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InSPIRe. Australian initiatives for standardising statistical processes and metadata Simon Wall Australian Bureau of Statistics December 2012. Challenges facing NSIs. Riding the big data wave. New competitors & changing expectations. Increasing cost & difficulty of acquiring data.

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Australian initiatives for standardising statistical processes and metadata

Simon Wall

Australian Bureau of Statistics

December 2012

Challenges facing NSIs

Riding the big data wave

New competitors & changing expectations

Increasing cost & difficulty of acquiring data

Competition for skilled resources



Rapid changes in the environment

Challenges facing ABS

  • Reduce the cost and time of doing business

  • Grow the business through new statistical products and services

  • Deliver the first large scale digital Census (2016) on time, to budget and quality

  • while delivering Business As Usual.

How will we get there?

  • Through large scale Innovation across the whole ABS

  • We will:

    • radically transform the way we acquire, collate, use, reuse and disseminate statistical information

  • By:

    • industrialising, modernising and reengineering our business processes

    • reengineering our statistical infrastructure and the way we manage information

    • develop capability needed to meet future needs

    • Collaborating with other international NSIs

What is inspire
What is InSPIRe?

  • Infrastructure for Statistical Process and Information Management Re-engineering

  • Building core infrastructure in the ABS for:

    • Business Process management

    • Information management

  • SWM

    • Statistical Workflow Management System

  • MRR

    • Metadata Registry and Repository


  • The Statistical Workflow Management System

  • An environment that will be used to develop and manage common business processes

    • These processes can drive and/or be used by tools and applications.


  • The Metadata Registry and Repository consists of two parts:

    • Repository

      • The centralised ‘bucket’ to store standards based metadata.

    • Registry

      • The catalogue that lets you find out what is in the repository.


  • Registers and stores a wide range of information, including:

    • Metadata (i.e. Classifications, Variables, etc)

    • Data – registered in MRR, stored in EDW

    • Process Definitions and Paradata – information to run a process

    • Process Metrics – information about a process that was run.


  • The MRR

    • Enforces registration of the information, ensuring consistent documentation

    • Reads information in a range of standard supported metadata formats

      • (initially DDI and SDMX)

    • Re-issues metadata in whatever standard format is required by a given process.

      • Regardless of the format in which the metadata was originally created in.

    • This information is stored for use and later re-use by the metadata driven processes in SWM

    • Enables the searching and discovery of metadata for re-use.


  • Processes and Systems will interact with the MRR through a web service interface that supports a controlled set of standards.

    • Currently limited to DDI 3.1 and SDMX 2.1


User Interface



Business Process





Benefits of inspire
Benefits of InSPIRe

  • Basis for greater automation and reuse of processes and metadata

    • Faster to market

      • For individual collections

      • For building new collections

  • Cheaper to market (long term)

    • For individual collections

    • For building new collections

Progress so far
Progress so far…

  • Proof of Concept Project (2010/2011)

    • A group of simple use cases to prove the idea of the MRR and SWMs.

  • Demonstrating:

    • Benefits

    • Potential functionality

    • What is technically achievable

  • Building capability


  • Pathfinder Integration (July 2012)

    • Expanded on PoC

    • ‘Pathfinder’ projects to produce further use cases for the MRR and SWMs.

      • Not end-to-end processes, but isolated ‘snap shot’ projects to demonstrate the capabilities of InSPIRe.

  • Four pathfinders chosen

    • Including web data capture (e-forms) and REEM (Remote Execution Environment for Microdata)

Reem and web data capture pathfinders
REEM and Web Data Capture Pathfinders

  • Proved integration with real ABS systems

  • Demonstrated the benefits of integration with InSPIRe, namely:

    • Re-use of processes (in SWM)

    • Standards based metadata (DDI in MRR) driving business tools

    • Automating business processes (in SWM)

Early adopter projects
Early Adopter Projects

  • Projects which are positioning to integrate with InSPIRe within the next 12 months.

    • Includes projects focusing on administrative data, e-forms and the 2016 Census.

  • Suitable candidates to prove the operation InSPIRe.

    • implementing processes in different phases of the GSBPM.

What we have achieved so far
What we have achieved so far

  • MRR

    • Design and review, mappers, shredders, database, automated generation of metadata types, basic search, registry model

  • SWM

    • Environment setup, test cases with projects

  • Capability Development

    • Best practice guidelines for implementing DDI, metadata content guidelines, InSPIRe integration information packs

What we still have to do
What we still have to do

  • MRR

    • Production version

  • SWM

    • Further process definition, integration with other projects

  • Metadata Authoring Environment

    • A mechanism for:

      • Taking existing metadata content and registering it in the MRR

      • Creating new metadata content via a content creation tool and registering it in the MRR

The future an example

The future…An example

Survey Designer

Data Collection




Web form

Content Creation Tool