Data presentation techniques

On 18 July, several members of the Observatory attended a masterclass on data presentation hosted by the Association of Regional Observatories. Speakers at the event included Ed Swires-Hennessy (Local Government Data Unit, Wales), Alan Smith (Head of Data Visualisation, Office for National Statistics) and Robert Radburn (Research and Information Team, Leicestershire County Council).

It’s going to take some time to work through the wealth of information showcased at the event, but some of the techniques demonstrated there have already provided food for thought.

Robert Radburn talked about how Leicestershire County Council has been exploring new ways to communicate statistical data to the public, such as their use of cartograms. They have used graphical techniques developed by the academic community in order to better convey information to the general public and to policy-makers, often using tools that are freely available to all.

Several websites were cited as examples of innovative data presentation techniques. Gapminder.org hosts an array of interactive animated graphs that clearly present global data on wealth distribution and other socio-economic indicators – some of the tools used to produce these graphs are available through Google, which could offer interesting new opportunities for organisations wanting to present complex information in a clear, dynamic, and engaging way.

Overall, the event made clear the scope for innovation in data presentation, and the importance of carefully developing graphs and charts that are clear, accurate, and easy to use.

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One Response

  1. I hope that the day was a useful one. We’ll be contacting all those who attended to pass on some of the other URLs highlighted by the speakers that might be of interest.

    ARO would be interested in running the event again (as I know WMRO have done previously) so I’d welcome any thoughts on how to improve the training!

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