Merging statistics and Geospatial information (ESS action)

Merging statistics and geospatial information in the European statistical system (ESS)

In most countries, mapping and cadastral authorities and statistical offices already cooperate to varying degrees. However, the aim here is to develop common approaches and synergies further.

Integrating geographical and statistical information offers significant opportunities to maximise the utility of data collected for statistical purposes. Key phenomena that need to be precisely understood at local level also need to be more accurately measured, analysed and communicated. This in turn will make it possible to better establish and monitor policy initiatives. The Europe 2020 strategy objectives and ‘GDP and Beyond’ objectives contain many aspects that require information at a local level of relevance.

The 2020 vision of the European statistical system states that ‘there is a growing need to develop statistics with increasing geographical detail to support national and regional policy making’. Statistics with greater geographical detail are needed, for example, in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of EU policies.

European statistics make an essential contribution to building the information capacity required to support the EU’s strategic objectives and the underlying policies and supporting instruments. Geographic information used in combination with statistics and new data sources such as Big Data can make a substantial contribution to meeting this objective, in particular for social and environmental information. The big question is:

‘How can the portfolio of products and services of official statistics be designed to reflect these information requirements in the best possible way?’

Action taken over the last couple of years includes:

  • geo-referencing of official registers and administrative data used for statistics. This was done to achieve better linkage and integration of statistics and geography
  • evaluation of Big Data and Linked Data for statistical production.

Examples of official registers used for statistical purposes are: address registers, registers of people, farm registers, tax registers and business registers.

More results can be found at the GISCO wiki (access restricted to all ESSnet grantees).