Welcome to the Geodemographics Knowledge Base, a comprehensive directory of hand-selected websites for people interested in the application of geodemographics, geo-spatial analysis and Big Data. The site has been produced by the Census and Geodemographics Group of MRS, the world's largest association representing providers and users of market, social, and opinion research, and business intelligence.

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Econmic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

The ESRC is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. They  support independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector.


Local Authority District (LAD) Data Store

The LAD Data store is a catalogue of data holdings. You may search a datastore for each local authority district in the UK and the directory provides categories of data sets in terms of Local Authority District.


Consumer Data Research Centre

The CDRC was established by the UK Economic and Social Research Council to:

  • Contribute towards ensuring the future sustainability of UK research using consumer data
  • Support consumer related organisations to maximise their innovation potential
  • Drive economic growth


Finding errors in Big Data

Weeding out mistakes hidden among billions of data points seems an impossible task. Marco Puts, Piet Daas and Ton de Waal put forward some solutions.


‘Information Collected by Commercial Companies: What Might Be of Value to ONS?’

Keith Dugmore explores alternative more cost-effective options for ‘census taking’ in the future. In this paper, they consider what the options may be, based on approaches and experiences from other countries, and assess their implications for users.


On the Value of Digital Traces for Commercial Strategy and Public Policy: Telecommunications Data as a Case Study

This paper by Rob Claxton, jon Reades, and Ben Anderson discusses the study of UK regions, comparing the "geographies of talk” to their administrative counterparts, before turning to the ways in which social networks reflect underlying problems of deprivation and of access to opportunity. 


Official statistics and Big Data

The rise of Big Data changes the context in which organisations producing official statistics operate. Big Data provides opportunities, but in order to make optimal use of Big Data, a number of challenges have to be addressed. This stimulates increased collaboration between National Statistical Institutes, Big Data holders, businesses and universities. In time, this may lead to a shift in the role of statistical institutes in the provision of high-quality and impartial statistical information to society. In this paper, the changes in context, the opportunities, the challenges and the way to collaborate are addressed.In this paper by Peter Struijs, Barteld Braaksma, Piet JH Daas, the changes in context, the opportunities, the challenges and the way to collaborate are addressed. The collaboration between the various stakeholders will involve each partner building on and contributing different strengths.


The Role of Digital Trace Data in Supporting the Collection of Population Statistics – the Case for Smart Metered Electricity Consumption Data

The paper explores this potential through preliminary analysis of a ‘smart meter-like’ dataset, and when set alongside the limited literature to date, the results suggest that aggregated household load profiles may reveal key household and householder characteristics of interest to census users and national statistical organisations.Much of the attention has been focused on the (re)use of governmental administrative datasets but, we argue that data held by commercial organisations may offer considerable additional value as a supplement to familiar census or survey and administrative data."


The ONS Big Data Project

ONS, the UK's largest producer of official statistics, is interested in understanding the impact that big data may have on their statistical processes and outputs. They have established a project to investigate the potential advantages of using big data, to understand the challenges with using these data sources and to establish a longer term strategy for big data within official statistics.


Census 2022: Transforming Small Area Socio-Economic Indicators through 'Big Data'

The project will address these questions using existing large-scale geo-coded transactional datasets, including household level energy monitoring data, held at the University of Southampton.


Using Energy Metering Data to Support Official Statistics: A Feasibility Study

The ONS report discussion therefore concentrate on temporal patterns of power demand that may be able to more robustly distinguish between household types due to the potentially different timings and intensities of their everyday habits and routines.


Transformative Research Call

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is delighted to announce the 20 successful grants of the first Transformative Research Call, a pilot for 2012/2013.

The call aims to provide a stimulus for genuinely transformative and groundbreaking research ideas at the frontiers of social sciences.


OpenPopGrid - an Open Gridded Population Dataset for England and Wales

The goal of OpenPopGrid is to provide an OpenData dataset to improve the spatial representation of the published ONS population dataset. OpenPopGrid achieves this using a dasymetric mapping approach - using additional data to restrict the redistribution of the population to specific areas, i.e. residential buildings.


Geodemographics for Marketers: using location analysis for research and marketing

Geodemographics for Marketers is being published by Kogan Page early in 2016.The book has been written to provide marketing professionals and students with the know-how to leverage geodemographics techniques, and demonstrates their many applications and benefits. The author is Barry Leventhal, and the book includes articles and case studies contributed by a wide range of experts.


2021 Census Consultations

The investment of time and resources in a national census, or similar system of data collection, can only be justified if the results are accessible to users and meet their needs. This involves wide consultation in accordance with the principles and practices set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. This is the home page for consultations on the 2021 Census.


Planning the 2021 Census event - 22 July 2-5pm, Royal Statistical Society

Are you a user of Census data? Or do you think Census data could be useful to you?

On 22 July 2-5pm, the Royal Statistical Society is hosting an event 'Planning the 2021 Census: Recent Developments', at which ONS representatives and Chris Skinner (LSE) will talk about the work so far on the next Census. It will include talks on the current topic consultation and the use of administrative data.

The event provides the opportunity to be involved in the planning early on, and consider what you need from the next Census outputs.

You can see the agenda here: http://www.statslife.org.uk/events/eventdetail/475/-/planning-the-2021-census-recent-developments

If you'd like to attend, email events@rss.org.uk to book your place.


