Integrated Hydrological Units of the United Kingdom View Service

This is a web map view service for the Integrated Hydrological Units (IHU) of the United Kingdom. The IHU define geographical reference units for hydrological purposes including river flow measurement and hydrometric data collection in the UK. The layers in this service represent the following component polygon layers: Hydrometric Areas with Coastline; Hydrometric Areas without Coastline; Groups; Sections; and Catchments. Each layer represents a different level of spatial detail.

The coarsest level, Hydrometric Areas, is provided in two versions to meet differing user needs. Each Hydrometric Area is made up of one or more Groups. Each Group carries a name constructed from names of the major river flowing through the Group, the major river flowing into the Group, the major river into which the Group flows, and in some cases also from local county names. Each Group is made up of smaller units called Sections. A Section is the drainage area of a watercourse between two confluences. Only confluences of named watercourses were considered. Similarly to Groups, each Section carries a name constructed from names of the major river flowing through the Section, the major river flowing into the Section, and the major river into which the Section flows. Catchments represent the full area upstream from an outlet of every Section. Polygons within each layer do not have gaps and, with the exception of Catchments, polygons within one layer do not overlap.

There are scale dependencies on this web map service which means that the Sections and Catchments layers are visible only at scales less than 1:250,000.

The Hydrometric Areas with Coastline layer covers Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but all other layers currently cover Great Britain only as no dataset with river geometries and names with suitable detail is available for Northern Ireland.

Publication date: 2015-03-02


Study area

Other contacts

Point Of Contact
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Maclean Building, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Giffor
OX10 8BB
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Environmental Information Data Centre
Environmental Information Data Centre


Spatial reference system
OSGB 1936 / British National Grid
WGS 84


Other keywords
CEH Topic
Place keywords
United Kingdom
Great Britain

Dataset identifiers



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Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
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