Friday, 30 October 2009

Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2009

Being of Scottish origin and interested as I am in understanding and measuring deprivation, the recently published Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2009 is today's topic. It updates previous indices (SIMD2004, SIMD2006) and it measures small area deprivation in a way similar to other deprivation indices used across the UK. More information on the indicators used can be found here, and useful background and methodology information is also available. There's now even an interactive mapping function, based on Microsoft Silverlight and Virtual Earth mapping technology.

There has been quite a bit of press coverage of this, for example - The Times, The Herald, the BBC, and of course the Sun. There was also a press release from the SNP. Here's a screenshot showing the location of the most deprived area in Scotland according to the SIMD2009 (click the image to see it full size).

By the way, the link between deprivation and football stadia is not unique to Glasgow or Scotland. North Liverpool and Anfield on the English IMD2004 and IMD2007 is another good example, as is the Millennium Stadium and the Welsh IMD2005. I will have to do another post on this topic...

Sunday, 25 October 2009


This post is all about CloudMade. What is it? This is how they describe themselves:

"CloudMade helps you make the most of map data. We source our maps from OpenStreetMap, the community mapping project which is making a free map of the world. Our aim is to continue the democratization of geo data and to expand access to open geo data through a range of simple yet powerful tools and APIs."

OpenStreetMap's UK homepage can be found here. So, it's basically all about mapping the world but not charging the earth for it. Or anything at all! OpenStreetMap was started in 2004 by Steve Coast, one of the co-founders of CloudMade. Play around with the map below...

View Larger Map

Why does this all matter? Because it's the start of a movement which could make available geo-data which was previously very costly and heavily restricted by licensing issues. It could be particularly good for GIS users in the UK. CloudMade have downloads available for a number of different data types, including Shapefiles, for the entire world. The coverage is sometimes patchy (though not for most areas), but it's growing by the day.

Here's the UK downloads page.

The Shapefiles are not complete, and the administrative data is in polyline rather than polygon format, but there is a lot of useful stuff here. In conclusion, the UK data is not yet comparable to high cost alternatives, but this is a good start!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

European Cities Monitor

The European Cities Monitor 2009 has recently been published, by Cushman and Wakefield, a global real estate firm. They've been doing it since 1990 and it is, essentially, a survey of Europe's major business centres.

This edition contains some well known facts - London, Paris and Frankfurt (in that order) remain at the top of the pile in relation to doing business in Europe. However, there are many more interesting nuggets, such as:
  • Birmingham is the biggest mover, up to 14th;
  • Rome moved up three places, but only from 25th to 22nd; and
  • Istanbul moved from 29th to 27th.
Lots of work has been done in this area, both from an academic point of view and from the private sector. However, the same things consistently emerge from research on doing business in cities. Hence, the most important things identified this year are quite familiar:
  1. Easy access to markets, customers, clients;
  2. Availability of qualified staff;
  3. Quality of telecommunications;
  4. Transport links with other cities, and internationally...
I could go on, but each of these were all reported as essential by more than 50% of survey respondents. Finally, what about quality of life? The top five cities are as follows:
  1. Barcelona
  2. Geneva
  3. Munich
  4. Oslo
  5. Madrid
In total, 500 companies were surveyed and 34 cities were included in the analysis.