Maps are key to neighbourhood

GERMARI HERSELMAN
Last updated 09:22 05/06/2014
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Statistics New Zealand have released maps giving the public access to detailed information about their neighbourhoods.

The census maps include information down to meshblock size, which is the smallest geographic unit Statistics New Zealand collects data on.

Census customer relations officer Donna Jones said at a presentation at the Marlborough Research Centre in Blenheim yesterday that a meshblock could vary in size - from part of a city block to larger areas if more rural.

Each meshblock borders on another to cover the country, she said.

The maps reveal information about each area's population. The graphic above shows an example of information available about the suburb of Witherlea, and on another scale, a residential block between Farmar and Budge streets in Blenheim. You can find out how many people live in the area, how many own their property, average incomes, ethnicity and male or female ratios. "You can break down how many people between ages 4 and 7 live in an area, to how many houses have two bedrooms and how many 5 bedrooms," Jones said.

Marlborough District Council strategic planning and economic development manager Neil Henry said the council had taken the census information and created their own smart map.

The map allows residents to zoom in on a meshblock and then select different information options they would like statistics on for that block.

"We have tried to make the maps as user-friendly as possible, and more information can be added to them," he said.

Council have added smoking statistics, employment, average household income and ownership.

Witherlea resident Paul Humphreys was excited about the amount of information now available to the public. "People would be foolish not to use this information. We can all benefit from it, whether it's for non-profit or profit companies or government agencies," he said.

Blenheim resident Kellie Sayer said she felt it made too much information available to the public.

"It will be great for burglars to see what the income is of an area, and if many people are away at work during the day," she said.

Redwoodtown's Nathan Mills was also impressed by the maps and how easy they were to use, but he, too, was worried they could make it easier for criminals to identify targets.

germari.herselman@mex.co.nz

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- The Marlborough Express

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