The 2021 Census – Initial view on content for England and Wales

This paper provides the initial view of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on the content of the 2021 Census questionnaire for England and Wales. It forms the starting point of consultation on the topics and sub-topics to be included. The initial view is informed by evaluation of the success of the 2011 topics and questions, as well as evidence about user requirements from recent consultations for Beyond 2011. It is also informed by ONS's current understanding of affordability and by its aspirations for using administrative data.


UK Statistics Authority - Monitoring Reports

The UK Statistics Authority has a statutory function under section 8 of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 to monitor the production and publication of official statistics. The Authority will publish reports under this section of the Act and will issue these as "Authority Monitoring Reports". They will be produced with the involvement of external experts and user interests, and will reflect the independent views of the Authority.


Open data: What can we expect from the conservatives?

Andy Dickinson, teaches Digital and Online Journalism at the Divison of Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and is part of the Media Innovation Studio team. He wrote a blog summarising his thoughts on what the general election results will mean for us in terms of OpenData.


Census Applications: Using the UK’s population census data

Now that nearly all census outputs are out and being used, the UK Data Service are hosting a two day conference to celebrate the UK censuses. This conference is scheduled for the 16th - 17th of July 2015, and will be held at the Humanities Bridgeford Street Building, University of Manchester.

The conference will include three plenary sessions:

· The value of the Census
· Making use of the Census
· Challenges for the future

Speakers include:

· Danny Dorling and Bethan Thomas
· Ian Cope
· Keith Dugmore
· Office for National Statistics Census Office


The 2014 Population and Housing Census of Myanmar - Findings of the Census Observation Mission: An Overview

After three decades without a Population and Housing Census, a census enumeration was conducted in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar from 30 March to 10 April 2014. To support transparency of the census and to better understand the way data was collected, the Ministry of Immigration and Population invited an independent Census Observation Mission to observe the census. The Mission was made up of 47 experienced observers; 23 international and 24 Myanmar nationals. These experts were statisticians, census experts, demographers or social scientists. This document is a summary of the findings of the Observation Mission. Additional information, not from the Observation Mission, has been included to provide readers with a clearer understanding of information that may need further explanation.


United Nations Economic and Social Council: Statistical Commission 46th Session - Report

The report provides a brief overview of the implementation of the 2010 World Population and Housing Census Programme, including information on national participation in the 2010 census round, successes and challenges and a summary of activities carried out by the Statistics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs in support of the 2010 World Programme. The report also describes the preparatory activities for the 2020 World Population and Housing Census Programme. The Statistical Commission is invited to express its views regarding the information provided in the report. In particular, the Commission is invited to approve the draft resolution on the 2020 World Programme, review and endorse the draft Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses: the 2020 Round, Revision 3, and provide guidance on the proposed activities of the Division for the 2020 World Programme.


United Nations 2010 World Population and Housing Census Programme

The website of the 2010 World Population and Housing Census Programme facilitates the international exchange and sharing of knowledge and information on census taking, as well as provision of guidance to countries, and monitoring progress on the implementation of the Programme. The website presents practical information and guidelines on census methodology and on best practices to help countries plan and carry out a census, as well as an up-to-date account of national census taking activities and of provision of support to countries in the implementation of the census round. The website also provides information on national, regional and international activities related to the 2010 World Programme. A major component of the website is the census knowledge base that is a repository of documents on census methodology, including reports on what has been done by countries during their censuses.


Open Geodemographics

A ‘portal' featuring geodemographic products created with open methods, data and tools by researchers from the University of Liverpool and University College London. The products and the underlying data are free to download and use, including commercial applications. The researchers add that methods are transparent and reproducible, with products supported by an active user community, and available to modify and augment. The website currently features the UK Output Area Classification (OAC) built in partnership with the ONS and created entirely from the 2011 census data, the bespoke London Output Area Classification (LOAC), and the Temporal Output Area Classification (TOAC) exploring geodemographic change between 2001 and 2011. A linked website has interactive and searchable maps of each classification down to very local levels.

BBC Radio 4 - The Life Scientific – Nigel Shadbolt

Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Professor of Artificial Intelligence at Southampton University, believes in the power of open data. With Sir Tim Berners-Lee he persuaded two UK Prime Ministers of the importance of letting us all get our hands on information that's been collected about us by the government and other organisations. But, this has brought him into conflict with people who think there's money to be made from this data. And open data raises issues of privacy. Nigel Shadbolt talks to Jim al-Khalili about how a degree in psychology and philosophy led to a career researching artificial intelligence and a passion for open


Mobility Lab of the University of Tartu

Mobility Lab of the University of Tartu, Estonia focuses on various research topics such as activity spaces, travel behaviour, tourism, segregation, ICT use and environmental impacts for pursuing a deeper understanding of spatial mobility. In order to gain the best possible understanding of spatial mobility the research group applies both quantitative and qualitative data. One of its main interests lies with the novel methodology based on mobile telephone use, and active and passive mobile positioning data. The latter enables researchers to give a more comprehensive insight into individuals’ activity spaces and spatiotemporal regularities than most of the traditional data sources.


Consultation on the Approved Researcher scheme

ONS are reviewing the criteria and process used to grant Approved Researcher status, and the safeguards used to ensure the confidentiality of all personal data held by ONS, and are proposing a number of possible changes, which would address issues already identified. This is being carried out through a public consultation.


