An introduction to geographic information and why it’s important

Brian Higgs from Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council gave a presentation about the importance of geographical information (GI) at the Geographical Information Day, hosted by the Observatory on 18th November 2009.

Brian introduced the concept of geographical information and demonstrated practical examples of how GI is used within Dudley MBC. Here’s Brian’s presentation which includes the audio and slides:

Can’t see the presentation? View the video on Viddler.com or get the PowerPoint slides (ppt, 12.7mb).

Future population growth in the City Region over the next 20 years – likely to be offset by out-migration?

Encouragingly the City Region has an increasingly young, diverse and growing working age population.

The area’s working age population is forecast to grow by just under 100,000 (6%) in the next 10 years and by more than 180,000 (11%) by 2028.

This growth is expected to be underpinned by a significant increase in the number of young people. Numbers of 0-15 year olds are expected to increase by more than 65,000 (12%) in the next decade and by nearly 84,000 (14%) by 2028.

Chart shows population projections in City Region between 2010 to 2031 for the working age population, people aged 0 to 15 years, and people of pension age

Source: Office for National Statistics, 2006-​​based population projections
Dataset: web page, CSV, XLS | Share: Interactive chart, image

The growth rates for the working age population are very similar in the West Midlands and the City Region.

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Communicating information and data through story-telling

Communicating information and data to other people – transferring the idea in your brain to those you are speaking with – is done most effectively by story-telling.

This is the key point I took away from an event on ‘Communicating Effectively’ by Intelligence East Midlands held in Nottingham last week.

I spent an informative day learning from Warren Pearce and Nicola Underdown, and other participants at the event, on how to practically improve communication of ideas and data.

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Latest labour market data shows slight improvements for the West Midlands

Office for National StatisticsThe latest labour market statistics released today by the Office for National Statistics are the most positive for many months.

In the West Midlands, the employment rate has increased slightly and unemployment and Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants have both fallen slightly.

The employment rate in the West Midlands is now 70.3% (August-October 2009) , up from 70% in the previous quarter.

There are 22,000 more people in employment than in the three months to July 2009.

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Regional gross value added (GVA) estimates for 2008 indicate the West Midlands produced below average growth

Office for National StatisticsThe 2008 Regional and 2007 Sub-Regional Gross Value Added (GVA) data (PDF, 143kb) are released today by the Office for National Statistics.

Indexed GVA per head (where UK=100) for the West Midlands in 2008 was 85.1, a marginal decrease from the revised 2007 index value of 85.4.

GVA per head in the West Midlands rose from £17,000 in 2007 to £17,500 in 2008, an increase of 2.5% compared to a 2.9% increase in GVA per head across the UK, and a 2.7% increase in England.

In the latest data for 2008 the West Midlands GVA per head is ranked seventh amongst the nine English regions. London is the strongest performer at £34,800 and the North East is the least strong at £15,900.

In total, regional GVA for the West Midlands in 2008 was £94.5bn, an increase of £2.8bn on the revised figures for 2007.

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GIS mapping supports local “My Health Matters” project in Stoke-on-Trent

This guest post was contributed by Graham Smith of Staffordshire University.

The My Health Matters project has been designed specifically to help build partnership with statutory healthcare providers, the local voluntary and community sector to help meet the challenge of increasing physical activity levels and healthy eating in targeted areas within Stoke-on-Trent.

The project is based on evidence that increasing levels of physical activity and healthy eating will help to raise the low levels of life expectancy experienced by the population of Stoke-on-Trent.

This project is funded by NHS Stoke-on-Trent Primary Care Trust. The project will focus on areas within three deprived wards in Stoke-on-Trent:

  • Burslem South
  • Weston & Meir North
  • Bentilee & Townsend

Each ward is similar with regards to socio-economic status (i.e. in the bottom 40% of the Indices of Multiple Deprivation 2007).

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Entrepreneurial transition: the changing profile of ethnic minority business in the West Midlands

A recent report produced by the Minority Ethnic Enterprise Centre of Expertise (MEECOE) provides an invaluable insight into ethnic minority business (EMB) within West Midlands.

As residents and visitors to the West Midlands have all observed, the region is enriched by the prevalence and great variety of ethnic minority businesses. The report Ethnic Minority Businesses in the West Midlands (PDF, 992kb) looks at the traditional view of these enterprises and how they are changing as second and third-generation members of ethnic groups are exhibiting entrepreneurial transition.

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