A two-year visual snapshot of ABS Transformation achievements 2015 - 2017
In 2016, the ABS delivered a digital-first Census. Despite the website outage on Census night, more than 95 per cent of households completed the Census with more than 63% completing it online. And for the first time, an early preview of the 2016 Census results was released providing insights into what makes the ‘typical’ Australian at the national and state & territory level, and showing what has changed over time.
2016 saw us moving from traditional hand delivery of census forms to mailing them to the majority of homes. We also adopted a successful BYOD strategy where field officers used their own mobile devices in the field. 27,000 staff used their own device which we believe is a record BYOD deployment in Australia.
"I'm 75 and have not worked for a few years but when I saw I could work on the Census using my iPad I thought I'd give it a go. It’s great getting out and helping people participate in the Census. I never realised how easy using the app would be. Knowing the info I’ve recorded is stored as I record it, all using my own iPad. I’d do it again!"
– Field Officer, Young NSW debrief session Sept 2016.
The ABS has enhanced the CPI through research, innovation and extensive consultation with international experts and key stakeholders.
The changes include updating consumer spending patterns each year and increasing the use of transactions data from large Australian retailers.
It means we can deliver a more accurate measure of household inflation and capture more accurately the substitution of goods and services purchased by consumers.
Data services are transforming the way people incorporate ABS data into their own environments. By 2019, ABS data and metadata will be instantly available upon release and updated in customer environments via an automated machine-to-machine access channel, without the need for any intervention.
ABS Data Services enables instant access to key ABS statistics using machine-to-machine ‘API calls’ to our external ABS data warehouse. These calls return ABS statistics in a machine friendly format for simple integration with systems, applications or web pages.
This service is designed for customers who want to integrate the data into their own systems automatically. The service is also designed to empower developers and programmers to create original and innovative applications of ABS data to reveal interesting insights and stories.
Detailed statistical data (microdata) is available to customers across Australia through the ABS Data Laboratory (DataLab).
The DataLab provides safe and secure access to highly detailed microdata to authorised users for policy and statistical research purposes. Initially limited to physical on-site access, DataLab now provides customers with virtual access to ABS microdata from their own place of work.
The DataLab is available to people who wish to conduct in-depth analysis and research for statistical purposes.
Over 400 people from almost 50 different organisations have been trained to use the DataLab. These include a growing number of people from the Australian Government, state and territory governments, as well as academic researchers.
“It is incredibly user-friendly (and I am not tech- or computer- savvy), and to my mind probably provides the easiest and best access to the data, to get the most detailed results in the most efficient manner"
“It’s so much better now that I can conduct my analysis at my own desk in my own time"
“It is excellent that ABS data is being opened up to outside researchers..."
– Feedback from DataLab users
The ABS has collaborated with CSIRO’s Data61, Australia’s leading data innovation group, to develop a better way to provide ABS statistics directly to NationalMap.
NationalMap is an interactive tool that allows people to visually explore a range of government and non-government datasets for various locations around Australia. It is hosted by the data.gov.au website and uses data services to automatically access ABS data. As more ABS data becomes available through data services the range of statistics available for mapping will grow!
“ABS has made an incredibly rich and varied range of data available to NationalMap. As a result we have been able to add lots of new datasets– from population forecasts in 2036, to where the most fruit and nut orchards are – which we expect to put to lots of interesting new uses.”
- Senior Software Engineer, Data61
Data integration (or linked data) brings together information from two or more sources to create new datasets, providing fresh insights about communities, families, industry and the economy. It makes more effective use of data that has already been collected and reduces the workload on households and businesses.
Through our data integration projects, we are working together with government, research and private sector partners to help improve government policies, programs and services.
You can expect greater linkage between Census data, business and household survey data and administrative datasets for richer data and new insights (while keeping information safe, secret and secure).
The benefits are already being realised with the linking of social services data to Census data increasing our understanding of the socio-economic issues facing Australians.
We have also released the first detailed Labour Account of jobs across industries, which is providing a richer picture of labour market dynamics.
We are further enhancing our national data integration capability through the decision of the Australian Government in the 2017 Budget to establish the Data Integration Partnership for Australia (DIPA).
DIPA is a nationally coordinated initiative to improve data management and analytical capability across government. DIPA will maximise the use and value of public sector data through data integration for research and statistical purposes.
We are working with Commonwealth partners to create high value, secure national data assets to inform social, economic, environmental, and government policies and programs.
MADIP is a partnership between the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Australian Taxation Office, the Department of Education and Training, the Department of Health, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Social Services. MADIP securely links Medicare, government payments, personal income tax, and Census data for policy analysis, research, and statistical purposes.
BLADE combines ABS business survey and administrative data linked by Australian Business Numbers (ABNs). Approved researchers can access one or more of these combined datasets to analyse issues of strategic importance to the Australian economy.
This data is made available to researchers securely and safely through the ABS DataLab.
The project’s pioneering work has provided insights around the importance of small and medium enterprises to employment growth and innovation.
The ABS National Data Acquisition Centre (NDAC) in Geelong is improving the experience of providing information to the ABS. NDAC brings the collection of data for all business and household surveys together in one place. The centre is also focusing on collecting information from alternate data sources and developing innovative methods to lead the way in data collection.
Better survey design and collection processes improves data quality and reduces risk. NDAC has a user-focused approach to collection design and strategies, including simple, easy to follow surveys and readily available help.
To stay up to date with the latest ABS news visit the ABS Media Centre
What this means for you
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Transformation in action