Administrative Data Research Centre - England

The Administrative Data Research Centre for England is led by the University of Southampton, and run in collaboration with: University College London; the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; the Institute for Fiscal Studies; the University of London’s Institute of Education. The Centre combines exceptional physical facilities with high performance computer platforms to provide knowledge and evidence to help develop, implement and evaluate public policy and future research.--


NTTS 2015

New Techniques and Technologies for Statistics (NTTS) is an international biennial scientific conference series, organised by Eurostat, on new techniques and methods for official statistics, and the impact of new technologies on statistical collection, production and dissemination systems. The purpose of the conference is both to allow the presentation of results from currently ongoing research and innovation projects in official statistics, and to stimulate and facilitate the preparation of new innovative projects (by encouraging the exchange of views and co-operation between researchers - including the possible building of research consortia) with the aim of enhancing the quality and usefulness of official statistics and to prepare activities related to research in statistics within the European Framework Programme for Research and Development (Horizon 2020).


Public confidence in official statistics

NatCen Social Research has today published the results of a survey of public confidence in official statistics, commissioned by the UK Statistics Authority. 


Census Evaluation Workshop

On 8th January 2015, the ONS held an Outputs Evaluation workshop to collect feedback from users on the 2011 Census.

MRS CGG Chairman, Barry Leventhal, with input from members of the Association of Census Distributors and the Demographics User Group, presented the business sector's views on outputs from the 2011 Census. here.


Research Strategy published for the Beyond 2011 Programme

This January 2015 paper sets out the research strategy and questions for the design and prototyping phase of the Beyond 2011 programme in 2015 and 2016, a high-level testing strategy for this period, and the main testing phase of the programme in 2017.


Beyond 2011: Final Options Report

This paper from ONS details the recommendations for the 2021 census:

• An online census of all households and communal establishments in England and Wales in 2021 as a modern successor to the traditional, paper-based decennial census. ONS recognises that special care would need to be taken to support those who are unable to complete the census online.

• Increased use of administrative data and surveys in order to enhance the statistics from the 2021 Census and improve annual statistics between censuses


Too soon to scrap the Census: Government and UK Statistics Authority Responses - Public Administration Committee

This gives the letter from The Rt Hon Francis Maude MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, to Bernard Jenkin MP, Chair of PASC, dated 18 July 2014. It states that the Government welcomes the Committee's report and responds in detail to each of the report’s recommendations.


Indices of Deprivation- OCSI Consultation

The Department for Communities and Local Government is updating the indices of deprivation, including the Index of Multiple Deprivation, for publication in summer 2015.

This consultation asks for views on the final proposals for updating the indices. These proposals were developed following extensive data exploration and were informed by early engagement exercises with users.

See here for details of an event to find out about the proposals and Consultation to update the Indices.


Thursday 20th November, 2.00 – 4.00 pm, Britannia Hotel, Crystal Suite.


Monday 24th November, 10.00 – 12.00 am, Directory of Social Change, Conference Room.

Future Cities Catapult/Innovate UK

Future Cities Catapult characterises itself as a global centre of excellence on urban innovation, where city authorities and organisations, businesses, and universities come together to develop solutions to the future needs of cities, with the idea of 'catapulting’ change. Diverse projects include ‘unlocking’ open data, collaborative use of data, design of cities for people of all ages, and redrawing neighbourhood boundaries [Whereabouts London]

Future Cities is one of seven ‘Catapults’, each aiming to be a world leader in its specialist area, launched by InnovateUK, known until August 2014 as the Technology Strategy Board. It is a UK non-departmental public body or agency operating at arm's length from the Government, reporting to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), charged with a wide ranging task of promoting innovation.

Whereabouts London

Whereabouts London is an ongoing experimental project by the Future Cities Catapult to explore how open data can be used to help cities and citizens see their environment in a new light, with London as a model for other cities. By blending 235 types of data, the project investigates what London could look like if its neighbourhoods were drawn and classified afresh, grouped by "how people live”.

The 'home page' features an interactive map linking to short statistical summaries for each of the eight categories of neighbourhood as a whole


12 data maps that sum up London

A new collection of data maps of London reveals a city heaving with information.


Voter Turnout at UK General Elections

UK Political Info have put together a chart which shows the percentage of registered voters who actually voted at each general election from 1945–2010.


So Who Voted Yes and Who Voted No?

Analysis of the Referendum results by Professor John Curtice.



LuminoCity is a comprehensive map platform for exploring cities in Great Britain, developed for general use as a non-commercial project at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), University College London.. It has clear guidance for users and a wide range of key indicators, including population, housing, travel, employment, business location and energy use, many from the 2011 Census. Indicators are mapped using an innovatory method that highlights the size and density of urban centres and their surroundings, with datasets transformed to a kilometre grid, and data displayed as 3D blocks representing density - so called ‘hexbins’ - thus combining spatial patterns and frequencies. Change over time and flow data are included. Maps are supplemented by interactive graphics, in-depth statistics, and metadata The platform is geared to analysis of city regions and relationships between them, most telling by showing the stark contrasts between London and the rest of Britain.


Harnessing Open Data for Business Advantage - 5th November 2014

The MRS Census and Geodemographics Group have now released the full programme and speaker line up for their next seminar which will focus mainly on how users have been applying census and other open data, with an emphasis on 'how to' case studies and useful lessons learnt.

View the full programme here:


Open Addresses Symposium - 8th August, London

The Open Data User Group and the Cabinet Office have awarded the Open Data Institute funding to pursue the creation of an Open Address Database for the UK.

The Open Addresses Symposium is an opportunity for anyone interested in the project to shape the activity.


