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Frequently Asked Questions
 

Why was the ASGS implemented?

When was the ASGS introduced?

What happened to the ASGC?

How is ABS data being released during the transition from the ASGC to the ASGS?

Which ABS publications have begun the transition to the ASGS?

How often will the ASGS be revised?

How do LGAs fit into the ASGS?

How do I convert data based on the ASGC to the ASGS?

How does the ABS define Urban and Rural?

What is the purpose of the Remoteness Structure?

Where can I find ARIA scores?

What is the difference between Postcodes and Postal Areas?

How does the ABS define Metropolitan and non-Metropolitan?

Where do I find Geographical Correspondences (Concordances)?

What data will be available on Mesh Blocks from the 2011 Census?

Where can I find the 2011 edition of Mesh Blocks digital boundaries?

What Geographic Correspondences (Concordances) does the ABS intend to prepare for the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS)?

ABS Information on Geocoding.
1. What is geocoding?
2. What support does the ABS provide for geocoding?
3. How can I get my addresses geocoded?



Why was the ASGS implemented?

The Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) has been replaced by the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) as the Australian Bureau of Statistics' new geographical framework. The ASGS was adopted for release of data from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing, however, 2011 Census data is also be available on ASGC Statistical Local Areas (SLAs). The vast majority of ABS spatial data will be based on the ASGS by 2014.

The ASGS addresses some of the shortcoming of the ASGC in that:

  • it brings all the geographic regions used by the ABS into the one framework
  • it is more stable, the ABS structures will be remain stable between Census; unlike the ASGC regions which were reviewed annually
  • the regions at each level of the ASGS ABS structures are more consistent in population size
  • the regions at each level of the ASGS ABS structures are optimised for the statistical data to be released for them
  • the Main Structure Statistical Area (SA) units are based on the idea of a functional area and built around whole official gazetted localities, which will result in more meaningful regions
  • it is based on Mesh Blocks and can therefore support more accurate statistics for a range of commonly used administrative regions such as Postcodes and electoral divisions.
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When was the ASGS introduced?

The ASGS came into effect in July 2011. It has been adopted for the 2011 Census of Population and Housing. The first ASGS Manual including the boundaries, maps and structures for most of the ABS regions was published in December 2010.

Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) publicationRelease date
1270.0.55.001 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 201123 December 2010
1270.0.55.002 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 2 - Indigenous Structure, July 201120 September 2011
1270.0.55.003 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 3 - Non ABS Structures, July 201122 July 2011
1270.0.55.004 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 4 - Significant Urban Areas, Urban Centres and Localities, Section of State, July 201116 October 2012
1270.0.55.005 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure, July 201131 January 2013
1270.0.55.006 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Correspondences, July 201127 June 2012

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What happened to the ASGC?

The ASGC boundaries and codes were published for the final time on 14 July 2011. For one year from July 2011 the ASGC and the ASGS operated in tandem. From July 2012, the ASGS is the sole ABS statistical geography. Remoteness Areas, Section of State and Urban Centres and Localities are now part of the ASGS, but are built from Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s) rather than Census Collection Districts.

The 2011 Census of Population and Housing has released data on both the ASGS and on the 2011 Statistical Local Areas from the ASGC. Census Collection Districts were not defined as part of the 2011 ASGC and consequently 2011 Census data is not available for these. They have been replaced with ASGS SA1s.

LGAs remain part of the ASGS and the ABS will continue to publish a wide range of data for them.

The Final ASGC publications are listed below:

Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) publicationRelease date
1216.0.15.001 Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) - Electronic Structures, July 201114 July 2011
1216.0.15.002 Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) Correspondences, July 201114 July 2011
1259.0.30.001 Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) Digital Boundaries, Australia, July 201114 July 2011
1216.0 Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), July 20115 October 2011

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How will ABS data be released during the transition from the ASGC to the ASGS?

A summary of the ABS publications that are impacted by the transition from the ASGC to the ASGS is provided on the ASGS Implementation Schedule for ABS Publications web page. For each publication a table summarises how and when the publication will be output on the ASGC as well as the ASGS. Where available, links to further information are also included.
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Have any ABS statistical publications begun the transition to the ASGS?

The first ABS publication to release statistics to ASGS regions is Building Approvals, Australia, Jul 2011 (cat. no. 8731.0).

The ABS publication Local Government and ABS, 2012 (cat. no. 1376.0) contains a feature article 'Exploring the New ABS Geography with Buildings Data'. The article outlines four case studies of 'New House Building Approvals' data illustrating, with maps, the impact of change in statistical geography from the ASGC to the ASGS.

A comprehensive list of ABS publications and the planned strategies to transition to the ASGS, is provided on the ASGS Implementation Schedule for ABS Publications web page. For each publication a table summarises how and when the publication will be output on the ASGC as well as the ASGS. The table also indicates the availability of any time series data that will be provided as well as resources where further information is available.
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How often will ASGS be revised?

