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9 May 2016

A major milestone for Orbis

Content team

In AD 20, Roman statesman Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa's game-changing Orbis Terrarum was posthumously published. Only reconstructions remain but Agrippa's map set the cartographic scene for centuries.

Most telling in Agrippa's interpretation of the world was his focus on the strategic at the expense of geographical accuracy. In contrast to Greek culture at that time, creating a practical tool for military expansion was all that he and his imperial colleagues were interested in.

Business analysis strategy

So with strategy in mind, it's not too great a leap to mention in the same breath Bureau van Dijk's Orbis, a database of private companies from around the world.

Built with similar – if not military – objectives in mind, Orbis is designed to aid users' strategy, be it in assessing credit risk, compliance, business development or any number of other tasks that need access to accurate and easy-to-interpret information on private companies, their financials, their directors and their corporate ownership structures.


Last month, almost exactly 2000 years after Agrippa's Orbis was first made available on a stone interface, our very own tablet-friendly Orbis hit the 220 million-company mark.

Orbis coverage

We hope you'll excuse such grand comparisons, as we're very proud of reaching this milestone, and it's not been without hard graft.

The story behind this

How have we managed it?

In the past year, we've both sourced new information providers, and new content from existing partners, and we've expanded in places like Latin America, coverage of which has tripled, and in China.

"We're constantly proactive about new data sources," says Louise Green, Bureau van Dijk's global marketing director. "There's a real appetite for international company information and we're working to deliver it."

It's a story that goes back to the 1990s, for which we provide an absorbing overview in our recent white paper, Untangling the world of private company information.

The white paper discusses the availability of private company information around the world, examining:

  • Why different countries have such varied filing requirements;
  • The influence of "open" and "closed" cultures; and
  • The complex process of gathering data.

Its appendix details the private company filing requirements of a selection of economically and historically significant countries.

Download the full white paper.

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Content team, Bureau van Dijk

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How Bureau van Dijk can help you

Certainty is a highly-prized commodity in business. Data might be getting bigger all the time, but this only makes extracting value from it more difficult.

In capturing and treating private company information we aim to give you more certainty – and help you make better decisions and work more efficiently.



Our solutions are designed to help different business challenges and streamline your workflow. Many of our customers blend our information with their own internal data to get a more complete picture of the companies in their ecosystem.

Try our more certain approach –
welcome to the business of certainty.