Computer based mapping techniques

Bell, David N. F. and Carruth, Alan A. (1976) Computer based mapping techniques. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 2 (1). pp. 23-44. ISSN 0306-7866

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In the construction of a series of data files at the Fraser of Allander Institute for use in the analysis of short-term movements in the Scottish economy, primary consideration is given to the time series data; for example, Scottish unemployment levels over the last ten years. However, there is a wealth of information available, chiefly from official sources, which, though not available over a period of time, can be a useful adjunct to a developing knowledge of the operation of the Scottish economy. Such data are frequently not strictly economic in character but may well interact with the economic system, sometimes as cause, sometimes as effect. Undoubtedly the richest source of such data is the Census of Population. In this synopsis of recent work at the Fraser of Allander Institute we consider the efficacy of using computer mapping techniques to analyse such data. The great advantage of census data is the extent to which it is spatially disaggregated. Data are available down to enumeration district (E.D.) level. The average population of E.D.'s is well under 1000 persons. For small area studies the E.D. is the most useful spatial unit with which to operate. However, when considering the whole of Scotland such a detailed disaggregation would be extremely difficult to deal with.