Information overload …?

Ever visited the Australian Bureau of Statistics website? Wonderful isn’t it … well, at least for the initiated. In the first of our series about the relevance of data, we explore the spatial hierarchy of available ABS data that underpins many of the research projects undertaken by MacroPlan.

The layers of information are intriguing – that’s why our self-confessed data junkies won’t be heading to rehab any time soon. Whether it’s the latest release on building approvals, a new data-set on Australia’s ageing population or the humble mesh block of GIS information – our data junkies are definitely hooked.

The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), introduced in 2011, allows for the collation of data from seven geographical information tiers.

ASGS ABS STructures

Non ABS StructuresFrustratingly, the hierarchy of geographical tiers does not always match local government boundaries, but it is possible to aggregate up or disaggregate down the hierarchy. In most cases, an exact fit is possible and for the other cases, we have the expertise to ‘translate’ accurately one area to another (say data available only for postcodes translated into an output for suburbs or specific trade areas).

SA2VsLGA_Parramatta LGA

One of the key changes which made data-guys around Australia earn their dough was the change of geographical hierarchy in the 2011 Census by ABS. The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), introduced in 2011, replaced the old hierarchy, the Australian Statistical Geography Classification (ASGC), releasedby the ABS in 2006.The difference appears to be a letter “C” in the abbreviated naming but no amount of highlighting will be able to cover the gulf in geographical changes between those two hierarchies. The diagrams above explain the new ABS Hierarchy (ASGS).

From the ABS spatial hierarchy we can interrogate who lives where, how old they are, how quickly they are ageing, how many children they are having, where they were born, how much they earn, what they spend on housing and how much they are spending on your product – the list goes on.  Most importantly, by comparing time series information, we can analyse the degree of change over time and whether that trend is favourable to a specific project outcome.

There are many other data sources other than the ABS, but the ASGS hierarchy forms a fundamental foundation to understanding the market mechanics of a specific locality.

MacroPlan uses its expertise in a variety of GIS platforms, underpinned by MapInfo and Esri ArcMap to provide our clients with the best spatial data format to meet their requirements.

To stay up to date with the latest in our data series, contact Amy Williams, National Marketing Manager to subscribe.

About MacroPlan: MacroPlan has expertise in the use of GIS as a business analysis tool. Spatial analysis of the factors impacting the current or future performance of a business, Governments and other organisations is critical to developing an understanding of the potential demand for services or facilities within a region.  Please contact our General Manager – WA, Stuart McKnight at the firm’s Perth office to discuss your research needs.