Scottish Local Councils Knowledge Seed Branch
MindManager provides an unparalleled range of ‘information cartography’ functionality that enables contextual knowledge to be embedded and attached to map branches in multiple ways…
Branch Outline Shape
For geographic area seed branches the outline shape indicates the nature of it’s borders with it’s equivelant neighbours…
CIRCLE = all coastal borders (ie. ‘island(s)’)
HEXAGON = all land borders (ie. ‘land-locked’)
ROUNDED RECTANGLE = mixed coastal & Land borders
i) Assignment of shapes to geographic area seed branches is controlled by MindManager’s unique Smart Rule feature using the ‘SLC – Borders Types’ tag (eqivelant to thematic mapping in GIS).
Image: Council Logo & Thumbnail Location Map
MindManager allows a single image to be embedded within a branch, which may be sufficient for the requirments. However with a bit of forethought (and some software ‘jigery pokery’ 🙂 we can also create one that incorporates more than one visual element so that, like the ‘rich’ branch text, more core knowledge can be ‘packed in’ to a single branch without visually overwhelming the user.
‘Thumbnail’ Council Location Map – The thumbnail map (which has been created by us) shows the council area within Scotland.
Council Logo – Incorporating council logos into map branches makes for swifter navigation and improved user experience.
i) All images are optimised to reduce the file size.
ii) Due to the disparate nature of the size of the geographic areas of Scottish Local Councils, locations are not always immediately obvious for the smallest ones. If you zoom in on-screen, all will become clear though!
Text: Official Name & Unique Identifying Codes
Thanks to MindManager’s unique ability to handle ‘rich’ text – the ability to variably format individual chatracters within a single text ‘string’ – we can pack several different pieces of ‘core knowledge’ into the text of a single branch without it visually overwhelming the user.
i) All names and codes are meticulously sourced from official sources to ensure unambiguous identification of the council body and easy cross-referencing with other data sources, especially GIS databases (though it’s still not without it’s contradictions – see below!).
Council Name – We have taken the names of the Council from their own website, with the proviso that…
- The geographic reference in the name comes first for ease of alphabetic referencing, with any of the ‘extra terms’ named below inserted after.
- For names in Gaelic we have added an english language translation in square brackets afterwards e.g. Eilean Siar, Comhairle nan [Western Isles, Council of the].
i) The names of some councils can vary between official sources, especially if they include the following terms…
- ‘The’ – The definite article – should it be filed under ‘T’? In our map ‘The Highland Council’ is listed as ‘Highland Council, The’
- ‘And’ – Is it ‘Dumfries and Galloway’ as you would say it, or is it ‘Dumfries & Galloway’ as it is written in their logo? In our map it is always listed as ‘Dumfries and Galloway Council’
- ‘City’ – It’s either ‘City of ….’ or ‘… City’. For example ‘Glasgow City Council’ is usually listed under ‘G’ (as it is on our map), but we have seen it as ‘City of Glasgow’ under ‘C’. ‘The City of Edinburgh Council’ is a double dilemma, but we’ve gone for ‘Edinburgh Council, The City of’, but it’ can be listed under ‘C’ or ‘T’ in some official sources.
Council Type – SUA = Scottish Unitary Authority
This applies to all Scottish Local Councils, but it should be seen in a whole-UK context, where there are / were also other types of councils that Knowledge Mappers have also mapped…
- ‘County Councils (Shires)’ with subordinate ‘District Councils’
- ‘Metropolitan County Councils’ (now abolished) with subordinate ‘Metropolitan Borough Councils’
- ‘Unitary Authorities’ and ‘Metropolitan Boroughs’
ISO3166-2 code – ISO 3166-2 is part of the international standard ISO 3166 ‘Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions’. In Scotland the ‘principal subdivisions’ are Local Council Areas, so the ISO 3166-2 code is an additional, internationally recognised, unique identifier for each Local Council.
ONS Code – The UK Government Office for National Statistics and in partnership with the devolved governments maintain a series of codes to uniquely represent a wide range of geographical areas of the UK (such as Council Areas and Electoral wards), for use in tabulating census and other statistical data, known as ‘ONS codes‘ or ‘GSS (Government Statistical Service) codes’.