Too soon to scrap the Census: Government and UK Statistics Authority Responses - Public Administration Committee Second Special Report 

The Public Administration Select Committee reported to the House on Too soon to scrap the Census in its Fifteenth Report of Session 2013-14, published on 17 April 2014. The Government Response was received on 18 July 2014 and is published in this report as Appendix 1. The UK Statistics Authority's Response was received on 21 July 2014 and is published in this Report as Appendix 2.
Here you can browse the report which was ordered by the House of Commons: 


2011 Area Classification for Output Areas

ONS has released a new 2011 Area Classification for Output Areas (2011 OAC), produced by University College London on behalf of ONS. 
With this three-tier classification, the release includes, cluster codes and names for the 8 supergroups, 26 groups and 76 subgroups in the classification for all UK output areas, together with supporting material, including a map for the supergroups and groups, a methodology note, pen portraits describing each of the supergroups/groups/subgroups, and radial plots showing the value of 60 Census variables used to produce the OAC.


Harnessing Open Data for Business Advantage - 5th November 2014

The MRS Census and Geodemographics Group have announced their next seminar which will focus mainly on how users have been applying census and other open data, with an emphasis on 'how to' case studies and useful lessons learnt. 


CASA Blog Network

Read the latest outputs from researchers, alumni and friends at UCL CASA, including some insightful mapping and tools produced from 2011 Census releases. 



A research assistant and PhD student at UCL's Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) has used the recently released 2011 UK Census Workplace Zones data to publish a series of maps with multiple variables by 2011 workplace zones in Greater and Central London. 



The DataShine mapping platform is an output from an ESRC Future Research Leaders Project entitled “Big Open Data: Mining and Synthesis“. The overall project seeks to promote and develop the use of large and open datasets amongst the social science community. A key part of this initiative is the visualisation of these data in new and informative ways to inspire new uses and generate insights.

Phase one has been to create the mapping platform with data from the 2011 Census. The next phases will work on important issues such as representing the uncertainty inherent in many population datasets and also developing tools that will enable the synthesis of data across multiple sources.


Datashine also has a blog page with news of updates to the platform and applications of the data. A London Output Area Classification created for Datashine specifically from the 2011 Census results for Greater London has also been released as an interactive map

A pared down and more ‘popular' version of UK OAC and described by the Guardian as showing “... which of eight different "tribes" (city vibe, urban elites, etc) you belong to... and a great use of free data”.

ENGAGE platform

Simply said, ENGAGE is a door for researchers that leads them to the world of Open Government Data. By using the ENGAGE platform, researchers and citizens will be able to submit, acquire, search and visualize diverse, distributed and derived Public sector datasets from all the countries of the European Union.

Register on the ENGAGE Platform and join a growing and active community of users who rely on Open (Government) Data for their research:


John Pullinger named as UK National Statistician

On 12th May 2014, John Pullinger was today named as the next National Statistician, replacing Jil Matheson who retires at the end of June after five years in the role.
In his new post, he will be head of the Government Statistical Service, and chief executive of the UK Statistics Authority – the watchdog body set up to safeguard the production and publication of official statistics.


Responses to the Open National Address Gazetteer report

An independent report for government on how feasible an open address gazetteer would be, written by Katalysis, was published on the 13 February 2014. Following the publication the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills provided a period for interested parties to comment on the report. 

The period for comment closed on the 14 March to which 17 representations were received. The document, which can be found under the link below, contains each of the responses in full with the agreement of the irrespective authors.


Too soon to scrap the Census

This report is on the inquiry by House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) into the future of the census. It follows the publication by ONS of the recommendations of the National Statistician after a national consultation. The Inquiry agrees that the decennial census should be kept.
Witnesses emphasised, among other things, the great financial benefits to business provided by census data and these have been quantified. The Committee recommends that the ONS now scope and set out a more ambitious vision for the creative and full use of administrative data to provide rich and valuable population statistics, which could potentially be more accurate and up-to-date than the census, and cover new topics. It also recommends that the Government now embark upon a public information campaign to communicate the benefits of increased data sharing for statistical purposes, and the safeguards which will be in place to protect people’s personal information and privacy. The report includes formal minutes of the proceedings.


New 2011 Census releases

ONS has published three new releases of data from the 2011 Census. 
  • Detailed Characteristics on Approximated Social Grade for 2011 Census Merged Wards and Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs) in England and Wales
  • Detailed Characteristics on Travel to Work for local authorities in England and Wales
  • Local Characteristics on Travel to Work for Output Areas in England and Wales

All tables from these three releases, and from previous releases of Local and Detailed Characteristics are available on the Nomis website at:


Future of the Census

In 2010, the UK Statistics Authority asked the National Statistician and the ONS to review the future provision of population statistics in England and Wales in order to inform the Government and Parliament about the options for the next Census. Over the last three years, ONS has undertaken research into new ways of counting the population, reviewed practices in other countries, engaged with a wide range of users, completed a three month public consultation and commissioned an independent review of methodology led by Professor Chris Skinner of the London School of Economics.

The Board of the Authority has accepted and endorsed the National Statistician’s recommendation and Sir Andrew Dilnot, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, on 27th March wrote to the Rt. Hon. Francis Maude MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, to commend the National Statistician's recommendation to the Government.

The recommendation is for a predominantly online census in 2021 supplemented by further use of administrative and survey data. The full recommendation and report of the consultation can be viewed here:


Census 2011: Identity, language and religion in Scotland

The statistics published on 21st March 2014 by the Registrar General for Scotland on the Scotland's Census website, present further details from the 2011 Census in Scotland on Ethnicity, Identity, Language and Religion, from national to local level.


