What is the Classifications
and Related Standards (CARS) System?
The Classifications and Related Standards
(CARS) system has been developed as the Statistics
New Zealand (SNZ) official central repository
for all classifications, concordances and codefiles
for all classes of official statistics used
by data collections within SNZ. CARS is the
codefiles and concordances, and information
relating to them, which have been previously
used within SNZ;
all economic, social
and geographic standard classifications;
survey specific classifications;
all classification categories
used for coding survey data at the input stage,
and their descriptors and labels used in the
presentation of output data in tabular form.
The development of a classifications system
was an integral part of the IT strategy within
SNZ as it would enable the 'use of database
technology to maintain standard classifications,
data definitions and data validation specifications
for application in the development of new surveys.'
It was also seen that a classification system
would ' help reduce the time and resource taken
to operate surveys and improve data quality
by use of computerised data documentation (metadata)
to support the application of standard data
item definitions and classifications.'
Currently, CARS is available to all SNZ staff
throughout New Zealand with over 95 staff able
to edit the database on-line and nearly 300
staff trained in how to use the system.
The Role of CARS within
The role of CARS is to:
Provide centralised classification
storage, maintenance and access facilities
for all classification data used both in the
development and processing of surveys, and
in the subsequent analysis and evaluation
of the data.
Help reduce the time
and resource taken to develop surveys and
contribute to improved data quality by the
use of computerised data documentation (metadata)
to support the application of standard data
item definitions and classifications.
Facilitate the comparison
and analysis of data by storing concordances.
Facilitate survey processing
by storing code, descriptors and synonyms
for developing and maintaining standard codefiles.
Statistics New Zealand
CARS is the official central repository for
all the classifications, concordances and codefiles
for all classes of official statistics used
by data collections within SNZ. All existing
surveys and data processing systems use CARS
for all their classification requirements. CARS
provides standard procedures for accessing and
maintaining all classifications, concordances
and codefiles. It also contains all the valid
labels for output data and includes access routines
for using those labels.
Key Features of the Classifications
and Related Standards System
Provides a common storage
facility making it easier to find and access
classifications, concordances and codefiles
thus eliminating the need to provide separate
storage and updating facilities for classification
data within each departmental survey system.
Provides common procedures
for browsing, updating and accessing classifications
and concordances in CARS which reduces the
time and resource required to operate surveys,
and eliminates the need to provide these facilities
separately in departmental survey systems.
Facilitates the use of
standard classifications in surveys by removing
the ability of surveys to utilise their own
variations of classifications and by increasing
the use of standard classifications to ensure
closer integration of data from various surveys.
Integrates with all survey
links for classifications through the use
It operates in a client-server
environment using Windows 95/NT and Sybase
relational database technology.
A security system that
allows differing levels of authorisation allocated
to levels of competency and applicability
for users while providing the facility to
securely store confidential classification
An audit trail that keeps
track of all changes made, including when
they were made, by whom and for what reason.
On-line updating and
editing as well as batch loading.
A reports module which
allows the printing to hardcopy or file of
all classifications, concordances and coding
indexes to publication ready standard, plus
an administration report facility to monitor
Has a centralised computer
assisted coding facility available for all
classifications and concordances stored in
CARS using standard codefiles for use in all
Allows for searching
of classifications and classifications codes
Fit within SNZ Statistical Environment
As the centralised classification repository,
all survey systems are integrated or linked
to CARS. This includes the Census of Population
and Dwellings, Migration, Overseas Trade and
the Business Frames. Information on classification
background text and classification categories
from CARS are accessible through the Internet
on the SNZ website. Survey system applications
can directly access CARS through standardised
Classifications held on
CARS currently contains an ever increasing
number of classifications and versions of classifications.
Classifications are each assigned an approval
status to identify their 'importance' within
the SNZ structure. The approval statuses are:
New Zealand Standard
These cover the most important classifications,
for example occupation, industry, geographic
and harmonised system, which are used nationally
in the production of official statistics by
These are virtually the same as New Zealand
Standard except they are used exclusively within
Statistics New Zealand.
These are variations of the previous two categories.
These are survey specific and in some instances
These are classifications produced by the UN,
ILO, ISO, other international statistical agencies
and overseas national statistical agencies e.g.
All classifications are owned by user groups
which gives members of those groups 'write'
access to the classifications. All other users
only have 'read' access. Consequently surveys
can currently maintain their own classifications
although Classifications and Standards section
is slowly taking responsibility for those classifications
which are not New Zealand Standard or Interim
Standard. However all classifications are defined
in CARS for all users by the Supervisor group
(which is a Classifications and Standards Section
Procedures for Working
with Classifications in CARS
All SNZ personnel can access CARS and an
access structure has been set up according to
the level of use desired.