The ABS Structures within the ASGS will be revised and published with digital boundaries for each Census, that is, every 5 years. The Non-ABS Structures within the ASGS, which generally represent administrative boundaries such as Local Government Areas (LGA), will be revised annually.
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How do LGAs fit into the ASGS?

LGAs are not defined by the ABS and are therefore identified as Non-ABS (administrative) regions in the ASGS. The ABS will continue to provide a wide range statistics for LGAs.
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How do I convert data based on the ASGC to the ASGS?

While the ASGS provides a better platform for the analysis of time series into the future, it also creates a break in time series of data based on the ASGC.

The ABS is responding to this issue in several ways:

1. The ABS has created a series of population and area based correspondences (concordances) between the ASGC regions and the new ASGS regions.

A range of correspondences are available through the online ABS publication: Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Correspondences, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.006).

For detailed information about correspondences, please refer to the ABS publication: Information Paper: Converting Data to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard, 2012 (cat. no. 1216.0.55.004).

2. Census data is available on both the 2011 ASGS and 2011 ASGC regions, with the exception of Census Collection Districts (CCDs).

3. Preserving the ASGC Statistical Divisions was a criteria in the design of the SA2 level of the ASGC. It is therefore possible to reconstruct data for Statistical Divisions from SA2 data released under the ASGS.

4. Some historic demographic data will be recast on to the ASGS regions.

5. Regional Labour Force estimates will be recast on to the ASGS SA4s.

A summary of the ABS publications that are impacted by the transition from the ASGC to the ASGS is provided on the ASGS Implementation Schedule for ABS Publications web page. For each publication a table summarises how and when the publication will be output on the ASGC as well as the ASGS. The table also indicates the availability of any time series data that will be provided as well as resources where further information will be available.

For more information please view Converting Data to the ASGS

To contact the ABS on this matter please email geography@abs.gov.au
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How does the ABS define Urban and Rural?

The ABS Section of State (SOS) Structure of the ASGS defines Urban and Rural.

SOS aggregates the Urban Centre and Locality (UCL) on the basis of population ranges i.e. all UCLs in a S/T within a particular population range are combined into a single SOS.

There are 4 SOS identifiers and names. These are listed below with definitions.
SOS Identifiers and Names

Identifier Name Definition

0 Major Urban Major Urban represents a combination of all Urban Centres with a population of 100,000 or more
1 Other Urban Other Urban represents a combination of all Urban Centres with a population between 1,000 and 99,999
2 Bounded Locality Bounded Localities represents a combination of all Bounded Localities
3 Rural Balance Rural Balance represents the Remainder of State/Territory


The SOS categories of:
  • 0 - Major Urban
  • 1 - Other Urban
are regarded as Urban.


The SOS categories of:
  • 2 - Bounded Locality
  • 3 - Rural balance
are regarded as Rural.

For more information please refer to the online ABS publication: Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 4 - Significant Urban Areas, Urban Centres and Localities, Section of State, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.004).
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What is the purpose of the Remoteness Structure?

The concept of remoteness is an important dimension of policy development in Australia. The provision of many government services are influenced by the typically long distances that people are required to travel outside the major metropolitan areas. The purpose of the Remoteness Structure is to provide a classification for the release of statistics that inform policy development by classifying Australia into large regions that share common characteristics of remoteness. It is based on the calculated road distances to the nearest service centres in 5 categories of population size.
For more information please refer to the online ABS publication: Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.005).
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Where can I find ARIA scores?

The ABS does not provide ARIA scores. The Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) is a product of the National Centre for Social Applications of GIS (GISCA) now incorporated by the University of Adelaide's Australian Population and Migration Research Centre (APMRC):
http://www.adelaide.edu.au/apmrc/

The ABS uses ARIA scores in a collaboration with GISCA to create the Remoteness Structure. The Remoteness Structure is based on an extended version of the original ARIA methodology called ARIA+.

ARIA+ is widely used within the Australian community and has become a recognised as a nationally consistent measure of geographic remoteness. The APMRC's ARIA and Accessibility web page provides more information on the subject and on how to obtain ARIA scores.

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How does the ABS define Metropolitan and non-Metropolitan?

The ABS does not define Metropolitan and non-Metropolitan Areas. To understand what the terms refer to in particular instances you should contact the source of the information. In general, the terms are often used to mean the Capital City Statistical Divisions and the rest of State as defined in the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). For more information on Statistical Divisions see the following publication:

1216.0 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), July 2011

The ASGC has been replaced by the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) as the ABS' new geographical framework. Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSAs) are part of the ASGS main structure. GCCSA are geographical areas that are designed to represent the socio-economic definition of each of the eight State and Territory capital cities. They replace the Capital City Statistical Divisions and provide a stable definition for these cities which already being used for the output of a range of social and economic survey data. For information on GCCSA see the following publication:

1270.0.55.001 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2011

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What is the difference between Postcodes and Postal Areas?

A postcode is a four digit number used by Australia Post to assist with mail delivery. As this is a commonly recognised code many people use it as a make-shift geographic region for their data, but its boundaries are not well defined (Australia Post do not publish Postcode boundaries).

