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Cartography serves multiple purposes. Maps and diagrams are widely used  for communicating information.  I would like to take this opportunity to promote their use in inductive and deductive reasoning. In this talk I would like to illustrate the use of maps and diagrams in concept refinement and evaluation.   I would like to go back some 20 – 25 years to when I was evaluating summary statistics which drove elements of public policy.   For example, the allocation of vast sums of public money towards the regeneration of deprived areas is driven by so-called Indices of Local Conditions.






The derivation of such instruments of policy from large volumes of routinely collected data is not  easy.  Twenty years ago, Carley (1981) noted that there was a mismatch between indicators and the themes they were designed to represent.  He felt then that this was inevitable given that “social statistics and social theorising were still at a very early stage of development“.Dicennial population censuses, such as that to be taken in 2001, drive a review of the social indicators used in the preceding decade. Each successive review abandoned past methodology and adopted new methods.   Carley’s observations therefore may still be pertinent.





In a paper delivered at IFIP ’84, entitled Concept Refinement through the Graphical Representation of Large Data Sets, I suggested that advances in IT could be harnessed to facilitate social research.With the advent of networked graphical workstations, such as the Xerox Star Office System, maps and tables had become two-way virtual devices.  I anticipated that they would soon be used for probing databases and, more excitingly, for cross-referencing information across a set of displays in the pursuit of insights and understanding.However as Jim Foley (2000), the principal author of the big bible on Computer Graphics, observed creative information visualisation is among the top ten challenges left in year 2000 for Computer Graphics. I would like therefore to illustrate the use of maps and diagrams in investigative research using the problem of the statistical definition of social indicators as an example.






I will start by briefly introducing the process involved in the statistical definition of Indices of Local Conditions.  I will focus initially on the use of just two variables for locating the worst areas.We will look at the worst areas as picked out by the traditional metrics and then see how the new metric, I proposed, changes our perceptions.   We will then look at the outcomes of my research.I will then look briefly at the more interesting multi-category themes, such as demographic types, before drawing my conclusions.