A CARS Browser is any SNZ staff member
who is able to log onto CARS on-line system
and/or is able to access the CARS database directly,
and who is not a member of any CARS User Groups:
Owner User Group
The classifications and associated metadata
in CARS are owned by owner user groups which
are an individual or a group of individuals
such as a section, a grouping of sections or
other organisational unit within SNZ. An owner
user group is responsible for maintaining the
classifications and concordances it owns.
Reader User Group
Virtually all released data in CARS can be read
by anyone with access to CARS regardless of
whether or not they belong to any user group.
However, there are confidential classifications
in CARS which have a read restriction and are
assigned to a reader user group. A classification
which has a read restriction assigned to it
can only be seen by members of that group and
the owner user group (normally this will be
one and the same group).
Supervisor User Group
The administration and management of the CARS
system is under the control of the Supervisor
User Group. The head user of this user group
is the CARS Administrator - a member
of the Classifications and Standards Section
- who has overall responsibility for the CARS
system. The Supervisor User Group administers
CARS on behalf of C&S, the owners of the
The roles of the Supervisor User Group are:
in CARS, and where required may load and verify
these or assist users to do this. Associated
concordances may be defined, loaded and verified
for users although this is a function for
create new subjects,
topics, units of measure and user groups,
adding new users to the CARS system.
define, generate and
co-ordinate the creation and maintenance of
all codefiles (this is an exclusive function
for the Supervisor group); develop, maintain
and promote the use of standard coding tools;
co-ordinate and administer codefile updating
through standard procedures in consultation
generate SAS formats.
administer the CARS Help
desk assigning inquiries within C&S or
to the CARS AD support, and providing assistance
in the use of CARS.
administer the CARS system
through regular auditing and monitoring.
assist the Manager, C&S
in the promotion of CARS internally
CARS is a client/server based system with
a Sybase database server and a client component
written in SQL Windows/Centura.
CARS provides a Windows GUI client application,
Sybase Views and Stored Procedures to access
data. Data is stored in Sybase tables in a predefined
database, along with indexes, stored procedures
and other components that allow users to read
and update the table contents. Views and stored
procedures in CARS incorporate security checks
so that a user will only be able to read classification
data they are entitled to see.
Client hardware: Recommend Pentium 200 or
Server hardware: Sybase server depending on
size of database and number of concurrent users
Cost of Providing System
The CARS System Licence
The 'one-off' licence fee cost is US$47,000.
The fee includes:
Management of the Implementation
Permanent rights to use
the system within the Agency
Installation of the system
into the Agency's test and production computing
System and User documentation
and training material
Support and follow-up
for 12 months post installation.
Disbursements - charged
Freighting of equipment and materials
Travel and related expenses
- full cost recovery charges apply
Support beyond 12 months
- full cost recovery charges apply.
For CARS the
following software licenses will be required:
SYBASE - the
relational database software
Centura - the online
graphical user interface software.
Note: As these costs are commercial arrangements
and non trivial, the purchase of these software
licences will be left to the purchaser to negotiate.
SNZ is happy to assist with this process if
Evaluation & Installation
Phase 1: On-site pre-installation evaluation
In this phase a small team would visit the
Agency to assess the computing and operating
environment, install a demonstration model of
the system, demonstrate the system to all interested
parties including the introduction of system
concepts and standards, and determine what modifications
are required to the system.
The outcome of this phase is an evaluation
report outlining the key issues and requirements
for a successful installation. This report would
be a joint report agreed to by both parties.
hase 2: Formalising the Relationship
this phase SNZ will prepare a Memorandum of
Understanding between SNZ and the Client Agency
and arrange for signing by both parties (normally
at the CEO level).
The Memorandum is the means by which SNZ manages
its business relationships with other Statistical
Agencies. The central theme of this Memorandum
is the establishment a long term relationship
based on the trust and goodwill of both Agencies.
The Memorandum outlines the details of the
sale and purchase, the phases of work agreed
to, including the nature of modifications required,
and the nature and level of ongoing support.
Phase 3: Installation of System
In this phase SNZ will:
Prepare and install a
customised working system in the Client Agency's
test and production computing environments.
Prepare and supply a
full set of system, operational and training
Deliver training to both
Systems and Operations staff
Provide support for 12
months following installation.
Provide project Management
resources to manage all phases of the process
including the ongoing support.
SNZ Contact Details
International Business Relationship Manager
Statistics New Zealand
Private Bag 92003