Postal Areas (POA) are part of the ASGS Non-ABS Structures which bring together those regions which are not defined by the ABS, but are important to users of ABS statistics. POAs have been constructed from SA1s. POA allocations have been determined using the best available information on postcode boundaries. Unfortunately, official maps of postcode boundaries have not been updated since the early 1990s and none of the more recent digital interpretations have been endorsed by Australia Post. Therefore, users should be aware of the limitations of the POA classification.

More information on 2011 Postal Areas can be found here:

1270.0.55.003 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 3 - Non ABS Structures, July 2011

Information on 2006 Postal Areas can be found here:

2905.0 - Statistical Geography: Volume 2 - Census Geographic Areas, Australia, 2006

2914.0 Postcodes and Census Data Fact Sheet

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Where do I find Geographical Correspondences (Concordances)?

Correspondences can be used where the location information of original collection units is not available. They are a mathematical method of reassigning data from one geographic region to a new geographic region.

For detailed information about correspondences please view the online ABS publication: Information Paper: Converting Data to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard, 2012 (cat. no. 1216.0.55.004).

An extensive range of correspondences are available through the following online ABS publication: Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Correspondences, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.006).


Some coding indexes and ASGS allocation tables are also available. For a comprehensive list please view the Correspondences web page.

The ABS has three ASGC derived correspondence products available via its website. They are:

2905.0.55.001 - ABS Postal Area Concordances, Aug 2006

1216.0.15.003 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) Remoteness Area Correspondences, 2006

1216.0.15.002 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) Correspondences

The ABS does not currently release all its geographic correspondences on its web site. There are a large number of different geographic correspondences available and users need to be aware of the caveats that apply to particular correspondences, for this reason some are only available by request.

For more information please view the web page Correspondences or email geography@abs.gov.au
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What data will be available on Mesh Blocks from the 2011 Census?

The only data available for individual Mesh Blocks for the 2011 Census will be total population ( no age or gender breakdown) and total dwelling counts. Data on Mesh Block based customised regions will not be available for the release of the 2011 Census. For more information on how Census data will be released under the ASGS please view the following ABS online publication: Census of Population and Housing: Outcomes from the 2011 Census Output Geography Discussion Paper, 2011 (cat. no. 2911.0.55.003).
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Where can I find the 2011 edition of Mesh Blocks digital boundaries?

The 2011 edition of Mesh Blocks digital boundaries are included in the following publication under the "Downloads" tab:

1270.0.55.001 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2011
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What Geographic Correspondences (Concordances) does the ABS intend to prepare for the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS)?

Correspondence files (concordances) are used to transfer data from one geography to another. The ABS has made available a wide range of correspondences to assist with conversion to the ASGS. Population based correspondences have been built using Mesh Blocks with 2011 Census counts and are therefore simpler and more accurate than those the ABS has previously supplied.

For a list of the key correspondences that are available free of charge please view the ABS Geography Correspondences web page.
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ABS Information on Geocoding.

1. What is geocoding?

In its broadest sense geocoding is the process of linking data to a location on the Earth's surface. For example, counts such as hospital admissions are commonly associated with a Suburb/Locality name or Australia Post Postcode. The process of linking the suburb name to the boundaries that delineate the suburb is called geocoding.

Address geocoding is a particular type of geocoding where the complex information held in a full address is associated with a location on the Earth's surface. The large amount of locational information within an address commonly allows an address to be associated with a single point, which is represented as a latitude and longitude. The point provides a physical location for whatever the address refers to, a house, a factory, an office block. The principle advantage of the allocation a single point location is that point locations can easily be associated with other geographic regions. For example statistical boundaries that form part of the ASGS or ASGC ( SA2s or SLAs) or non-statistical boundaries such as gazetted suburbs or postcodes.

2. What support does the ABS provide for geocoding?

The ABS facilitates the process of geocoding to both the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) and the Australian Standard Geographic Classification (ASGC) by providing several supporting datasets.

a. Locality to SLA Index
b. Locality to SA2 Index

The ABS provides (on request) a Locality to SLA Index that allows users to link data associated with suburbs and locality names to their corresponding SLA. This provides a geocoding process between suburbs/localities and the ASGC. These data are derived from the Geocoded National Address File (G-NAF).

A similar product, the Locality to SA2 Index provides a geocoding process between suburbs/localities and the ASGS. The Locality to SA2 Index is also available on request.

For more information please view the Correspondences web page or email geography@abs.gov.au

3. How can I get my addresses geocoded?

At present the ABS does not provide an address geocoding service, as we do not own the intellectual property of the G-NAF file which is owned by PSMA Australia. ABS does however have an agreement with PSMA Australia to include our Mesh Block codes in the G-NAF file. This aids G-NAF users relate address to ABS geography.

There are several commercial organisations that offer geocoding services, based on G-NAF. More details on these companies can be found on the PSMA website:

http://www.psma.com.au/data-access/

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