Statistics New Zealand’s launch of a pair of services to business is the vanguard of a two- to three-year project to bring all its data into a central warehouse.
This will assist in “achieving standardisation in how we manage data”, says Deputy Government Statistician David Ng. It will ease the provision of further web-based services targeted at particular industry and community sectors, as part of Statistics’ contribution to the free release of government data in easy-to-use form.
Statistics will be the first national statistical office to use an SQL-based warehouse product called OECD.Stat developed by the OECD organisation for its own use and since taken up by the International Monetary Fund. Australia’s statistics office is currently negotiating use of the same package, says Ng. Statistics New Zealand chose OECD.Stat after considering other package options as well as its own development.
Meanwhile, under a previous programme, the agency has set up the Business Toolbox, which establishes the pattern for future web-based services working with the warehouse. Business Toolbox allows basic statistics on target markets and potential competitors to be presented in map form, which may assist businesses in deciding where to set up a new office or concentrate a marketing campaign.
Users can map the number of potential customers in their target market, by age, gender and race, in part of the country where they intend to concentrate effort. Separately they can retrieve data on the number and size of companies in that industry sector and region – as well as the number of companies that were started and have ceased business.
“This is the first time we have built an effective visualisation and mapping tool,” says Ng.
As the warehouse is built the breadth of data available in similar easy-to-use query formats will expand to the whole Statistics database.
“We might in future put up a service aimed, for example, at schools or local government,” he says.