Government Policy Paper on an Open National Address Gazetteer

An independent review for Government on the feasibility of an Open Address Gazetteer, published by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills on 13 February, 2014, following the case presented by the Open Data User Group.

The review has determined that open usage would result in substantial and valuable growth in new usage with even greater community benefit. The recommendation is that a basic address product should be free to all users at the point of use under the Open Government Licence, while premium versions would still be sold, leaving current production and maintenance facilities in place.


New and easier ways of working with aggregate data and geographies from UK censuses

The aggregate outputs from UK censuses provide detailed, high quality information on a wide range of the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of people and households across the UK. They are, however, very large and complex datasets, which can make them difficult to understand and use effectively.

The UK Data Service will be holding an afternoon workshop at the University of Manchester on 20th March 2014 to address these issues. The workshop will focus on aggregate outputs from the UK 2011 Census and demonstrate how new methods of managing and providing access to them have made it much easier to work with them and exploit the valuable information they contain.
For further details on the content of the workshop, ticket prices and how to book, visit: www.census.ukdataservice.ac.uk

A Landmark paper: the first step towards big data?

Read Peter Mouncey's blog piece regarding his selection of a landmark paper from the International Journal of Market Research archives: The utility to market research of the classification of residential neighbourhoods - Ken Baker, John Bermingham and Colin McDonald, BMRB (published in the Journal of the Market Research Society, Vol.39 No. 1, January 1997).


2011 Census England and Wales: Detailed Characteristics on qualifications for Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs), Regional level, Merged Wards and Merged Local Authorities - Release 3.5b

On 19th December 2013, ONS published 35 Detailed Characteristic tables which covers the topic of qualifications, cross-tabulated with one or more other topics from the census. There are 11 tables produced at MSOA level, 11 tables at merged ward level, 9 tables at merged local authority level and 4 tables at regional level. All tables are available from the Nomis website and can be accessed at


2011 Census England and Wales: Labour Market Detailed Characteristic Tables

On 29th November 2013, ONS published Detailed Characteristic tables covering the topics of Labour Market, cross-tabulated with one or more other topics from the census. Tables are provided for 2011 Census Merged Wards and Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs) in England and Wales. There are 35 Detailed Characteristic tables in this release: 28 tables produced at both MSOA, 2011 Census Merged Ward Level, and 7 tables at Merged Local Authority level. 2 tables (DC6210 and DC6215) have been withdrawn from this release. On a final statistical disclosure control inspection there were disclosure issues and revised versions are being considered for inclusion in a later release. All tables are available from the Nomis website and can be accessed at:


Open data: Unlocking innovation and performance with liquid information

This report from McKinsey & Co shows how open data can help create $3 trillion a year of economic value across seven sectors globally. The seven sectors are Education, Transportation, Consumer products, Electricity, Oil and Gas, Health Care and Consumer Finance. The potential value is shown to be divided roughly between the USA ($1.1tn), Europe ($900bn) and the rest of the world ($1.7tn). The report is available in pdf, Kindle and eBook format. In a related podcast, the McKinsey Global Institute’s Michael Chui discusses the economic potential of open data and how governments and businesses can unlock it.



Géoportail is a comprehensive on-line service of the French government with maps and high resolution aerial photography from more than 90 sources for France, freely available as open data.


The future of small area statistics - Independent Beyond 2011 Working Group

The Working Group has been established to provide an informed and collective response to the potential discontinuation of the conventional census being currently considered by ONS which would have profound implications for the future availability of data for small areas, and thus for geodemography.


Making sense of the census proposals

Barry Leventhal, Chair of the MRS Census and Geodemographic group, weighs the pros and cons of the two options proposed by the ONS Census consultation in this Research-Live article and explains why it is so important for users to respond to the consultation.


Preliminary 2011 England and Wales OAC

Through collaboration between the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and University College London (UCL), a new 2011 UK Output Area Classification (OAC) is being constructed using 2011 Census data. Your views are sought on the Preliminary 2011 England and Wales OAC. Please click here to complete a short questionnaire (that runs until 30 September 2013).

Census consultation: Future provision of population statistics

A three month public consultation on the census and future provision of population statistics in England and Wales is launched today (23rd Sept) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). After each census, ONS reviews the future needs for information about the population and housing in England and Wales, and how these needs might be met.

The 2011 Census successfully provided population statistics that will be used for the next decade by planners, policy makers and researchers across the public and private sectors. Our population is changing rapidly, and the need to understand these changes will continue.

The Office for National Statistics' (ONS) Beyond 2011 programme is currently reviewing these needs, and how they might best be met in future. Improvements in technology and in government data sources offer opportunities to either modernise the existing census process, or to develop an alternative census method that reuses existing data already held within government.

Their research has resulted in two approaches for taking the census in future:
a census once a decade, like that conducted in 2011, but primarily online.
a census using existing government data and compulsory annual surveys.

Both approaches would provide annual statistics about the size of the population, nationally and for local authorities. A census using existing data and surveys would provide more statistics about the characteristics of the population every year. An online census would provide more detailed statistics once a decade.
The consultation document describes these approaches, their strengths and weaknesses and the different types of information they could provide.
No decision has yet been made, and ONS welcomes your views. Please respond using the online questionnaire.

Government told to seek 'big data' expertise

Data firms could be in line for a raft of lucrative Government contracts after a leading think tank recommended Whitehall should seek out private sector companies who can utilise 'big data' to make public sector savings. Read the news piece here:


Open Data, Big Data - Big Opportunity!

