Update July 2016: Based on your feedback, the ABS has now released its new ABS Maps to the ABS website, thank you for your feedback and contribution to the development of this technology.
In 2011, the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) was replaced by the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS). The ASGS comprises a hierarchy of geographic regions on which the ABS will release area based statistical data.
The ASGS separates geographies built and defined by the ABS from those not defined by the ABS such as Local Government Areas. This is facilitated using a small building block region called the Mesh Block, to which data is coded, but generally not released. This allows ABS Statistical Areas to be designed to reflect functional, rather than administrative areas, as well as meeting the specific population and geographic requirements of individual statistical collections. It also allows them to be far more stable, they will only be updated every 5 years rather than every year as currently occurs. This will facilitate far better comparability of data between geographic regions and over time.
Over the last five years, ABS Geography have engaged with ABS business areas, particularly the Census of Population and Housing, Labour Force and the Demography areas, as well as a range of external specialists, clients and data providers to develop the design concepts and boundaries for the ASGS. The implementation of the ASGS into ABS statistical collections is the final stage in the development of the ASGS.
The aim of the ASGS Boundaries Online Phase 1 project is to enable a user to quickly search for a location, visualise ASGS boundaries at various scales and compare between different boundaries. In addition, ASGS Boundaries Online provides information on the ASGS.
It is a web based mapping application developed using ARCGIS Server. The focus of the system is to present, search and investigates the ASGS and the design of the application is tailored specifically to that aim. No ABS statistics are available through this system.
The ASGS is fundamentally different from the previous geography standard, the ASGC. There is a requirement to inform external users of the ASGS and to support it implementation. To this end a visualisation mechanism that is widely available through a web interface would enable the key users and the general public to both understand the new structures of the ASGS and to interact with the ASGS boundaries.