Although the codes are not formally hierarchical like the previous system it replaced, ONS codes for the same type of geographic area start with the same 3 characters…
- S12 = Unitary Authority
- S13 = Ward or Electoral Division
- S14 = Westminster Parliamentary Constituency
- S15 = European Electoral Region
- S16 = Scottish Parliament Constituency
- S17 = Scottish Parliament Electoral Region
- S21 = National Park
- S22 = Travel to Work Area
- S23 = Police Force Area
- S34 = Workplace Zone
- S92 = Country
EU NUTS code – The European Union Statistics Agency (Eurostat) maintains a list of ‘Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS)‘ codes for it’s constituent member states (including Scotland as part of the United Kingdom) for statistical reporting & comparison purposes. Each member state has a parent NUTS code, and then there are 3 levels of ‘NUTS code’ for the statistical reporting areas, which in Scotland equate to…
- NUTS for member state = United Kingdom = UK
- NUTS 1 = Scotland = UKM
- NUTS 2 = Regional groupings of Scottish Council Areas…
- NUTS 3 = A ‘rag-tag’ mixture with codes covering sub-groupings of neighbouring council areas within the NUTS 2 region, single council areas for ‘large’ councils, and in the case of the ‘super large’ Highland Council area, internal geographic subdivisions along ‘historic county’ lines.
- NUTS 2 ‘regions’ don’t correspond exactly to any other way of subdividing Scotland regionally e.g. Scottish Parliament Electoral Regions (even though the nomenclature may by similar).
- NUTS 3 codes are not always unique to individual councils i.e. they cannot be used as unique identifiers.
- NUTS 3 codes don’t always follow Local Council Area boundaries e.g. the Island of Arran is part of North Ayrshire Council Area (NUTS 3 = UKM33), but is included in the ‘Highlands and Islands’ (NUTS 3 = UKM63) area for EU statistical reporting purposes.
Embedded Data Fields: Council & Area ‘Facts & Figures’
Single data fields embedded in the seed branch are another unique MindManager feature. They provide quick reference of ‘core’ geodemographic data that provides context and enables meaningful comparison between similar areas, saving the user the time and effort of looking them up in the linked knowledge resources. These are taken from official data stats & profiles like the Scottish Government Statistics Portal or the National Records of Scotland if available, or derived from the OS BoundaryLine dataset by us using GIS software if not (thus making it more readily available in the public domain).
i) The Data Fields can be hidden / shown by clicking the green toggle arrow just above the top right corner.
ii) Data Fields are like single cells in spreadsheets..
- The data can be numeric or text.
- The values in cells can be calculated from other cells either in the same branch or in other branches. Formulas that define the values are built using MindManager’s ‘Autocalc’ feature (again unique).
- The values in data fields may be used to control aspects of the visual formatting (eg. colour or shape) of the seed branch using Mindmanager’s ‘Smart Rules’ feature (again unique).
iii) Fields marked with an *asterisk above (in bold with the gear icon in the embedded fields in the branch in the map) are calculated from the values of data fields in sub-branches using MindManager’s unique ‘auto-calculation’ feature.
The data fields embeded in this seed topic are…
BASIC ELECTORAL FACTORS
These are set by statute by the Scottish Government and are used as factors in most of our calculations…
Total Elected Councillors – Electoral Wards are represented by either 3 or 4 councillors, as per the recommendations of the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland (LGBCS).
Total Electoral Wards – The number of Electoral Wards in a Council Area is taken from the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland (LGBCS) website, the body officially tasked with defining electoral wards and their boundaries.
Most (27) Council Area wards conform to the Fifth Statutory Reviews of Electoral Arrangements carried out by the LGBCS, whose final recommendations for the number of councillors and the electoral ward boundaries in each of Scotland’s 32 local authorities was submitted to Scottish Ministers on 26 May 2016 and came into effect for elections held on or after 4th May 2017.
For the 5 Council Areas where the recommendations for the 5th Review were rejected by ministers – for reasons of the new Scottish Islands Act or to maintain links between localities on the ground – the number of councillors and the electoral ward boundaries of the Fourth Statutory Reviews of Electoral Arrangements remain in place. For reference these are…
- Argyll and Bute Council
- Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
- Dundee City Council
- Scottish Borders Council
- Shetland Islands Council
COUNCIL AREA MEASUREMENTS
It is surprisingly difficult to find easily accessible data on the area measurements for Scottish administrative units in the public domain. The Scottish Government Statistics website does have a single area measurement for all the geographic units it reports data on, but this is an ‘aggregated data zones best-fit’ figure (see below for further discussion about why we haven’t used it). There is also the issue that for coastal administrative units the legal boundary maybe extends offshore so a ‘total area measurement’ is strictly accurate but unsuitable as a factor for calculating councillor or population as a whole area density.
Thus we have used the OS BoundaryLine area measurements for all administraive units in this map (see below for further disccusion), but there is a debate to be had around the derivation, publication and use of ‘standard’ geodemographic data such as geographic area by the Scottish public sector.
Area Measurements In The Ordnance Survey BoundaryLine Dataset
The Ordnance Survey’s BoundaryLine dataset is the official source of digital geographic boundaries for all administrative areas in Great Britain for use in Geographic Information System (GIS) software. It is now part of OS’s Open Data, and so is free to download.
As can be seen in the screenshot example below of the Aberdeen City Local Council area, amongst the attibute data attached to each administrative area polygon includes a total area value in hectares (‘Hectares’ field).
