Your neigh­bour­hood re­vealed on­line

Fas­ci­nat­ing facts and fig­ures about your lo­cal area were once locked away in ar­chives and li­braries – now they’re all avail­able on­line. Joseph Fox re­veals all

Computer Active (UK) - - Contents -

Find out what’s re­ally go­ing on in your lo­cal­ity from crime and prop­erty prices to film sets and bomb sites

Check lo­cal crime rate

Con­tain­ing data go­ing back to Oc­to­ber 2014, Po­lice.uk maps ( www.po­lice.uk) re­port crimes in your area. Zoom into the map and click a num­ber to see what the crime was (anti-social be­hav­iour, bur­glary or shoplift­ing, for ex­am­ple), then click the small ‘More de­tails’ link (see screen­shot be­low) for more in­for­ma­tion. To see whether the crime was solved, click ‘Case time­line’ on the next page. Click ‘Sign up for alerts’ in the right-hand menu to re­ceive monthly bul­letins about crime in your area.

Dis­cover en­vi­ron­men­tal data

Data about nat­u­ral as­pects of our lo­cal­ity is eas­ier to ac­cess than ever. The En­vi­ron­ment Agency’s web­site ( www.snipca.com/26351) pro­vides in­for­ma­tion that, 20 years ago, you’d have needed your own weather sta­tion and team of ge­og­ra­phers to ob­tain. You can find out ev­ery­thing you need to know about farm­ing in your area, how lo­cal coasts and shore­lines are erod­ing, where your near­est au­tho­rised land­fill is, and most im­por­tantly how much your home is at risk of flood­ing.

Also use­ful is the Noise Map from en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sul­tants Ex­trium ( www.snipca.com/26376), which vi­su­alises noise pol­lu­tion caused by road and rail traf­fic. Pur­ple is very noisy (75 deci­bels and over); or­ange rep­re­sents the qui­etest ar­eas (un­der 59 deci­bels).

Give road­works and ac­ci­dent blackspots a wide berth

To avoid road­works in your area visit Road­works.org ( https://road­works.org), which uses in­for­ma­tion from lo­cal and na­tional high­ways au­thor­i­ties. Click a sym­bol and you’ll see what’s tak­ing place and who’s re­spon­si­ble (Vir­gin Me­dia in our screen­shot above - let’s hope they are lay­ing su­per-fast broad­band!).

For de­tails of po­ten­tial dis­rup­tions, check plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions on your lo­cal coun­cil’s web­site. One way to find this is via Gov.uk – go to www.snipca. com/26342 and type your post­code.

Crashmap ( www.crashmap.co.uk) shows traf­fic in­ci­dents stretch­ing back 19 years, us­ing data col­lected by the po­lice and re­ported to the De­part­ment for Trans­port. You can fil­ter searches by ve­hi­cle type and sever­ity (slight, se­ri­ous or fa­tal), but to read more de­tails you’ll need to pay for a re­port (£1 each).

Mea­sure your area’s wealth and hap­pi­ness

Who­ever said you can’t mea­sure hap­pi­ness ob­vi­ously didn’t work for the Of­fice for Na­tional Statis­tics (ONS). Its an­nual ‘Per­sonal well-be­ing’ sur­vey quan­ti­fies the life sat­is­fac­tion of peo­ple in the UK of ev­ery area on the UK main­land. For a map visit www.snipca.com/26345

and scroll down to sec­tion 7. At the time of writ­ing, this hadn’t yet been up­dated with the lat­est re­sults ( www.snipca. com/26344), pub­lished in Novem­ber, in which Eng­land was the only coun­try to see an im­prove­ment in life sat­is­fac­tion.

The ONS has also mea­sured wealth, on its map of ‘Re­gional gross dis­pos­able house­hold in­come’: www.snipca. com/26346.

