Quality assuring adding value to the 2001 census output area classification
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Quality Assuring & Adding Value to the 2001 Census Output Area Classification. Dan Vickers & Phil Rees Centre for Spatial Analysis and Policy School of Geography University of Leeds. Paper presented at the Third International Population Geography Conference Liverpool 19 th -21 st June 2006.

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Quality Assuring & Adding Value to the 2001 Census Output Area Classification

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Quality assuring adding value to the 2001 census output area classification

Quality Assuring & Adding Value to the 2001 Census Output Area Classification

Dan Vickers & Phil Rees

Centre for Spatial Analysis and Policy

School of Geography

University of Leeds

Paper presented at the Third International Population Geography Conference

Liverpool 19th-21st June 2006


What is the area classification

What is the Area Classification?

  • Puts the 223,060 Output Areas from the 2001 UK Census into groups of similarity based on their attributes for 41 census variables.

  • Output Areas are the smallest geography available from the 2001 Census, comprising from an average of 264 people and 110 households.


Where is it available

Where is it available?

  • The classification is available from multiple sources:

  • From the ONS at: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/about/methodology_by_theme/area_classification/default.asp

  • Can also be ordered on CD by emailing [email protected]

  • From my homepage: http://www.geog.leeds.ac.uk/people/d.vickers/OAclassinfo.html


Where is it available1

Where is it available?

  • The classification is available from multiple sources:

  • Casweb http://census.ac.uk/casweb/

    Can be added to any downloaded dataset as a zone attribute.

  • UK Borders http://edina.ac.uk/ukborders/

    Available to download with GIS boundary files for mapping.


What is being done with oac

What is being done with OAC?

  • GeoView – Incorporation of OAC with Google Earth system, Paul Longley, Mike Batty and Richard Milton UCL.

  • Uncertainty, Peter Fisher City University.

  • Expansion to a further three levels, Martin Callingham Birkbeck College.

  • Access to Education Classification, Alex Singleton UCL.

  • Changing patterns over time, Dan Vickers University of Leeds/Sheffield.


Who else is using oac

Who else is using OAC?

  • Camden LB, Tower Hamlets LB, Barking & Dagenham LB, Kensington & Chelsea LB,GLA, Bristol City Council, Derby City Council, Bradford Council, Suffolk CC, West of England local intelligence network, London Strategy Executive.

  • London Health Observatory, Thames Valley Strategic Health Authority, Manchester joint Health Unit, North West Health Observatory, Diocese of Coventry.

  • Woolworths, E-on (Powergen), Yell.com, Bell Hanson ltd, Pfizer, Abbey, Wegener DM, SAGA, Boots, Hospital Plan Insurance ltd, BusinessKen ltd, The Housing Vision, TNS.

  • University of Surrey, UCL, City, UWE, Cornwall College, University of Nottingham.


The problem

The Problem

  • How do we know it’s right, or at least a reasonable representation of reality.

  • Little none census data at OA scale to compare classification with.

  • Can check against areas which I know well through local knowledge and groundtruthing, however this far from a comprehensive at the UK scale.


Groundtruthing

Groundtruthing

  • Groundtruthing exercises were conducted in locations across the UK.

    • Visited specific locations taking photos to record the nature of each area

    • Photos available via my homepage

      http://www.geog.leeds.ac.uk/people/d.vickers/OAclassinfo.html

  • Groundtruthing exercise also conducted using undergraduate students on fieldtrip to Bangor North Wales.


User consultation

User Consultation

  • A consultation exercise was devised to fill in the blanks left by the goundtruthing.

  • Academics, local government officers and other professionals with a demographic background were invited to take part.

  • Participants were asked to give postcode(s) of area(s) they know well e.g. home address, work address, previous home.


User consultation1

User Consultation

  • Shaded colours represent each of the 7 super-group types

  • Overlaid on OS 1:50,000 mapping

  • Red triangle represents specified location


User consultation2

Colours on the map to be linked to names.

E.g. A4, B7, C1 etc.

User Consultation


Consultation results

Consultation Results

  • 61 people specified 89 locations across the UK.

  • Ranging between 4 and 12 locations in each region/country of the UK.


Consultation results1

The results

Where the respondents live

Consultation Results


Teaching resource

Teaching Resource

“There’s probably a lecture example on geodemographics and lifestyle classifiers in there somewhere...” (Respondent qa38).

“I wonder if it would be possible to use this technique as a teaching tool, once the classifications are finalised? I am sure it would make a great teaching resource for CHCC [Collection of Historical and Contemporary Census Data and Related Materials] if you could automate the map production once a postcode is entered?” (Respondent qa1).


Life course and change over time

Life course and change over time

“An interesting exercise, which tells my own life history - I grew up in 'typical traits'; went off to be a student; as a postgrad I rented a room also in 'typical traits' before as a young academic buying a small terraced house in 'city centre melting pot'. After a few years I moved on to a house in 'typical traits' and a few years ago finally arrived in 'comfortable suburban estates'. You could probably classify life-histories according to transition through these profiles!” (Respondent qa38).

“Can you create the same for 1991 and show us change?!” (Respondent qa13).


Preconceptions and idealisation of home

Preconceptions and Idealisation of Home

“Both areas on my piece of map should be group E as they are both ‘Idyllic Countryside’” (Respondent qa36)

“OA [withheld] is classified as A and should really be E, this OA is just over the Bristol Suspension Bridge and is definitely not average!” (Respondent qa39).


Distinguishing the function of an area from its residential pattern

Distinguishing the Function of an Area from its residential Pattern

“While at such a level no mapping is going to be perfect, the map provided put very different land covers together into single clusters. For example, on the map provided, large industrial areas were clustered together with comfortable suburban developments.” (respondent qa54).

“I’m surprised that Headingley [an area of Leeds heavily populated by students] appears to be in the same category as the city centre” (Respondent qa44).


The value of the consultation

The Value of the Consultation

  • The consultation had two functions, quality assurance of the product and solicitation of suggestions for improvement.

  • The results of the quality assurance, we suggest, show the National Statistics Classification is fit for purpose.

  • We have implemented a number of the suggestions of respondents in the final product and incorporated others in our research agenda. We believe that incorporating consultation into the research process has considerable value and should ensure a longer shelf life for the research product.


Thank you

Thank you

[email protected]

[email protected]


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