Sunday, 9 March 2008

London Profiler

If your genealogy goes back to London you're likely already aware of the Booth Poverty Maps of Victorian London. They're online as part of the Charles Booth Online Archive here. Street by street the maps colour code the social conditions, from the lowest class, described as vicious and semi-criminal, to the wealthy upper-middle and upper classes.

The modern day equivalent is found at the London Profiler web site. Here you can visualise a neighbourhood's profile using different area classifications through a Google Map interface. It's a beta version. The example to the left shows an area centred near the Society of Genealogists building colour coded for crime. The SOG is located just north of the Barbican underground station. The purple area to the south is St Paul's and the City showing less crime (maybe not white-collar crime); the darker red areas further north indicate more crime. Try it for yourself, and compare with the Booth map.

The same folks who developed the London Profiler, Spatial-Literacy.org, also offer a mapping for the whole UK of the Office for National Statistics "2001 Area Classification of Super Output areas and Data zones" That's a geographic grouping according to key population characteristics. The example to the left is for the area around Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, showing disadvantaged urban communities shaded purple and countryside in dark green. Those familiar with the area would question the coding for the area north of Breydon Water. Try it for areas of your interest. Would your ancestor have been able to afford to live in his former home where it is today?

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