Onthemap the census bureau s new tool for residence workplace analysis
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“OnTheMap” The Census Bureau’s New Tool for Residence-Workplace Analysis. Fredrik Andersson and Jeremy Wu May 7, 2007 Daytona Beach, FL. Overview of Presentation. Live demo of O nTheMap (Jeremy) The Disclosure Avoidance Protocol for OnTheMap (Fredrik)

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Onthemap the census bureau s new tool for residence workplace analysis

“OnTheMap” The Census Bureau’s New Tool for Residence-Workplace Analysis

Fredrik Andersson and Jeremy Wu

May 7, 2007

Daytona Beach, FL


Overview of presentation
Overview of Presentation

  • Live demo of OnTheMap (Jeremy)

  • The Disclosure Avoidance Protocol for OnTheMap (Fredrik)

  • Analytical validity and confidentiality protection (Fredrik)

  • Data Access (Fredrik)



www.census.gov (Local Employment Dynamics)http://lehd.did.census.gov


On The Map v.1LEHD’s online dynamic mapping tool

  • 17 states online

  • Completed 12/06

  • Where do workers live?

  • Where do people work?

  • Companion reports on age, earnings, and industry

  • First partial synthetic data product

  • User select areas

  • Block is base unit for display; block group is base unit for report

  • Modular geographic layers such as community colleges and zip codes





On The Map Version 2

  • Up to 44 LED partner states

  • Add 2004 data to 2002-2003 data

  • Cross-state patterns for all states

  • Enhanced multi-year reports

  • Additional geographies

  • Will become available in phases between April and September 2007



The Challenge: Maximize Analytical Validity of Data Subject to Strict Confidentiality Protection Constraints

Synthetic Data

Analytical Validity of Data

Cell Suppression

Degree of confidentiality protection


Basic facts about the disclosure protection system for onthemap
Basic Facts about the Disclosure Protection System for OnTheMap

  • Goal: “to protect confidentiality while preserving analytical validity of data”

    • No cell suppression

    • Synthetic place of residence data

    • Workplace data protected by QWI disclosure protection system (“dynamically consistent noise infusion”)

  • First-ever data product released by a Statistical Agency (Feb 2006) that relies on synthetic data method as its primary disclosure avoidance technique


Disclosure avoidance
Disclosure Avoidance OnTheMap

  • Bayesian statistical techniques to create a partially synthetic version of the confidential data

    • Block of origin counts sampled from a posterior predictive distribution conditional on destination block and worker characteristics (earnings, industry, age, ownership sector)

    • The posterior predictive distribution is derived from combining the likelihood (“true data”) with a prior

      So, what does this really mean???


Creation of synthetic data
Creation of Synthetic Data OnTheMap

Fictional example: Distribution of place of residence for workers in a specific block, industry, earnings category, age category, ownership sector

Q: Why not sample directly from the likelihood/What’s the role of a prior?

Q: How are the priors constructed?

Q: How much weight is given to the prior?


Key implication
Key Implication OnTheMap

  • The relative weight of the prior when sampling from the posterior distribution is inversely related to the size of the population being synthesized

    • For larger populations the synthetic place of residence data closely mimic underlying data

    • For small populations the synthetic place of residence data are relatively more “noisy” to protect confidentiality

      Important to keep in mind when making inferences using OnTheMap

      How “noisy” an estimate is can be assessed by taking advantage of all 10 implicates of the synthetic data available on the virtual RDC






4 data access
4. Data Access preserved in synthetic data


Onthemap data
OnTheMap Data preserved in synthetic data

  • ------------------ (public use data) -------------------

  • Origin-Destination (OD) matrix

  • Residence Area Characteristics

  • Workplace Area Characteristics

  • Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI)

  • --------------- (below not distributed) ---------------

  • TIGER files

  • Geographic shape files, etc.


Onthemap data1
OnTheMap Data preserved in synthetic data

  • There are 10 implicates; only the first is used in OnTheMap at this time

  • 2002-2004

  • OnTheMap v2 for 17 states to be released May 31 – these and future data to be made available within 6 weeks of release

  • OnTheMap v1 data will be withdrawn in June


Cornell ciser site
Cornell CISER Site preserved in synthetic data

  • http://vrdc.ciser.cornell.edu/onthemap/doc/

  • No project approval needed

  • Email [email protected] to register

  • Read documentation and descriptions

  • Very limited support

  • Not affiliated with the Census Bureau


Getting your feedback
Getting Your Feedback preserved in synthetic data

  • Join the OnTheMap listserv:

  • http://lists.census.gov/mailman/listinfo/lehd-onthemap

  • Or send an email with Yes in the subject line to

  • [email protected]


Contact Us preserved in synthetic data

  • Program Manager

  • [email protected]

  • General Comments/Suggestions

  • [email protected]

  • [email protected]

  • Website

  • http://www.census.gov(Local Employment Dynamics)

  • http://lehd.did.census.gov


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