However as also can be seen from the screenshot, the legal boundaries of coastal administrative units extends offshore. This seaward limit of the administrative units is known as the ‘Extent Of Realm’ (EOR). In BoundaryLine the alignment of the ‘EOR’ boundary is digitised to the Mean Low Water (springs) (MLWS).
Thus the total area value in the ‘Hectares’ field includes the area of water between the Mean High Water (the usual extend of the ‘land’) and the ‘Extent of Realm’. Fortunately BoundaryLine includes another area value, that for the area of the unit that extends beyond the land – the ‘Non_Inland_Area’ field. This is useful in 2 ways:-
- if the value is ‘0’ (zero), it indicates that the unit has no coastal border i.e. it is ‘land-locked’.
- by subtracting it from the total area value in the ‘Hectares’ field, we can derive a ‘total land area value’. This is not strictly accurate as the ‘land’ will still include bodies of water like lochs, however at least the calculation of the figure will be the same for all the units.
There is further information available from the OS BoundaryLine product support page.
Scottish Government Statistics Data Zones
Surprisingly there is only one official source of an area size of Scottish Council Area we could find in the public domain, which is the ‘Geography’ dataset of the Scottish Government Statistics website entry for the Council Area (also compiled as a ‘data cube spreadsheet’ table for all geographic areas).
The area figures are derived by aggregating land area values based on 2011 Data Zones on a ‘best fit’ basis i.e. they are aggregated in such a way that best approximates the shape of the boundary of the higher geography. This means that…
- results for higher geographies such as Council Areas are always only estimates.
- as the boundaries of Data Zones change over time, the size and shape of the ‘best fit’ will also change, thereby leading to different area figure for the higher geography even though its’ boundary hasn’t changed. For example the area figures for the 2001 Data Zones is different to the 2011 Data Zones for some Council Areas.
- other geodemographic data derived using areas, such as population density, will be affected.
For further information on best-fit for geographies, see National Records of Scotland Geography Policy on Best-fit and Exact-fit.
Council Area Total (sq km) – The area value in the OS BoundaryLine ‘Hectares’ field expressed in square kilomtres.
Council Area Non-Inland (sq km) – The area value in the OS BoundaryLine ‘Non_Inland_Area’ field expressed in square kilomtres. This is the size of the area between the high and low watermarks.
Council Area Inland (sq km)* – The area value left by subtracting the OS BoundaryLine ‘Non_Inland_Area’ field from the ‘Hectares’ field expressed in square kilomtres.
This has been taken by us as a proxy for the total land area of the administrative unit, however in reality it will still include the area of any freshwater bodies like lochs, which can be quite large in some parts of Scotland.
COUNCIL POPULATION FIGURES
Population data for administrative units in Scotland are available from the following sources…
Council Population (latest est) – This figure is taken from the ‘Population Key Facts’ section of the Scottish Government Statistics website entry for the Council Area, and is the most up to date ‘official estimate’ of population (also compiled as a ‘data cube spreadsheet’ table for all geographic areas).
From the explanatory notes on the Scottish Government Statistics website…
“Annual publication of mid-year population estimates by age and sex as at 30 June every year, where population for higher geographies is aggregated from the population estimates for 2011 Data Zones.”
Population Density (latest est) (per sp km)* – This has been calculated manually by us by dividing the ‘Council Population (latest est)’ by the ‘Council Area Land (sq km)’ figure we have calculated from BoundarlyLine…
- Obviously the fact that ‘land area’ still includes freshwater bodies like lochs has implications when it comes to calculating population density.
- Whatever the shortcomings in calculating the absolute value, of as much importance is the change in that value over time (as long as the way of calculating it remains the same).
Index Marker Tags & Goups: Various
A variety of Index Markers arranged into groups are used throughout the map to tag branches as appropriate and enable map filtering and quick navigation. Marker groups can be copied and used to do the same in any other maps.
i) Within MindManager tags…
- provide a useful means of internal navigation between map topics (clicking on the branch that is shown as being tagged with that marker in the ‘Index Task Pane’ will immediately focus the map on that banch).
- can be generated automatically from branches (the title of the parent branch is the group name and those of all the immediate sub-branches become the individual tags within the group) .
- can be copied and pasted in their groups from one map to another.
NAVIGATION (‘NAV’) MARKERS
‘Navigation’ index markers tag the topics that they are named after. They provide another way of navigating the map – clicking on the tag in the index pane takes the user straight to the tagged topic.
NAV – SLCs – Each Local Council seed branch is tagged with it’s own index marker, created from the branch text itself. Thus there are 2 ‘parts’ to the marker tag – Scottish Local Council Name (Council Type and identifying Codes) eg. East Renfrewshire Council (SUA – GB-ERW – S12000011 – UKM35).
