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Using WICID (Web-based Interface to Census Interaction Data) in the Classroom

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Author(s): John Stillwell

Journal: Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics
ISSN 1690-4532

Volume: 4;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 106;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Keywords: migration | population | class exercises | Census | query-building

ABSTRACT
The Census of Population is one of the key sources of data for social science research in the UK. Many census results appear in published reports, but most data are available directly from the Office of National Statistics or from web sites offering extraction services for registered users. Many Geography students use information from the census to undertake projects and to complete dissertations, frequently when studying small geographical areas. It is important that students learn the skills for downloading census data and understand what shortcomings are associated with the data as well as knowing how to incorporate the data into GIS and to analyse it effectively. This paper focuses on how students at the University of Leeds are taught to use one particular product of the census, the Origin-Destination Statistics, that are available from a web-based interface known as WICID. The paper briefly outlines the context and characteristics of the data before explaining the rudiments of building queries and extracting data. A typical class assignment is presented to demonstrate how a student learns how to build queries using WICID before analysing the results or mapping the data using an independent GIS. Experience indicates that students need to think hard about their requirements before using WICID for project work.
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