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Official statistics help decision makers develop informed policies that impact millions of people. Improved data sources, sound statistical methods, new technologies and strengthened statistical systems enable better decisions that eventually result in better lives for all of us. On 20 October 2015, the global statistical community will showcase their achievements and their ongoing work to help this vision come true.

To celebrate World Statistics Day 2015 AMSI and ACEMS are cohosting a lecture by Professor Kerrie Mengersen over the ACE Network

Date: 20 October
Time: 16:30 (AEDT), 15:30 (AEST) & 12:30 (AWST)

How to get experts to reliably and completely encode what they know has for decades proven to be an elusive goal in knowledge management. An appealing approach for spatial problems is to immerse the expert in a realistic virtual environment and elicit information based on what they ‘see’. This information can then be translated to probabilistic statements and distributions that can be used as priors in Bayesian models.

We describe a pilot study in which the aim was to predict the presence of a threatened Australian animal, the rock wallaby, by augmenting the sparse observational data with spatial information obtained from expert ecologists.

The results suggest that the immersive approach provides a rich source of reliable prior information that can enhance statistical modelling and prediction.

World Statistics Day 2015