27 Apr

Blog Post #07 – Visualisation in Policy Compass

The increased availability of data has led to a significant evolution in new and impressive ways of visualising and analysing those data sets. There are endless ways of viewing, analysing, interacting with and understanding data. Users are becoming more and more familiar with tools allowing them to interact with data and visualisations.

Visualisations in Policy Compass provide the means to visualise any form of datasets uploaded from open data sources or modified through the use of indexes and metrics within the Policy Compass platform. These visualisations are available in the form of interactive graphs, bar charts, pie charts and maps. The platform provides all the tools needed to create and share interactive visualisations from open data available in Policy Compass and also through data mashups by mixing up different datasets in order to compare performance of different organisations. Visualisations also provide the ability to annotate graphs with the use of historical events from a pool of trusted historical events available in the Policy Compass platform.

The Policy Compass platform allows visualising datasets in the form of line charts, bar carts and pie charts. After the initial release, improvements and new functionalities are added within each subsequent release. The image below shows a visualisation created in Policy Compass with the title “Germany’s Labour Market 2002-2013” which describes the convergence of employment and unemployment in Germany between 2002 and 2013. Policies that affected the labour market are presumed to be part of the Hartz reforms.


The above visualisation is annotated by three historical events which describe the effect of those events/policies on the data representing the employment and unemployment in Germany. The details below show the information of those historical events which are reflected with the corresponding colour on the above graph.


In the second version of the platform which is expected by June 2015, the following important functionalities will be available:

  • An option will be added below the graph which will allow the visualisation of the same graph in the form of % by setting the initial point of the graph to 0. This will permit the visualisation of the increase or decrease of data over time having as the same point of initial reference.
  • Recommendations will be available when annotating graphs with historical events. When initiating the wizard and before one searches for relevant historical events, they will be presented with recommendations based on the date clicked on the graph, the datasets used, etc.
  • Visualise data over maps since the platform will support the storage of location data. Data will be represented on top of the corresponding locations on a world map with bubbles, maintaining the same colours as in the rest of visualisations for consistency. The size of the bubble will represent the data itself. A time slider will be available to show how data changes over time. An example is shown below.