Opportunities and Challenges of Grid-Based Statistics
Marja Tammilehto-Luode
Statistics Finland, Finland

Grid-based statistics are a type of regional statistics where regional entities are defined by geographically referenced grid cells and statistics are aggregated or disaggregated into a regular grid net. Grid-based statistics have been used in many applications and contexts and their advantages are recognized. However, grid-based statistics are not yet considered part of official statistics and an administrative area is still most often the target area of regional statistics.

An ongoing ESSnet project, GEOSTAT, promotes production of grid-based statistics from the data of census 2010/2011. One of the major results of the project will be guidelines for producing and disseminating population statistics by grids. Before the project guidelines are applied, there seems to be much uncertainty about grid-based statistics. There is a need for good examples of strength of grid-based statistics and a need for constructive discussion about new challenges that are faced when disseminating small area statistics such as grid-based statistics.

In my paper I will discuss the opportunities of grid-based statistics using examples of studies by Statistics Finland and its customers. I will look at the examples from the framework of EU major policy areas, such as energy supply and safety, transport and mobility, maritime affairs and aging society. I will also discuss major challenges of disseminating grid-based statistics. I will focus on the challenges of data protection and the challenges disseminating grid-based statistics for cross-border studies or in general for studies which use grid data covering several countries.