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7 Sep 2010

Minutes from recent meeting

Posted by Daniel Lewis. No Comments

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

3 Sep 2010

OAC Event Update…

Posted by Alex. No Comments

We have just finished putting the final touches to our annual OAC event. The programme and abstracts can be downloaded here. We are really looking forward to seeing you all at the RSS on Monday! For directions, the RSS is located at: 12 Errol Street, London, EC1Y 8LX. Google tells us this is located here.

20 Jul 2010


Posted by Alex. 1 Comment

It is the time of year again where we announce the speakers for our September conference. The programme this year is especially good and we are hoping for a full house!

Please Register Here: http://oac.eventbrite.com/

DATE: 6th September 2010


Cuts in government spending have created huge pressure to make efficiency savings across the public sector. This is driving a need for new and creative ways of maintaining successful delivery of public services while operating under constrained financial and human resources. OAC offers a shared understanding of local areas by linking intelligence and customer insight from across the public sector, and through this integration, enables the delivery of better services at lower cost.

OAC is a free and open geodemographic classification that is supplied by the Office of National Statistics. In this half day seminar a variety of expert speakers will introduce you to a diverse set of tools, software and case study analyses that demonstrate how OAC can be used to understand place based budgeting and make efficiency savings.


13.30 – 14.00 – Registration
14.00 – 14.10 – Introduction. Alex Singleton: University College London
14.10 – 14.35 – OAC in an age of austerity. John Fisher: Local Futures
14.35 – 15.00 – Using geo-demographic classifications for customer insight. Miranda Webb and Andrew Rudd: Worcestershire County Council
15.00 – 15.25 – Married to MOSAIC or could we have an affair with OAC? Steven Rose: Birmingham City Council
15.25 – 15.50 – The British Population Survey – an introduction to a new perspective. Mike Hare: The BPS
15.50 – 14.15 – Open Data, Free Tools. Alex Singleton and Daniel Lewis: University College London
16.15 – 16.30 – Questions for the Speakers / Discussion

1 Jul 2010

Cambridgeshire OAC Atlas

Posted by Daniel Lewis. No Comments

In addition to the previously available Cambridgeshire Atlas that details the results of the Cambridgeshire Place Survey, the Local Authority have now released a short summary atlas specifically geared towards use of the Output Area Classification (OAC) in Cambridgeshire.

The latest Cambridgeshire Atlas displays indicators of the characteristics of local areas at a small area level. This is achieved through the use of a customer insight tool called Output Area Classification (OAC). OAC is a geodemographic tool offering socio-demographic data for local neighbourhoods. There are three levels to the classification, which includes seven supergroups, 21 groups and 52 subgroups. The Cambridgeshire Atlas displays the seven supergroups
and the 21 groups. Using the groups classification adds greater distinction to the atlas.

This is a good example of simple and clean visualisation, and hence communication, of OAC for an area.

The interaactive map can be accessed here: http://map1.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/observe/Flash/OAC/atlas.html

18 Jun 2010


Posted by Alex. No Comments

An open license for the non PAF version of the NSPD postcode lookup file is now available here. The terms of which enable a user to:

  • Copy, distribute and transmit the Data
  • Adapt the Data
  • Exploit the Data commercially whether by sub-licensing it, combining it with other data or by including it in your own product or application

This is great news as it includes OAC as one of the variables and makes address lookups a much simpler process. We shall update the tutorial guides on the website soon to reflect this change.

UPDATE: It should be noted that the ONS have a ‘Standard annual supply charge’ which is raised on all orders. This costs £200 annually and covers the four updates during the year.

Standard annual supply charge cost for four quarterly versions raised on all orders: £200

18 Jun 2010

British Population Survey Using OAC

Posted by Daniel Lewis. No Comments

The British Population Survey provides some of the most robust and up-to-date demographic data on Great Britain, and it has just improved, having added OAC as a variable, allowing greater insight into the population characteristics of the OAC variables than ever before.

The British Population Survey interviews between 6 and 8 thousand individuals every month, accounting for an annual total of 80 to 85 thousand people. Each wave of interviews is entirely representative of the British adult population and is conducted by interviewers face-to-face as opposed to over the internet or by mail-shot.

The objective of the British Population Survey is to answer questions as to how many people fit a specific profile, how these profiles compare, what the effect of time is, and so on. Thus the addition of OAC allows the deeper appreciation of the structure of population groups, and of the strength of geodemographic classifications.

Accessing the British Population Survey (and the associated British Marketing Survey) involves going to the BPS website and downloading their data analysis software – DataTalk Explorer. You can download the software for free and it comes with a complete set of 2008 data so you can get a sense of how it can be of use to you. The most up-to-date data (currently May 2010 – total over 200,000 interviews) is available for a one off, no commitment, fee of £125.

In terms of what this means for OAC, we will have the OAC classification available in a commercial product which will hopefully increase awareness of the classification and its status as a National Statistic, but we are also working with the chaps at the British population survey to produce some static index scores, as part of an anticipated Grand Index, for OAC in order to begin to add value to the classification and make it a more useful choice for users.

24 May 2010

OAC and Geodemographics in GeoConnexions

Posted by Daniel Lewis. No Comments

Tony Duckenfield and Sheila Quan of the Output Area Classifiation User Group (OACUG) have had an article regarding geodemographics and the recession published in the geography trade magazine GeoConnexions.

The article is available here.

23 May 2010

OAC: Local and Regional Intelligence

Posted by Alex. No Comments

The OAC User Group were invited to participate in a Local and Regional Intelligence (LARI) event in the West Midlands.

“LARI is a CLG funded IEWM regional efficiency and transformation focused initiative. It seeks to develop and demonstrate the value of a local and regional intelligence network in order to share learning, strengthen relationships and ultimately benefit policy and decision making .The project will run for the period September 2009 to March 2011.”

The event website can be found here.

An overview and presentation from the event can be found here:

9 Apr 2010

OAC Case Studies

Posted by Daniel Lewis. No Comments

We’ve recently revised our ‘Case Studies‘ page, accessed by clicking on the tab in the title bar. We hope you will find it a useful resource. The case studies are split into a number of different groupings to make browsing easier, once you select a grouping, a list of studies tagged with that reference are shown and from that you can read the studies that interest you. This is a system that is moving towards the so-called ‘semantic web’ currently being pushed by Tim Berners-Lee and the UK Governments data.gov.uk data dissemination website.

If you have any work that uses OAC that you think will be a useful addition to the case studies currently available please get in touch with the chair or secretary of the group.

The most recent case study is this one regarding the Cambridgeshire Place Report and Interactive map.

24 Mar 2010

ONS Census Output Consultation

Posted by Daniel Lewis. No Comments

The OACUG has sent the following response to the ONS call for consultation on outputs of the forthcoming 2011 census.

ONS Census 2011 Output Consultation

  • 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 Alex Singleton also in CASA and the Department of Geography at UCL.