Observatory map featured in top 10 government data visualisations and applications

An interactive map produced by the Observatory has been featured in The Guardian’s top 10 government data visualisations and applications.

Screenshot: interactive map showing Jobseeker's Allowance claimant rates in the West Midlands

This map shows the proportion of the working age population claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in each local authority in the West Midlands. You can also compare data for each local authority with the West Midlands and UK averages.

The map is based on the latest employment and unemployment data released monthly by the Office for National Statistics. The Observatory analyses this data as part of its work in monitoring the impact of the recession on the West Midlands.

As well as local authority, we also show the data in maps for:

The 10 data visualisations and applications were highlighted by the Guardian Datastore on the same day the government publicly launched the data.gov.uk site. This new site aims to unlock innovation and encourage data-led decisions by opening up public sector data for reuse in innovative applications and websites.

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An introduction to geographic information and why it’s important

Brian Higgs from Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council gave a presentation about the importance of geographical information (GI) at the Geographical Information Day, hosted by the Observatory on 18th November 2009.

Brian introduced the concept of geographical information and demonstrated practical examples of how GI is used within Dudley MBC. Here’s Brian’s presentation which includes the audio and slides:

Can’t see the presentation? View the video on Viddler.com or get the PowerPoint slides (ppt, 12.7mb).

Roundup of Geographical Information Day 2009

This is a roundup of the presentations given at last week’s event in Birmingham focused on the importance of geographical information and systems. The event was targeted mainly at primary school teachers, though many delegates from the public sector attended.

The event which was chaired by Shona Frost from Staffordshire County Council.

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Plot data on world maps with new OECD tools

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and DevelopmentTwo new online tools from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) now allow you to plot a huge array of social and economic data onto world maps and track them through time creating an animated chart as you follow your chosen geographic area against other areas. It’s easy to use and, more importantly, easy on the eye.

The first tool, the OECD Factbook eXplorer, allows you to display data (subject to availability) for countries from 1950 to 2006, or even beyond if forecast data is available.

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Breaking out of the silo – a case study

Improvement and Development Agency logoThe West Midlands Regional Observatory is an excellent example of cross-organisation and cross-departmental working, according to a recent case study by the Improvement & Development Agency (I&DeA).

According to the study, the Observatory is a rich resource providing information, knowledge and expertise to a range of audiences.

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Map competition for schools

We’re holding a competition for school children to make a map of their local area, being as creative as possible. Glitter, egg boxes, crayons, pens, felt and sticky back plastic; whatever you want!

Up for grabs in prizes are:

  • A digital camera, software and printer package for the winning class or school.
  • An atlas.
  • The winning artwork will feature on our website.

The competition is being held in association with ESRI UK to tie in with the West Midlands Geographical Information Day we’re currently planning for the 19 November 2008.

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