A software program for automated zone design


Supporting Materials

Introductory guides

Video tutorials

A series of video tutorials about AZTool, produced by the National Centre for Research Methods:

Martin, D. (2016) Automated zone design (part 1 of 4)


Martin, D. (2016) Principles of automated zone design (part 2 of 4)


Martin, D. (2016) Introduction to AZTool software (part 3 of 4)


Martin, D. (2016) Examples of automated zone design in practice (part 4 of 4)


Key articles by the AZTool team

Martin D (1998) 2001 Census output areas: from concept to prototype, Population Trends, 94, 19-24

Martin D, Nolan A, Tranmer M (2001) The application of zone design methodology to the 2001 UK Census, Environment and Planning A, 33, 1949-1962 

Martin D (2003) Extending the automated zoning procedure to reconcile incompatible zoning systems, International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 17, 181-196 

Cockings S, Martin D (2005) Zone design for environment and health studies using pre-aggregated data, Social Science & Medicine, 60, 2729 – 2742 

Cockings S, Harfoot A, Martin D, Hornby D (2011) Maintaining existing zoning systems using automated zone design techniques: methods for creating the 2011 Census output geographies for England and Wales, Environment and Planning A, 43(10), 2399-2418  

Cockings S, Harfoot A, Martin D, Hornby D (2013) Getting the foundations right: spatial building blocks for official population statistics, Environment and Planning A, 45(6), 1403-1420  

Martin D, Cockings S, Harfoot A (2013) Development of a geographical framework for census workplace data, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A – Statistics in Society, 176, 585-602

Other useful references

Openshaw S (1977a) A geographical solution to scale and aggregation problems in region-building, partitioning and spatial modeling, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers New Series, 2, 459 - 472

Openshaw S (1977b) Algorithm 3: a procedure to generate pseudo-random aggregations of N zones into M zones, where M is less than N, Environment and Planning A, 9, 1423 - 1428

Openshaw S, Rao L (1995) Algorithms for re-engineering 1991 Census geography, Environment and Planning A, 27, 425 – 446