GEOGRAPHIC (‘GEO’) MARKERS
‘Geomarker’ index markers provide ‘spatial intelligence’ in a map by tagging topics as being part of a specific geographic area of various ‘types’ – administrative, electoral, statistical, topographic etc. The areas do not need to be topics in the map for them to be a ‘Geomarker’. They are the equivalent of ‘Lookup Tables’ in ‘GIS’.
The nature of the council’s borders with it’s neighbours…
SLC – Borders Types – This Marker Group indicates the status of the local authority’s borders with all of it’s equivalent neighbours, in respect to the ocean (as per the topic shape). Thus these tags will enable the filtering of a map to show / hide those areas that do / do not have a coastline.
- All Coastline (Island)
- No Coastline (Land-locked)
SLC – Mutual Borders – This Marker Group indicates which other Scottish Local Council(s) that the selected council shares a mutual border with, as shown on the Ordnance Survey Election Map online viewer.
On mainland Scotland Council borders are contiguous i.e. there are no ‘gaps’ between them, so they have a complex interplay with shoreline, freshwater lochs, rivers, estuaries (firths), sea lochs and the ‘extent of the realm’ (the national boundary offshore). Thus in some cases councils share a mutual border on a water feature rather than land.
The ‘island councils’ – Orkney & Shetland – are far enough away from the mainland that they do not share a mutual boundary with any others.
GEO Unique Identifying Codes
Within the branch text we incorporate unique identifiers codes for geographic areas for easy cross-reference with other data sources, especially GIS databases.
We also add some of the truly unique codes as ‘geo’ index marker tags to the topic. Only one topic in the map will have that ‘geo tag’. This offers interesting possibilities for adding further content at a later date.
SLC – UK EU-NUTS2 Region – See the EU NUTS code incorporated in the topic text legend entry for further information about NUTS codes in Scotland.
There are 2 ‘parts’ to the marker – NUTS 2 area name (NUTS 2 Code) eg. South Western Scotland Region (UKM3).
SLC – ISO3166-2 code – ISO 3166-2 is part of the international standard ISO 3166 ‘Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions’.
In Scotland ‘the principal subdivisions’ are Local Council Areas, so the ISO 3166-2 code is an additional, internationally recognised, unique identifier for each Local Council.
SLC – ONS Code – The Council’s official identifying code given by the UK Government Office for National Statistic (ONS) in partnership with the Scottish Government, as per the Branch Text above.
GEO ‘Look-Up Geographies
In the world of Geographic Information (GI) a ‘look up’ defines the link between one geographic feature and another. Most commonly this is between geographic areas of different ‘types’. For example a Local Council Electoral Ward will also coincide with ‘higher’ electoral geographies of Scottish Parliament Constituencies & Regions, and United Kingdom Parliament Constituencies. Of course the boundaries of the different geographies do not necessarily coincide or ‘nest’ exactly (though they might have done at one time). Thus relationships are often ‘one to many’, or even ‘many to many’, which is ‘database speak’ for ‘it’s complicated’.
Relationships are usually derived using computerised spatial analysis, with the results stored in ‘look-up tables‘ in databases or spreadsheets. ‘Geo’-tagging map branches that represent geographic areas is our hopefully useful alternative.
You can get more of an idea of the complexities of UK Geographihies from the handy UK Office of National Statistics Beginners Guide To UK Geography.
SLC – UK Parliament Constituency – All the UK Parliament Constuencies that overlap with the local council area. There are usually at least 2.
There are 2 ‘parts’ to this marker – Constituency Name (ONS Code) eg. East Renfrewshire (S14000021).
Scottish Parliament Region – Scottish Parliamentary Consituencies are divided into regions, which also have elected members. There are 2 ‘parts’ to the marker -Scottish Parliamentary Constituency Region Name (ONS Code) eg. West Scotland (S17000018).
Scottish Parliament Constituency – All the Scottish Parliament Constuencies that overlap with the local council area. There are 2 ‘parts’ to this marker – Scottish Parliamentary Constituency Name (ONS Code) eg. Eastwood (S16000103).
SLC – Strategic Development Planning Authority – From the ‘Scottish Government Planning Circular 2/2008: statutory guidance on strategic development planning authorities‘…
“Section 2 of the 2006 Act introduced a new section 4(1) into the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (the 1997 Act) which allowed Ministers to designate groups of planning authorities as strategic development planning authorities (SDPAs), tasked with preparing and reviewing SDPs. Scottish Ministers designated the following four such groupings in the SDPA Designation Orders 2008 which came into force on 25 June 2008…
- Glasgow and the Clyde Valley (Clydeplan) – East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshiren Councils.
- Aberdeen City and Shire – Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils.
- TAYPLan – Angus, Dundee City, Fife and Perth & Kinross Councils.
- SESPLan – City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian Councils.
Attached Hyperlinks: Multiple
See next section for full details.