forecast.id or SAFi – which forecast should I use?
You may not be aware that .id has two different sets of forecasts that are designed for different purposes. We want to make sure you are using the best one for your needs – forecast.id or SAFI?
forecast.id is the our most widely used forecast because many Councils make their forecast.id sites publicly available online so that they can be used more broadly by consultants, community services organisations and industries that need to plan for the future.
forecast.id was designed specifically for local government decision makers who need to allocate resources and services in the most efficient way across their Local Government Area (LGA). They are generally produced for suburbs (or combinations of suburbs) which together add up to the LGA.
If you work outside of local government there are four reasons why forecast.id may not meet your needs.
- You want to identify the best locations across the state that are ripe for investment and when, before narrowing your focus to an LGA.
- You may be working on a project across multiple LGAs, but not every council in your region of interest subscribes to the forecast.id service. This leaves a frustrating hole in your analysis.
- You may have a particular catchment that you need information for (e.g. a retail or water catchment) but the geographic breakdown in forecast.id doesn’t match your required catchment.
- You are running an analysis across numerous LGAs (perhaps state-wide or national) and it is time consuming to stitch all the individual forecast.id sites together and to get a big picture view. Besides, the council forecasts are each done at different times so they are not really designed to be amalgamated in this way.
Generally these issues are not show-stoppers and you can get by, but wouldn’t it be great if there was a set of forecasts designed specifically for your needs and that can deliver you a competitive advantage.
SAFi – state-wide forecasts with a detailed and flexible geography.
Small Area Forecast information or SAFi is an alternative set of forecasts produced by .id to meet the needs of organisations outside of local government.
SAFi is .id’s independent view of population change across each state from the macro perspective, which shows where major growth fronts are occurring, down to the micro perspective, which shows exactly where growth will occur down to a city block. SAFI is independent, expertly produced and granular with extremely flexible geography.
SAFi is used by education providers, retailers, property developers, utilities, aged care and retirement living providers and sporting organisations, as well as consultants to these industries, to help them make more strategic and well informed location decisions.
SAFi came into being ten years ago because the Catholic Education Office in Melbourne needed an accurate forecast of the number of school-aged children in each parish across Victoria. Rather than build parish-based forecasts, which would have limited applicability, we decided to build micro-geography forecasts (SA1-based or smaller) that could be built into any catchment. This involves forecasting over 7,000 areas across Victoria and reviewing the forecasts every two years.
In addition to Victoria, .id produce SAFi for NSW (8,600 areas), WA (3,000 areas) and the ACT (440 areas) with Queensland currently in production.
forecast.id – designed for the needs of local government
When to use forecast.id? These forecasts are individually funded by local councils who subscribe to .id’s services so that they have a set of forecasts for their strategic planning, community services planning and asset management.
If you work in local government and your council subscribes to forecast.id, then these are the forecasts for you. They are designed specifically with your needs in mind, and have been developed in consultation with your council.
Over 130 councils across Australia subscribe to this service and you can find them all online in our Demographic Resource Centre.
If you work outside of local government, but need forecasts for a particular LGA or suburb, then forecast.id will be great for your needs (assuming the local council subscribes to the service).
If you are looking at a limited number of locations and the council where your sites are located subscribes to forecast.id, you will find the information you need there. However, if you are wanting to identify the best locations across the state, you’d be better working with SAFi data as you can use these forecasts to identify which suburbs are ripe for investment and when, before narrowing your focus.
The table below summarises the differences between forecast.id and SAFi
|Purpose||Understanding population change within an LGA for resource allocation.||Understanding population change across a State from the macro (State, region, LGA) to the micro (suburb, neighbourhood, catchment or radius).|
|Geographic breakdown||Determined by the subscribing council’s needs. Generally suburbs or combinations of suburbs.||SA1-based geography (smaller in growth areas). This is the smallest geographic unit that it is feasible to forecast accurately. These small areas can then be aggregated to larger geographic units such as retail catchments.|
|Modelling process||Bottom-up forecast methodology whereby assumptions and models are built for each suburb and then aggregated to create LGA totals. With no tops-down constraint, individual forecast.id sites are not designed to be aggregated.||Tops down and bottoms up. Control totals based on macro-level assumptions are created for Australia, States and Regions. Dwelling and land use assumptions are developed at the SA1-based geography level.|
|Availability||When a council engages .id and gives permission for them to be made publicly available. There are 130 forecast.id sites nation-wide with the greatest concentration in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne.||State-wide for NSW, Vic, ACT, WA at all geographic levels.|
|Update schedule||Each council site is updated individually. Times vary but the average review period is 24 months.Given that each forecast is conducted a different time, separate forecast.id sites are not designed to be aggregated.||Each state is updated in its entirety approximately every 24 months.|
|Cost||Publicly available (unless password protected on council request).||Fee for service based on level of coverage and detail required. Contact .id to discuss your requirements and receive a quote.|
If you’d like a quick overview of the subject, you can replay our “Which forecast should I use?” webinar or you can download our “Which forecast should I use?” ebook for more detailed information.
.id is a team of population experts, who use a unique combination of online tools and consulting to help organisations decide where and when to locate their facilities and services, to meet the needs of changing populations. Access our free demographic resources here.