Statistics online

A great application, put online recently by the Office of National Statistics, lets you get details of your neighbourhood, drawn from the most recent Census. This is the first time this has ever been done.

Sadly, despite it being great, I wonder whether it’s a use once and forget application. People will be curious to use it once and see what’s what, but then the next time they use it will be 6 years later (the average person moves house every 6-7 years).

This kind of application though is what e-government is all about – you just couldn’t do it without the web … and yet too few people will likely find it and too few will reuse it. For direct marketers, statisticians and curious people though it will be a boon.

I’m sure that the ONS folks are working on ever more clever uses of this data – imagine being able to trend the data from census to census, or over a 100 years and see how a neighbourhood has changed. Then think of what you could do with colour maps overlaid showing densities of different criteria. Clever stuff, nicely designed and bonus points for putting this online. Of course, because it wasn’t available before the web, they won’t get a tick in the box towards 100% online … but you can’t have everything.

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