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Combining Open Data and GIS in Kristiansand

Kristiansand (Norway) has for a long time spent resources on analyzing and publishing data based on demographics. The reason for that is basically for planning purposes, to monitor the populations’ composition and to secure the budgets, e.g. for young and elderly people services. The data has been received in geographically divided areas in a highly detailed form, which has been considered too detailed for publication due to privacy issues. (Very small areas that can be utterly revealing for information like single/married, income, illnesses and others.)

The information/statistics publicized are on an aggregate level and in terms of general classification of mainly age groups. As said, however, the statistics are much more detailed than on a macro average level, one can therefore also use the data for more exact analyses and analyses across different services, something that will give a greater insight into specific needs, over- or under-distribution of services, investments and other information.

For some time there have been discussions on open data: what to publish and how to do that. No definitive decisions have been taken yet, but by preparing for a redesign of geographic areas from what is called “Basic areas”, to larger areas like “School recruitment areas” and “Living-conditions areas”, new ways of looking at statistics are opened up and, if wanted, data can be published because the areas are big enough to guarantee that there is no violation of privacy.

Why is this done?

  • Basic segmentation for the Health and Social Care department for checking distribution of services and the coverage of resources.
  • Several other purposes, like density of sports and recreational facilities; planning purposes like allowing more or higher buildings into an area; establishing more or reduction of public services like Health Care Stations, kindergartens and/or schools.
  • Third party interests may use the data for whatever purpose they may think of like comparisons between areas, areas for new investments, demographic comparisons between areas or service levels for areas.
  • Statistics can be combined with GIS-data, thus increasing value for municipal or third party purposes e.g. in the ease of finding data or combining data and geography. As the data available in the GIS solution increases it will also lead to other interesting possibilities.

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