About Statistics SA
Geography Division
Overview Geographical Frame The Geodatabase National Dwelling Framework Geographical support for Social Surveys
Geographical support for the Business Register Users Support Contact Information

All information has a spatial dimension, which is essential for the analysis and utilisation of statistical information. The Geography Division provides the geographical infrastructure and content required to enhance the statistical processes such as data collection, analysis and dissemination, and promoting the production of quality statistics.

Geographical infrastructure requires continuous maintenance and improvement of geographical systems and databases to produce and disseminate quality statistics. Work efficiency is improved through automated applications. The integration of geographical content and statistics is achieved through continuous maintenance of standard geographical areas (commonly referred to as the geographical frame). Enumeration Areas (EAs) form the smallest building blocks of the geographical frame for Census 2001. The vision for the next census is to spatially locate each dwelling.

The Division provides geographical support for censuses, surveys and the business register, through proper geographical systems, databases and applications and an updated geographical frame. The Division's users include governmental departments and non-governmental organisations.

Geographical Frame
The geographical frame shows the relationships between different levels of geography, and promotes geographical standards for collecting, analysing and presenting statistical information. When information is collected or disseminated, reference is made to a place that consists of an area with a name. All places are within the legal or official administrative boundaries of a country, which are within a specific hierarchy. South Africa is divided into nine provinces and within them there are district council municipalities (DCs), each of which consists of one or more local municipalities.

In order to collect data for censuses, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) demarcates work areas that are manageable for one enumerator to enumerate within limited number of days, within the local municipalities and place names. Such areas are called EAs and are the units for planning, executing and capturing of census data. This spatial set of EA boundaries is updated before each census.

For dissemination purposes, Stats SA developed a small-area (SA) layer where each small area consists of one or more EAs, depending on the size of the EA and an acceptable level of confidentiality.

The Geodatabase

The geodatabase consists of a raster feature dataset and a vector feature dataset. The raster dataset covers 80% of the South African Enumeration Areas in conjunction with the vector data set form the basis, for application and spatial product development. This geographic data is continuously reviewed and updates are collected, through inter-departmental and private sector collaboration, as driven by user needs and requirements. The geodatabase forms the heart of all geographical operations in the organisation. It is essentially the basis from where the geographical frame, dwelling frame, census and survey support and user support is managed.

National Dwelling Frame

Stats SA has embarked on a project to develop a national dwelling frame and register for the whole of South Africa. The objective of the national dwelling frame is:

. to locate every dwelling spatially;
. to collect associated attribute information about each dwelling unit; and
. to continuously maintain such a frame.

In the past, various organisations such as Telkom, Eskom and Stats SA have attempted to allocate identifiers to dwellings for each organisation's own use. These attempts only led to confusion and duplication. Stats SA is leading a team of intergovernmental role-players in an attempt to coordinate the dwelling frame initiative. Internationally, address systems follow the street address, suburb and postal code format. Due to the varying settlement patterns in South Africa and the lack of proper street infrastructure, this format had to be adapted to suit the South African environment, hence the dwelling frame.

The model is based on assigning a spatial point to every land parcel (cadastral system) in urban areas. Tables (attributes) are linked for each point, which provides information on the street address, suburb and the number of units per land parcel in cases of high-rise buildings. In traditional areas, a dwelling number and village name are allocated per homestead. In informal areas a dwelling number and locality are assigned to a structure while the farm and district names are allocated to the land parcel in farm settlements.

The development of such a dwelling frame will form an integral part of the statistical infrastructure for our country. This will supplement and refine the spatial frameworks that are already used for gathering and disseminating statistical information, as well as promoting the effective use of administrative data by spatially integrating valuable information from various administrative registers.

Assigning addresses in collaboration with
the South African Post Office.
  Good partnerships with local communities are
required for assigning addresses in traditional areas.

Geographical support for Social Surveys

One of the biggest geographic information system (GIS) challenges linked to Social Surveys has been the spatial creation of primary sampling units (PSUs) for a master-sample frame. The same frame is used by all social surveys to collect data. Current and accurate statistical data are collected from the field by using an updated geographical master-sample frame. Data is processed in a geographically referenced format. A further spin-off from this process is that each PSU will have a spatially referenced dwelling list that can contribute to a national dwelling frame for South Africa.

Social surveys entail different phases, namely: planning, design, fieldwork, processing, analysis and reporting. Geography is present in each of these phases. It serves as a quality and progress measure, analysis and display tool.

Geographical support for the Business Register
Improving the geographical level of reporting is an ongoing challenge for Stats SA. This entails reporting on lower levels of geography from a national level to a provincial and municipal level.
During 2004, Geography Division was part of the death notifications coding by place name. Current projects include the place name coding and update of the business register (6,6 million records), support to the development of new sampling methods and an investigation into the accurate reporting of business data on municipal level.

Users Support
Geography Division promotes geographical awareness for proper utilisation of statistics linked to geography that can be used by other organisations and communities. The Division supports a variety of clients both within and outside the organisation. Internal clients include amongst others Stats SA's censuses, surveys and provincial offices and external clients are other government departments, spatial data users and non-governmental data users.

Contact Information

Contact Information Geographical Enquiries General Statistical Enquiries
170 Andries Street
Pretoria 0002
25° 44' 42.75" S
28° 11' 26.52" E
Telephone: +27(12) 310 8470
Email: geoinfo@stassa.gov.za
Website: www.statssa.gov.za/africagis2005/index.asp
Telephone: +27(12) 310 8600
Fax: +27(12) 310 8500
Email: info@statssa.gov.za