Peter Funess and Peter Sleight discuss the vast quantities of Open Data and Census Data available


Tracking a decade of changing Britain How businesses are benefiting from early use of Census and other Open Data

During the course of this year, the Census Offices are releasing a vast quantity of detailed results from the 2011 Census. By attending this event you will learn how others are making use of the latest Census and other open data, and so will help you to benefit from these sources within your organisation.
Benefit from a 20% discount if you book now. With an impressive line up of experts on the speaker panel this is one not to miss!

www.mrs.org.uk/tracking a decade

2011 Census - Releases 31st July 2013

On 31 July 2013 ONS published the following statistical releases:
Local Characteristics - 19 tables for output areas in England and Wales - ethnicity, identity, language and religion available from the Nomis website: www.nomisweb.co.uk
United Kingdom censuses - UK population estimates by single year of age and sex for local authorities available from the UK page here: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/census/2011/uk-census/index

Privacy under pressure

A series of three programmes on BBC Radio 4. Steve Hewlett describes the extraordinary amount of information which can be gleaned from our online behaviour and smartphones. Is new technology, he asks, having a profound effect on our notions of privacy?
For more information on Privacy and Data Protection please visit the Real Time Geodemographics page.


Beyond 2011 - User Statements

Following on from ONS' Beyond 2011 benefits realisation consultation process, they have put together the information they have received so far into a series of ‘User Statements’. They are requesting your help to make these as comprehensive as possible in order to build the case for the future of this type of statistics. Visit the website for more information on how to provide comment on these user statements.

www.ons.gov.uk/beyond 2011

Real time geodemographics: New services and business opportunities (and risks) from analysing people in time and space

This paper by Peter Furness provides an introduction to the subject of Real Time Geodemographics. New technologies such as GPS tracking and virtual worlds provide an opportunity to describe people in much greater detail in terms of space and time than has been possible in traditional geodemographics. The paper surveys the enabling technologies and illustrates what can be achieved with a series of case studies. It also examines the downside risks, especially the data protection and privacy issues that will impact public acceptance. Finally, it makes a few predictions for how real time geodemographics will develop over the next few years.
Visit this page for more Real Time Geodemographics information.


How Google and Waze are revolutionising real-time data

This article by David Gurney examines Google's acquisition of Waze a social networking company which enables drivers to report traffic problems and help the community to avoid jams. It explores the implications for Google's soon-to-be-launched 'Explore' feature, as well as the likely broader impact on the use of real-time data in location-aware marketing.
Visit this page for more Real Time Geodemographics information.


Census-taking in the United Kingdom: 2011 and beyond - Barry Leventhal, Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice Vol. 14 No. 3 (published 31st March 2013)

This paper looks back at the 2011 Census, and then looks forward at options for the future. The progress of the ONS Beyond 2011 programme is reviewed, at the half-way point in its development phase, and the author comments on the likely implications for users in research and marketing.
Visit this page for more information on the Census


UK Data Service

The UK Data Service is a comprehensive resource funded by the ESRC to support researchers, teachers and policymakers who depend on high-quality social and economic data.

It is a single point of access to a wide range of secondary data including large-scale government surveys, international macrodata, business microdata, qualitative studies and census data from 1971 to 2011, all backed with extensive support and guidance. However, there may be some access restrictions.

Data sharing is promoted to encourage the reuse of data, and provide expertise in developing best practice for research data management. The UK Data Service provides a very full introduction to the Service.


The Census: Now and in the Future

What is the value and viability of the UK Census? What happens if there isn't a Census in 2021? On 26 June at the LGA the SRA's Summer event, 'The Census: Now and in the Future' will examine this issue from a variety of expert perspectives.


PASC demands that Government stats are presented with "the whole truth"

In a Report on Communicating Statistics released on Wednesday 29th May 2013, entitled “Not Just True, but Also Fair” the Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) recommends that departmental press officers and government statistics staff should work together much more closely to ensure that press releases give an accurate and meaningful picture of the truth behind the figures. Read the full report here:


Tracking a decade of changing Britain

The MRS Census and Geodemographics Group will be holding a seminar on Wednesday 6th November in London to explore how businesses are benefiting from early use of Census and other Open Data.

Topics to be covered will include:
- Illustrations of how areas have changed between 2001 and 2011 - how the Census can be used to track a decade of change.
- Benefits that commercial users are realising from the Census.
- Other open data sources that are freely accessible to users.
- How leading information providers are building their geodemographic discriminators.

To register your interest in this event email cgg@mrs.org.uk

2011 Census Third Release

ONS have released the first 42 Detailed Characteristic tables as part of release 3. These tables are available via the NOMIS website. The details of these 42 tables can be found on the ONS website.
Following this release, publication will continue with Detailed Characteristics, which are planned to be completed during the summer. This will be followed by the release of Local Characteristics, planned to start in August 2013.

