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Online mapping redefines RAJAR survey areas

By [email protected] - 22nd March 2007 - 20:53

In pursuit of a more effective and meaningful way of defining survey areas for listener research, Britain's Radio Joint Audience Research Ltd commissioned Beacon-Dodsworth to deliver the goods
RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) Limited operates the only audience measurement system for the radio industry. Previously, âtotal survey areasâ (TSA) were defined by postcode sectors (e.g. YO23 2) but this did not generate large enough, effective sample sizes. To overcome this problem, RAJAR wanted to change the way they define their TSAs to postcode districts (e.g. YO23) which cover a larger area, thus creating greater and more effective sample sizes.RAJAR commissioned Beacon Dodsworth to create a mapping application that firstly redefines the existing total survey areas (TSAs) into postcode districts and secondly enables radio stations to view, update and approve the new TSAs.Beacon Dodsworth tailored their MapVision application to create an online mapping system that is accessible by radio stations via the internet. Using a basic formula, they assessed what districts were covered by each TSA. Presenting radio stations with the proposed TSAs saves them the time-consuming process of redefining the TSAs themselves.When radio stations log on to RAJAR Mapping, they select their radio station and are presented with a map showing the proposed district-defined survey area in green with the previous sector-defined survey area in hatched lines overlaid on top. The stations can clearly see the similarities and differences between the original and the proposed survey areas.RAJAR Mapping provides useful online animation tools, such as zooming in and out and panning around the maps. Users easily select a district within or surrounding their TSA and click to include or exclude it from their survey area. By viewing the TSA maps online, radio stations see what affects their changes make instantly. Once they are happy with the changes, they are confirmed and the updated maps are fed back into the online system.The online mapping application was the ideal solution for RAJAR as it gave a cost-effective way to redefine total survey areas that can be viewed, amended and approved by radio stations. It is intuitive, making it quick to learn and easy to use. The simple geographical perspective gave a more meaningful view of the new TSAs than a list of postcode districts would have done.Previously RAJAR had to issue paper maps to radio stations every three months, however now they save time by using the online map library. The application also means that radio stations are able to look at their TSAs any time and update them. Paul Kennedy, Research Director at RAJAR says âthe online mapping system that Beacon Dodsworth developed for RAJAR has provided us with a cost-effective and efficient way of defining survey areas that can be regularly updated. It has been very successful and does the job extremely well.â

Author: Charlotte Sutton, Beacon-Dodsworth

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