Data rich - information poor

Visvalingam, Maheswari

Data exploration through visualisation; The ratio bias
20 October 2000


© Mahes Visvalingam, 2000. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. See

The allocation of ear-marked public funds to administrative areas is driven by indicators of local conditions, derived from large detailed volumes of government-collected data. This talk will discuss the problems involved in the computation of social indicators, focusing on primitive measures, such as the widely used but potentially misleading ratio indicators. Despite some 40 years of research on social indicators in data-rich nations, boasting the latest advances in technology, the state-of-the-art of information abstraction remains poor. Yet, public funding is becoming increasingly reliant on a medley of performance indicators. Members of the public should collaborate over the Internet in the evaluation, even if not the design, of indicators. This is an opportune time since the imminent 2001 population census is likely to instigate the computation of fresh social indicators for use over this decade.

The University of Hull
Additional notes
A talk given by Mahes Visvalingam at IAP2K - the Annual Symposium of the Institute of Analysts and Programmers in 2000.
1 MB


See also
University of Durham Census Research Unit Working Papers by Mahes Visvalingam
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