1504.0 - Methodological News, Mar 2012  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/03/2012   
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Recent Developments in the Remote Execution Environment for Microdata

The key components of the Remote Execution Environment for Microdata (REEM) are the development of a Survey Table Builder (STB) and an Analysis Service (AS). These services will access de-identified detailed household survey microdata held in the ABS secure environment, with confidentiality routines built into the table-building and model estimation processes to ensure that outputs are confidentialised in line with ABS legislative requirements and can be released as public use outputs.

REEM will also use internationally recognised standards for the exchange of data and metadata including the use of the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI), Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX) and machine-to-machine interfaces (APIs). The adoption of these standards will enable the ABS to disseminate richer metadata to assist researchers in the use and interpretation of ABS microdataThe development of STB for Household collections has commenced with staged development planned to occur over the next two years. The first stage of STB has now been released to selected users for evaluation. This release enables estimates of counts of households, families, income units and persons to be tabulated from household survey data. Currently, 2009 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) data is available in STB. Data from the 2010 Characteristics of Recent Migrants Survey (CORMS) data is also planned to be loaded to STB during the evaluation period. The evaluation period will run until the end of March 2012. After the evaluation is complete, there will be a full release of the first stage of STB. A number of additional survey datasets will be made available on STB during the period from April to June 2012.

The next stage of STB development will incorporate functionality to produce key estimates from continuous data items such as income from household surveys (expected for release in late 2012). Investigations have also commenced into the feasibility of releasing administrative and linked datasets into STB.

In parallel, the ABS has commenced development of the Analysis Service (AS). This Service will incorporate basic analysis techniques including exploratory data analysis and common modelling techniques (such as linear, logistic, multinomial and probit regression models). Data transformations, manipulation and data aggregation tools will also be available to allow users to create their own customised datasets from ABS datasets. The AS will provide a menu-based user interface for users to apply analysis requests as well as an Action Lists to provide users with a log of previous actions applied.

The first staged test release of the AS is planned for July 2012 for the 2010 CORMS data. User feedback will be sought from selected users following the June 2012 release, which will be used to prioritise enhancements and additional functionality for subsequent releases. Later releases will include functionality to handle complex hierarchical data structures and multiple response variables.

Further Information
For more information, please contact Victoria Leaver (02 6252 5445, victoria.leaver@abs.gov.au) or Daniel Elazar (02 6252 6962, daniel.elazar@abs.gov.au).