2006-16-02, Informatics Institute, University of Leeds.
Individual 2001 UK Popoulation Census (01UKPC) data is stripped of name and address information before it is made available for research. This makes it impossible to link other data about individuals from other databases with much accuracy. This in turn makes it very difficult to study correlations between socio-economic characteristics and anything else. At the individual level 01UKPC cannot be used for example to examine disease incidence, crimes, educational performance etc...
In principal such linkage should be possible and the name and address information can be prevented from being seen by the user of the data. There are always worries of disclosure, and so as an additional precaution all outputs from research in a particular area should be vetted so as to potentailly restrict the availablilty of the ouputs.
It is to be hoped that Grid Technology can in some way move us towards this although some significant political influence is needed to change the current systems of data archiving and dissemination.
In the mean-time it is important to keep trying new ways to overcome the problem of linking data and producing estimates and infomration of relevance to policy makers. One way to do this is by estimating health and other characteristics at an individual and running complex dynamic simulation models to forecast change within planning horizons. A single answer of what is likely is useful, but this needs to be grounded in a detailed understanding of the uncertainties involved. Some of the sensitivities of the model and the uncertainties of the simulation results can be estimated by re-running the simulations many times from many varying initial populations. MoSeS is about developing tools to support this kind of applied analysis of policy and change for the UK. Three applications in MoSeS will concern demographic change and changes in accessibility, demand for services and risks under various scenarios.
It is hoped that attendees that are not directly involved in the MoSeS work to comment on the applications MoSeS is developing. What applications are interesting in Health, Transport and Business?