Anal­yse 2011’s Cen­sus data

Datashine Cen­sus ( http://datashine.org. uk) is prob­a­bly the most com­plex site here, but also the most fas­ci­nat­ing. It maps ev­ery as­pect of the 2011 Cen­sus in Eng­land and Wales (for Scot­land visit www.snipca.com/26341), let­ting you dig deep into the chang­ing na­ture of our coun­try. That said, the post­code search box is hard to spot - you’ll find it at the bot­tom. Type it, click Go, then zoom in.

Where it gets re­ally in­ter­est­ing is in the Data Chooser bar at the top right. Us­ing this you can fil­ter the re­sults by very spe­cific cri­te­ria, in­clud­ing re­li­gion, health, eth­nic­ity, em­ploy­ment and lan­guages spo­ken. You then need to check the yel­low-to-red bar at the bot­tom left, showing low to high. For ex­am­ple, in our screen­shot above dis­play­ing how many peo­ple in east London were born in the UK, the red­der the area, the higher the per­cent­age. In the yel­low ar­eas, the pro­por­tion is around 25 per cent and less.

To see where peo­ple are mov­ing to and from within the UK, visit the Royal Mail’s Mov­ing Map ( www.snipca. com/26349). Launched in early 2017, it uses ad­dresses given to its re­di­rect­ion ser­vice to chart how far peo­ple move into and out of an area (the av­er­age is 25.8 miles, with the long­est be­ing 728).

Find out the value of your (and your neigh­bours’) home

It’s al­ways in­ter­est­ing to check the value of your home, then com­pare it with your neigh­bours’. To do that, use the cal­cu­la­tor from mort­gage ad­vi­sors London & Coun­try ( www.snipca.com/26357).

Next, browse the heat maps from on­line es­tate agent Zoopla ( www.zoopla. co.uk/heatmaps), which show you av­er­age prices by post­code, help­fully colour-coded. Port Tal­bot’s £129,000 for ex­am­ple shows as a cool, calm­ing blue. West London’s glam­orous Fitzrovia, on the other hand, is painted a shock­ing shade of dark red, thanks to its £4.4m price tag.

You can use the Land Reg­istry, via Gov.uk, to find out how much a par­tic­u­lar prop­erty sold for ( www.gov. uk/search-house-prices), while Na­tion­wide’s House Price In­dex tool ( www.snipca.com/26352) cal­cu­lates the per­cent­age rise in your home’s value.

Fa­mous places

For­get about prop­erty val­ues, here’s some­thing truly price­less: a spot in sil­ver-screen his­tory. The UK Map of Film Lo­ca­tions ( www.snipca.com/26354) plots 82 of cin­ema’s most mem­o­rable

lo­ca­tions, some of which may be closer to you than you think. Who knew Bat­man lived in Not­ting­ham? Wol­la­ton Hall to be pre­cise.

The BFI’S Bri­tain on Film site ( www. snipca.com/26355) may ac­tu­ally give you a his­tor­i­cal glimpse of your own home. Thou­sands of clips from the past 120 years have been pre­served and up­loaded, paint­ing a unique pic­ture of Bri­tain through the years.

See the Blitz bomb sites

From 7 Septem­ber 1940 to 10 May 1941 London was sub­jected to un­re­lent­ing bomb­ing by the Ger­man Luft­waffe. Some 30,000 tonnes of bombs were dropped dur­ing the Blitz, killing 40,000 peo­ple. Us­ing data pre­vi­ously only avail­able at the Na­tional Ar­chives, Bomb Sight ( www. bomb­sight.org) maps where the bombs fell, in­clud­ing one right next to where Com­put­er­ac­tive now re­sides (see screen­shot left).

Check road­works hap­pen­ing near you – and who is re­spon­si­ble

Zoom into your area on Po­lice.uk to see crimes that were re­ported re­cently

Datashine maps the 2011 Cen­sus across the UK, showing in­for­ma­tion such as coun­try of birth

Bomb Sight shows where bombs fell dur­ing the Blitz, in­clud­ing one where Com­put­er­ac­tive is now based

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