Rebuilding the Great Britain Historical GIS, Part 1: building an indefinitely scalable statistical database

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    Abstract

    The Great Britain Historical Geographical Information System (GIS) has been rebuilt around a single central table holding all statistics in one column, currently containing 14,541,491 data values. This architecture enables extremely flexible data handling, but requires that the context of each data value be captured entirely as metadata. Statistical reporting areas are defined via an ontol- ogy of administrative units, in which hierarchical relationships are compulsory while boundary polygons are optional. What a number measures is recorded via a relational implementation of the Data Documentation Initiative standard, locating each value within an n- dimensional matrix, or nCube, whose dimensions are variables such as age, gender, and occupation. The data library can be extended to additional countries or more statistical topics without adding any database tables.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)149-159
    Number of pages11
    JournalHistorical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History
    Volume44
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

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