ONS Census Customer Services are now accepting requests for univariate commissioned tables and will start to take requests for multivariate tables from September 2013. Charges will be for this service will be agreed prior to work commencing, based on the published price list here. Requests should be made through ONS Census Customer Services at: Census.CustomerServices@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Price Paid Data - Land Registry

On 30th April 2013 Land Registry announced that they plan to release a set of new Open Data including historical Houseprice index tables, historical Price Paid data and the 1862 Register. Read the Open Data Review here:


Appointments to the board of the UK Statistics Authority

Two new appointments have been made to the Board of the UK Statistics Authority - Carolyn Fairbairn and Professor David Hand. Carolyn Fairbairn and Professor David Hand have been appointed as Non-Executive Directors of the UK Statistics Authority for three years from 1st April 2013. See the full press release:


Beyond 2011: National Records of Scotland (NRS) Consultation

The census currently provides the basis for population and socio-demographic statistics in Scotland, but it is becoming increasingly challenging and expensive to conduct. The National Records of Scotland is trying to better understand user needs for population and socio-demographic information and how these future needs might be met. Users are kindly requested to complete an online survey. Please visit the website below for access to the survey. The consultation closes on 9th June 2013


MRS response to the Ofcom  Postcode Address File (PAF) Consultation

MRS have published their response to the Ofcom consultation on the Postcode Address File (PAF).
View it here:


Open Data User Group Response to the Ofcom Postcode Address File (PAF) Consultation

The Open Data User Group (ODUG) have published their response to the Ofcom Postcode Address File (PAF) Consultation via their Chair Heather Savory's blog piece -
Don't sell our postcodes! ODUG on why we should have Open Addressing in the UK


PASC Reports on Public Trust in Government Statistics

In a recent report, the Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) concluded, despite the positive steps implemented by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, there remain issues and concerns about the way government statistics are produced and disseminated which remain a genuine risk to public confidence in the statistical system and must be addressed. Visit the website below for access to the article and supporting reports:


Beyond 2011 Programme: new publications for February 2013

ONS have released a series of papers by the Beyond 2011 Programme on the research work undertaken over the past 6 months. These are intended to provide much more about the approach they are taking to evaluate the options and what the next steps are. Further papers are to be released in May and July 2013. Visit the link below for access to these papers:


Beyond 2011 Research Conference

As part of Beyond 2011's external quality assurance process, ONS will be holding a research conference in collaboration with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the British Society for Population Studies (BSPS). This will take place on Tuesday 30th April and Wednesday 1st May at the University of Southampton.

Booking for this event is now open - places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. To reserve your place, please go to the following link:


2011 Census, Key Statistics for national parks and Key and Quick Statistics for health areas and postcode sectors in England and Wales

The statistics in this release are a new presentation of the data released as part of the Key Statistics and Quick Statistics for output areas in England and Wales that were published 30 January 2013. They provide new best fit aggregations of these statistics for health administration areas and postcode sectors in England and Wales, and also for National Assembly for Wales constituencies and Assembly for Wales electoral regions. The estimates are best-fitted from output areas in line with the Geography Policy for National Statistics.


ONS Survey on benefits gained from Census data

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) would like to evaluate the benefits to the commercial sector gained from census data and develop the case for continued production of the small area data. They are keen to hear from anybody working in the commercial sector about their use of census data.
The survey is available for completion online www.surveymonkey.com/s/DJ5RBGB or alternatively you can complete it via a Word document, available from the benefits realisation team.

If you have any comments on the survey or if you would like to tell ONS about your use of census data in an alternative way, please get in touch with the 2011 Census benefits realisation team at: benefits.realisation@ons.gsi.gov.uk

If you or your company has derived benefit from analysing census data, then please ensure you complete the survey or contact the benefits realisation team.

Opportunity to engage with the Beyond 2011 programme

Ensure that your organisation's views and needs are heard.
The Beyond 2011 (B2011) programme was initiated by the National Records of Scotland in 2011 to propose viable alternative options to the traditional census. The census has long been the benchmark for capturing a comprehensive, consolidated and accurate snapshot of the population. However, various sources indicate that the current system of providing population and key socio-demographic statistics is no longer meeting all user needs.

The B2011 programme will produce an options paper for ministers, describing the work that has been completed in the research phase and detailing the options for the next phases. As part of this research phase, they need to determine what the user requirements are for producing small area population and socio-demographic statistics and they are planning a series of workshops in Edinburgh on the 19th and 21st Feb. For more information please visit: http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/beyond-2011/consultations-events/events/index.html

During the workshops you will have the opportunity to express your views on the B2011 programme. If you wish to attend please send an email to Beyond2011@gro-scotland.gsi.gov.uk, indicating the day you wish to attend and the session, as there are morning and afternoon sessions for both days.

In addition they are using a forum of discussion in the The Knowledge Hub (formerly known as Communities of Practice) to promote Beyond 2011 engagement activities as well as publication notifications. If you would like to sign-up to the Beyond 2011 portal then please follow the link below: https://knowledgehub.local.gov.uk/group/scottishbeyond2011programmebeyond2011scotland

2011 Census, Key Statistics and Quick Statistics for Wards and Output Areas in England and Wales

This release follows on from that of the Key Statistics on 11 December 2012 and contains new detailed tables for some characteristics of the people living in England and Wales on 27 March 2011. Statistics available from this release include main language, method of travel to work and economic activity of students.

Interactive data visualisations are also available to aid interpretation and users can enter postcodes into the interactive maps to focus on specific areas.


2011 Census User Guide and Key Statistics interface

ONS have produced a 2011 Census User Guide which brings together the information users need in order to understand and use statistics from the 2011 Census in England and Wales. www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/census/2011/census-data/2011-census-user-guide/index

Newly available: information about variables and classifications, a comprehensive glossary, and a report about comparability over time. The guide also contains information about quality assurance, quality measures, comparability with other data sources, statistical disclosure control methods, coverage assessment and adjustment methods, and frequently asked questions. It is reported that the guide will expand over time as the releases become more detailed.

