of the ESS's existing statistical data infrastructure. The idea is to incorporate the production of geospatial statistics into the various phases of the Generic Statistical Business Process Model (GSBPM), which provides the framework for the production of official statistics. The European Spatial Data Infrastructure (INSPIRE) will be another key element in geo-enabling statistical production.

GEOSTAT's main goal is to support NSIs in setting up their data, methods, and production systems to achieve a fully geocoded 2021 census. All census output should be aggregated from geocoded point-based information, providing sufficient flexibility to publish statistics for any type of territorial classification, including grids.



When GEOSTAT was set up, the main goal was to showcase the huge potential of geospatial statistics by producing a new dataset based on existing data.

Eurostat and the European Forum for Geography and Statistics (EFGS) launched GEOSTAT 1 in 2010 in order to map the 2011 census on an EU-wide population grid. Several national statistical institutes leading in grid statistics suggested making use of the fact that most 2011 census information was already geocoded. A wall-to-wall ESS-wide population grid, combining different production methods, including disaggregation, was produced on the basis of this information, without any need to create new microdata.

The result is the GEOSTAT 2011 grid dataset, which contains national population grid information from 29 EU and EFTA countries. The data can be downloaded and used free of charge for non-commercial purposes. In addition, a generic methodology for producing statistical grids has been developed.

The GEOSTAT 2011 grid has already been used in various statistical production processes, including the definition of the 'Degree of Urbanisation' territorial classification. Several sets of ESS methodological guidelines refer to the population grid. This shows the usefulness of grid statistics as an additional territorial output system for statistics.


GEOSTAT 2 is the follow-up project, which seeks to create a standardised point-based geospatial reference framework for statistics. The framework is to be based on geocoded address, building and dwelling registers and would enable many of the data sources used for official statistics, including sample frames, to be geocoded. The project started in 2014 and will continue until the spring of 2016.

One of GEOSTAT's functions is community and capacity building, in cooperation with the European Forum for Geography and Statistics. The two most visible elements of this are the annual European Forum for Geography and Statistics (EFGS) conference and the EFGS website.