The Vision of Britain site is designed primarily as a public resource for people interested mainly in local history, but the GB Historical GIS is also used for research projects into national topics like the origins of the north-south divide; the geography of infant mortality in the inter-war period, and its relationship with unemployment; and long-run trends in land use.

The system holds information computerised from a range of historical sources, but each of them can be seen as a kind of "geographical survey" of Britain, or at least a large part of the country.