The Central Statistics Office

Access To GeoDirectory Data Has Enabled CSO To Drill Down

The Central Statistics Office has improved efficiency and achieved a more accurate census result with the use of GeoDirectory.  The CSO, which provides the State with its figures relating to population and population change, has used GeoDirectory for the last three censuses. Gerry Walker, Census Senior Statistician with the CSO, says that using GeoDirectory data, along with GIS technology, achieved a more accurate census result, using just half the mapping staff of previous censuses.

Taking the census

“The census puts hard facts behind any business case,” says Gerry Walker. Gerry was commenting on the many ways that businesses can use CSO data to back up a business decision – such as opening a single shop or shopping centre, a health care centre or community based services. The data collected by the Census includes geographic distribution, age, marital status, households and families, migration, nationality, ethnicity, Irish language, religion and housing.

Using GeoDirectory data has enabled CSO to drill down and find a level of information that would typically be needed by public bodies and private sector companies. Nowadays this goes right down to the Small Area or neighbourhood level – a level of information that can be vital if not critical for businesses. This information informs national government where there may be an acute need for hospitals and schools or high levels of unemployment, diversity or disability. Local government can take the guessing out of where best to site a school while businesses and entrepreneurs can use the information to find the best place to base their new business or to test a new product or service.


Providing location information

Gerry Walker says that "the Census is the only reliable source for data for small areas”. And where does the CSO get its location information? – From GeoDirectory of course. CSO is the only organisation that can supply this information. These Small Areas are new and provide Census data at a much more granular level than was previously possible. Previously CSO only provided data at Electoral Division (ED) Level of which there are circa 3,400 however, there are 18,500 Small Areas. Small Areas give a consistent approach across the country with approximately a 100 address points per Small Area – and the source of the information about the address points and buildings for the Small Areas was GeoDirectory data.

Mr Walker says that
because of GeoDirectory, allied with GIS mapping technology and persistence by Census Enumerators, that no dwelling in the State was left uncounted in the last census, the most geographically precise census in the history of the State. - Gerry Walker, CSO

The level of detail of the CSO figures is incredible. You can have a summary of the ages, family types, education and employment status of every single person in the State on census night down to 18,500 small areas. So where there are young people, they’ll need recreation facilities; where there are older people, they may need shops with easier access.

Combining An Post's GeoDirectory knowledge and Census data from the CSO–means you can see changing dynamics within areas as business open and close, new buildings come on stream, you can see the function of buildings change, track GeoDirectorys vacancy rates and use this information to become more predictive with Census data – you don’t have to wait for the next census in 5 years you build on the Census with GeoDirectory – remember the Small Areas are based on GeoDirectory.

There are business opportunities that the GeoDirectory building type data can give. Take, for example, the broader construction trade – the data can help insulation companies, painters and decorators, domestic builders, commercial builders, landscape gardeners all find better defined potential markets for their services. Add to this the CSO figures showing the ages of those living in an area and a lot of the guesswork is taken out of business marketing – for example, there’s little point in selling house repairs to those in new housing but every reason to target older, more settled areas, in need of a ‘doing up’ with a more mature, and possibly more affluent, demographic. However, pizza, babysitting and kids clothes shops are more likely to be needed in the newer housing area. That’s why Gerry Walker says, “The census puts hard facts behind any business case”.

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