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17 Feb 2012

A New UK Output Area Classification – User Engagement

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A joint project has been set up between ONS and University College London to develop a new UK Output Area Classification, for which we are seeking your views and thoughts. The new Output Area Classification is planned to be created using 2011 Census data, when available, and is relevant to anyone interested in social area classifications, encompassing geodemographics and neighbourhood classifications.

A user engagement exercise began on 17 February 2012 and runs until 30 March 2012. For further information, and details on how to respond to this user engagement exercise, please see the ONS webpage for User Engagement on a new United Kingdom Output Area Classification or alternatively you can download the User Engagement form direct from here.

If you would like to see some of the initial work that has been undertaken by , a UCL research student whose PhD is focussing on creating this new Output Area Classification, then please click here.

26 Jan 2011

ONS’s new Wealth and Assets Survey – now analysed using OAC

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Many OAC User Group members will be delighted to learn that not only has ONS coded its Wealth and Assets Survey with OAC, but there’s a paper “Exploring the geographical distribution of wealth using the output area classification” in the latest Economic & Labour Market Review (Jan 2011). http://www.statistics.gov.uk/articles/elmr/elmr-jan11.pdf – pages 59-78.

You’ll see some dramatic profiles of the variations in Total, Property, sell house fast options, Pension, Financial and Physical Wealth by neighbourhood type.This follows the initial publication of a 174-page report on the Wealth and Assets Survey at the end of 2009: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/STATBASE/Product.asp?vlnk=15074

3 Dec 2010

New Clickable OAC Map

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Researcher Oliver O’Brien at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) has just published a new version of the national OAC Map to Maptube. This is now enhanced with Group labels, along with clickable details on each Ouptut Area. Many thanks Ollie! Map is available here.

1 Dec 2010

2010 Family Spending report: Household Expenditure by OAC

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The 2010 Family Spending report is available here and presents a series of interesting OAC profiles.

“The supergroups with the highest expenditure are supergroups 2 (city living) and 4 (prospering suburbs), spending an average of £457.90 and £454.10 per week, respectively, followed by supergroup 3 (countryside), with expenditure of £433.70. Supergroup 5 (constrained by circumstances) showed the lowest expenditure at £269.20 followed by supergroup 1 (blue collar communities)….”

Weekly spending is also broken down into a series of categories:

Food & non-alcoholic drinks; Alcoholic drinks, tobacco & narcotics;  Clothing & footwear ; Housing , fuel & power;  Household goods & services;  Health;  Transport;  Communication  Recreation & culture;  Education;  Restaurants & hotels;  Miscellaneous goods & services.

See page 117 onwards from the ONS report located here.

12 Sep 2010

OAC in Journal of Maps and the Telegraph

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There are 3 interesting papers on OAC in the current issue of the Journal of Maps:

Visualising the Output Area Classification ( http://www.journalofmaps.com/crossrefMap.php?mid=1102)

Mapping the geodemographic classifications of migrants’ origins and destinations (http://www.journalofmaps.com/crossrefMap.php?mid=1106)

Rectangular Hierarchical Cartograms for Socio-Economic Data (http://www.journalofmaps.com/crossrefMap.php?mid=1090)

The final paper has also appeared as a piece in the Telegraph recently on ‘social tribes’ – available here.

Thanks to Jo Wood, Aidan Slingsby and Jason Dykes for the image, created the map as part of their work at City University London’s giCentre.

7 Sep 2010

OACoder Postcode Coding Tool

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What is the OACoder Software?

The OAC classification has previously been disseminated by the ONS at the Output Area Level. For a lot of users this has been problematic given that address records typically consist of lists of unit postcodes. A recent development at the ONS has created an open licence version of the National Statistics Postcode Directory (NSPD), which usefully includes an OAC Code for each unit postcode in the UK. Researchers at University College London and University of Liverpool have created a free tool which uses this file and can read a CSV list of postcodes, and then append the corresponding OAC code for each of these addresses.

How do I get the Software?

The good news is that this tool is free to use – the only requirement being that you agree to the terms of a license as part of a short software request form. This is available here.

7 Sep 2010

OAC Grand Index

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We have just finished compiling version 1.0 of the OAC grand index. This is a tool which we hope you will find useful in its current form, however, we will be adding more data in the future as and when this becomes available. For this first edition we would like to thank Daryl LloydDepartment for Transport and Mike Hare - British Population Survey for their very generous contributions of data; and furthermore, Daniel Lewis and Singleton for compilation the spreadsheet.

The spreadsheet is available in Microsoft Excel format and available to download here.

What is a grand index?

A grand index is a simple spreadsheet of index scores for a series of variables cross tabulated with OAC Sub Groups, Groups and Super Groups. These index scores can be used to target specific OAC clusters in your profiling work. For example, you could ask which neighbourhoods in your local area are likely to contain users of social networking websites?

7 Sep 2010


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Many thanks to all those who attended our OAC User Group Annual Conference, and additional thanks to all of our speakers. The slides from the talks have all been uploaded to slideshare:

Introduction. Singleton: University of Liverpool

OAC in an age of austerity. John Fisher: Local Futures

Using geo-demographic classifications for customer insight. Miranda Webb and Andrew Rudd: Worcestershire County Council

Married to MOSAIC or could we have an affair with OAC? Steven Rose: Birmingham City Council

The British Population Survey – an introduction to a new perspective. Mike Hare: The BPS

How The British Population Survey can enhance geodemographics. Martin Callingham: Birkbeck College

Open Data, Free Tools. Singleton: University of Liverpool and Daniel Lewis: University College London

7 Sep 2010

Standard Colours for OAC

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We at the OAC User Group feel that implementing a standard set of colours would help OAC. It would make it easier to share data visualisations, such as graphs and maps if the groups were directly comparable by colour, and would give OAC a branded feel, bringing it in line with other commercial classifications.

As such, we have tabulated a colour set that was designed by Martin Callingham, and is currently in use by the people at localfutures. We recommend you use it, although of course you are not required to.

The colour specifications, in RGB, HSV, Hex and CMYK are available in the attached excel file, inputting these values will allow you to visualise OAC in a uniform way. We will look to harmonise all our future releases in line with these colours.

Download OAC colours excel spreadsheet: OAC_Colours

7 Sep 2010

Minutes from recent meeting

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The minutes from the recent meeting on the 6th of September, of the OACUG Steering committee are now available, they can be accessed here.

  • Browse

  • The Output Area Classification

    The Output Area Classification (OAC) distills key results from the Census for the whole of the UK to indicate the character of local areas.

    It profiles populations, structures other data, and helps target resources. OAC is in the public domain, and the User Group supports and promotes its use as geodemography open to all.

    More about: OAC, Getting Started, the User Group.
  • Quick Links

  • Oac Interactive Map

    Extract from OAC Map
    OAC interactive map was developed by Richard Milton at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at UCL.

    SOAC/DZ interactive map was developed by Maurizio Gibin and Singleton also in CASA and the Department of Geography at UCL.