How to Use

On this page we describe the information that can be displayed and downloaded through the web map site.

Alcohol and tobacco availability

We obtained the locations of all outlets in Scotland licensed to sell alcohol for consumption: on the premises (on-sales)1, off the premises (off-sales), and both (on-sales retailers combined with off-sales) from each local licensing board at the start of 2012 and 2016, as well as from the Police Scotland InnKeepers Database at the commencement of 2020. We also attained the locations of all active premises indexed in the Register of Tobacco and Nicotine Vapour Product Retailers at the start of 2012, 2016, and 2020.

These datasets were checked for errors (for duplications). Then, to estimate ‘availability’ we counted the number of each outlet type within each Data zone, standardising these counts per 1000 persons based on the resident population within each Data zone at each time point using the official mid-year population estimates.

As referenced, data on availability are complemented with data from the 2020 Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. More information on these data can be found by accessing the preceding hyperlink.

Getting started

Several drop down boxes are located to the left of the web map. These variously relate to the type of information you wish to look at, for example, Alcohol retailers, or Socio-demographics. Immediately below this level, on the drop-down menu, users then can select the specific attribute to be visualised, for example, On-trade Alcohol retailers. The year for which data of interest are to be mapped is then selected. And finally, users can select which of 14-levels of geography they wish to visualise the data.

Once the characteristic or attribute of interest, and its geography have been selected users can actively move around the webmap, zooming in and out (there is a radio bottom at the top left hand corner of the web map that provides the + and - zoom options). To enhance understanding of the information, the selected webmap should be considered in tandem with the information provided in the legend (situated to the left of the web-map).

The legend provides information on how to interpret the various colour graduations depicted on the map. Specifically, the legend encodes through colour ranking what level of, for example Tobacco availability a specific area has. In the example relating to Tobacco availability, ‘dark red’ depicts areas that have a high number of outlets retailing tobacco per 1000 persons, whereas ‘light yellow’ depicts areas with relatively low numbers of outlets retailing tobacco per 1000 persons. Accompanying the legend, is a description of how each of the area indicators was measured, for example ‘number of outlets per 1000 persons’.

In addition, by clicking within the boundaries of an explicit area, for example, a specific Data zone or Local Authority, a text box will appear containing information that provides both unique information about the ‘attribute’ of interest for that given area, as well as relative information that allows users to compare and contrast that area’s attribute status against others.

Area boundaries

The various area boundaries that can be shown on the map (for example Data zones, Local Authorities) can all be downloaded from sources such as Metadata Portal, Scotland’s catalogue of spatial data, for use in mapping software such as QGIS.


CRESH has taken all reasonable care to ensure the information portrayed and made available through the web map is accurate. CRESH takes no responsibility for the consequences of error or for any loss or damage suffered by users of any of the information published on any of these pages, and such information does not form any basis of a contract with readers or users of it.

It is in the nature of web sites, many of which are experimental or constantly changing, that information published may be for test purposes only, and may be out of date. Users should aim verify information gained from the web as appropriate before relying on it.

  1. The ‘On-sales only’ category includes any retailers that concurrently retail alcohol for consumption off-site.