Aaron Schiff

Aaron Schiff is a freelance economist and a datasmith. He uses economic models, statistical tools and data visualisation to help organisations make sense of a complex world.

Rented dwellings by type of landlord - The Dismal Science

Apr 12, 2015

I haven’t forgotten about my Census Challenge, but it’s been a while since I’ve done a post. The next question summarises rented dwellings by type of landlord. There’s one category for private landlords (individuals, businesses, or trusts) and three categories of “social” landlord: local government agencies, Housing New Zealand, and other central government agencies. I’ve […]

Visualising freight transport in NZ - The Dismal Science

Apr 10, 2015

In March last year the Ministry of Transport published the National Freight Demand Study. Among many other interesting things, the study includes estimates of total freight volumes between regions within New Zealand for each of three modes: road, rail, and coastal shipping. I’ve been working with one of the report’s main authors, Richard Paling, to […]

Human Development Index visualisation - The Dismal Science

Apr 08, 2015

The United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index reflects health, education, and income levels for most countries of the world over time. As part of the Cartagena Data Festival, the UN is running a competition for visualisations of the HDI data. I decided to put together an entry, which you can play with here. The […]

Area vs radius, redux - The Dismal Science

Apr 06, 2015

I got lots of feedback on Twitter about my post yesterday about using using area or radius of circles to show numeric values (on a map in this case). The consensus seems to be that radius greatly exaggerates the differences, while area somewhat under-represents the differences. So area seems like the better choice if you […]

Area vs radius - The Dismal Science

Apr 04, 2015

Stats NZ have just published the 2014 regional GDP statistics, together with an attractive infographic that shows how national GDP is distributed across the regions. The map part of the infographic caught my eye: A crucial issue with this sort of picture is whether to use the area or the radius of the circles to […]

Getting older is good news - The Dismal Science

Apr 02, 2015

Well, sort of. I was poking around on the Stats NZ website and I found the period life tables. These give various death and survivorship rates for New Zealanders in different age groups. One of the statistics given is the expected number of years of life remaining for people at different ages. If you add […]

Data data everywhere - The Dismal Science

Mar 30, 2015

Wiki New Zealand launched its redesigned website yesterday and it looks fantastic. I know that a huge amount of effort by some very talented people went into the new site, and that certainly shows in the final result. WikiNZ describes its mission as “democratising” data by “pulling together New Zealand’s public sector, private sector and […]

NZ Open Data Day - The Dismal Science

Mar 28, 2015

I had a great time at the NZ Open Data Day today. Many thanks to Caleb and Harkanwal for organising the day, and to the NZ Herald for hosting and lunching us. I won’t attempt to summarise the whole day. Instead, here are a few snippets of things that I learned: Kim Ollivier has done […]

Meshblock mysteries solved - The Dismal Science

Mar 26, 2015

Previously I posted about some mysteries in New Zealand meshblock datasets, and in particular the differences in the sets of meshblocks contained in the Census meshblock dataset and other geographic data files. One of the wonderful, helpful people at Statistics New Zealand read my post and sent me a detailed email about these “mysteries”, and […]

Visualising Auckland rail trips - The Dismal Science

Mar 24, 2015

Late last year, TransportBlog posted some detailed data on trips on Auckland’s rail network using HOP cards over 12 months. I understand they went to a considerable amount of effort to get the data, which is awesome, and also awesome that Auckland Transport released it. I created a visualisation of the data — you can […]