Tech Ed: Statistics displays Excel-based web rebuild

50% indicate they would be willing to complete 2011 census online

Statistics New Zealand today demonstrated version 2 of its web-based statistical processing and publishing system, which allows Excel 2007 users to both analyse and publish data from the one interface.

Back-end development to allow users to remain within Excel is complete and work is now progressing on the front-end. Statistics New Zealand's Chris Toohey demonstrated the system's new capabilities at Tech Ed today in a new stream to the conference called "Voice of the Customer".

He says it will reduce reliance on "proprietary tools" by allowing users to both analyse and publish data from within Excel. Version 1 of the system emulated certain Excel functions, but now users with access to Statistics New Zealand data can use the real thing.

Toohey says New Zealand was perhaps the first country in the world to offer people the option of completing their census online. This had been trialled elsewhere but was implemented here for the 2006 census as Version 1 of the project.

Version 1 was an enormously complex project aimed at fulfilling Statistics' part of the overall E-Government initiative. It was based around Microsoft technologies such as .Net, Analysis Server and developed with Microsoft.

Toohey says, for example, that the standard Microsoft cube has 12 dimensions, while Statistics' cube has 180 plus 240 variables. Another complex part of the development was building confidentiality rules into the system. These are attached to the cube and so are applied independently of the querying interface.

While only 7% of people completed the census online in 2006, up to 50% have indicated they will be willing to do so in 2011, he says. Feedback from those who did complete online has been very positive, he says.

Version 1 of the system sped analysis and publication of results and automated many processes. For instance, analysis for one region can be replicated automatically for up to 100 other regions.

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Tags MicrosoftTECH EDstatisticsDevelopment ID2007

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