The Key Statistics interface has now been updated (v2.5) and is available at the following link: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/census/2011/census-data/index
This tool enables comparisons between 2001 and 2011 Census population estimates of selected tables and is available in both Office 2003 and 2007 versions

Publication of detailed ethnic group Quick Statistics table

ONS have published QS209EW and table CT0010EW (Ethnic group - write-in responses). This 2011 Census release provides tables with detailed information on the ethnic group of the usual resident population of England and Wales as at census day, 27 March 2011.


New funding to accelerate benefits of open data

A press release issued by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills on 12th December 2012 confirmed that more than £8 million of investment will help public bodies release data so that companies can develop new commercial opportunities. The funding runs to 2015 and was announced by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude and Business and Skills Minister Matthew Hancock. Read the full press release here:


Publication of 2011 Census Key Statistics for Local Authorities in England and Wales

ONS have published Key Statistics for local authorities in England and Wales from the 2011 Census. This release marks the beginning of the release of detailed information about the characteristics of the people living in England and Wales on 27 March 2011. The data can be accessed from here:


Publication of 2011 Census population and household estimates at output area and ward level for England and Wales

ONS have published population and household estimates at output area and ward level for England and Wales, (unrounded, five year age bands by sex). Previously, this information was published at local authority level. The publication of this data completes the first release of census information. The release is available on the ONS website at:


Jane Frost comments on Times article

With the release of the first 2011 Census results this week there has inevitably been plenty of surrounding press coverage. The Times published an article on 17th July titled “Population rises 4m in decade as immigration drives boom” which also discussed the Government’s review of the Census Beyond 2011 project.

Jane Frost, Chief Executive Officer, The Market Research Society wrote to the editor of The Times and her statement below was published in today’s article (18th July) “The Census in our increasingly crowded land”.

Sir, The release of the first set of Census data raised questions about its long-term future (“Population rises 4m in decade as immigration drives boom”, July 17). The Government’s review into the Census beyond 2011 should not result in the baby being thrown out with the bath water; it must continue in 2021 while a proven alternative is identified. Our Census is an authoritative and accurate source of data on which reliable decisions are made by both the private and public sector. It is these good, reliable decisions that will help organisations thrive and support economic growth and wellbeing in the current climate. Without a robust replacement we risk poor decisions and a society that is inadequately informed about excluded yet significant groups which don’t show up on the usual radar.

Free Open Data Masterclasses

People across Great Britain are being given the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of open data and the tools and techniques to use open datasets, through a series of free masterclasses hosted by Ordnance Survey.
For more information and dates please visit:


Review of open data to explore growth opportunities

Finding new ways to use information held by the public sector will be examined in a new independent review jointly launched on 22.10.2012 by Ministers at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Cabinet Office.

The comprehensive review, which was announced in the Open Data White Paper, will improve access to data and help promote economic growth by examining the market for public sector information.

 At the end of the review, recommendations will be made to Ministers on how to widen access and consider new and innovative opportunities for open data. In particular, the review will look at the following areas:
- the current use of public sector information within government, the private sector and by the general public;
- the opportunities for innovation and developing new data services with public sector information;
- the constraints on developing new services with public sector information and the role that current funding models play;
-the impact of competitiveness on existing and new businesses entering the market, as well as the way in which organisations secure access to data; and
- an audit of current and past studies, as well as taking stock of the current use and re-use of public sector information.

Stephan Shakespeare, Chair of the Data Strategy Board, has been appointed to lead the independent review. The review complements the work of the Data Strategy Board and will ensure that other projects are aligned to the review, avoiding unnecessary duplication of time and resource. Stephan will also work with the Open Data Institute, to build on their work into the economic benefits and business models for open data, and with other public and private sector advocates of open data.

 Read the full press release here:


Publication of 2011 Census second address estimates for local authorities

ONS have published the number of people with second addresses in local authorities in England and Wales from the 2011 Census. This release provides the number of usual residents in England and Wales who reported having a second address outside of the local authority in which they were usually resident.
The release includes two separate tables which provide, down to local authority level:
- the number of people who spend more than 30 days a year at a second address in a local authority where they do not usually live, and
- the number of people usually resident in each local authority who had a second address elsewhere.
 Two further tables provide similar figures at regional level.
 The data can be accessed from here:


A picture paints a thousand words

Graphs and maps are a great way of making statistics memorable and meaningful, visit the ONS website for interactive mapping and data visualisation that allows you to engage with ONS data.


Open data user group issues call for open data requests

The Open Data User Group (ODUG) has called on developers and the open data community to submit requests for the release of data they believe will have commercial and social benefits and contribute to economic growth. Anyone with an interest in accessing public sector information can submit a request to the ODUG using a new online form.


Publication of 2011 Census unrounded population and household estimates released

ONS published the first unrounded results from the 2011 Census of Population for England and Wales on 24th September. The release covers the population estimates first published 16 July in the '2011 Census: Population and household estimates for England and Wales' which were rounded to 100, but with the additional detail of single year of age by sex at local authority level. The mid-2011 population estimates due to be published on 25 September are based on these unrounded 2011 Census estimates. A detailed examination of the differences between the census and mid-2011 population estimates will accompany the mid-year population estimates. Further results from the 2011 Census will be released later in the year, information is available in the 2011 Census Output Prospectus.


2011 UK Census: Key and Quick Statistics

The second release of the 2011 Census statistics will take place between November 2012 and February 2013. Final table layouts for Key Statistics and Quick Statistics are available to download from the ONS website.