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Developing an Online Confidential Spatial Statistical Output System for the UK 2001 Census

University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Key words: Census, Web, Zone Design, Confidentiality, Web Mapping, Open Standards

This paper details  plans for and progress towards building a flexible output system for querying 2001 UK census data. Querying will be available by user-defined geography, standard geography sets, and flexible classification variables. At the same time, the confidentiality of the Office of National Statistics' data will be upheld. This complexity of this task will, however, be completely hidden from the end-user through the use of a simple and intuitive user interface that will supply the final data in a number of GIS friendly and visual formats over the world wide web.

The census offices recently announced their plans to provide simple cost effective and rapid systems for the 2001 census  (Census News 41, 1999) which would allow users to request their own customised outputs for their own geographies. This research plans to support this task by developing and testing a pilot system that would allow census end-users to define their own data needs and to specify the scale and type of geography they would like using a web interface. The system would then automatically check to ensure that confidentiality safeguards have been met, and if not, then it would suggest changes to the geography, content, or detail of content that would trade-off loss of detail (either geographical or data content) to ensure confidentiality restrictions are met. The system will be designed to be portable by adhering to open standards that are currently supported by a majority of vendors. This will guarantee that the system is still useful in 2002 and beyond.