Visualization tools for Open Government Data
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Visualization tools for Open Government Data

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In recent years many government organizations have imple- mented Open Government Data (OGD) policies to make their data publicly available. This data usually covers a broad set of domains, from ...

In recent years many government organizations have imple- mented Open Government Data (OGD) policies to make their data publicly available. This data usually covers a broad set of domains, from financial to ecological informa- tion. While these initiatives often report anecdotal success regarding improved efficiency and governmental savings, the potential applications of OGD remain a largely uncharted territory. In this paper, we claim that there is an important portion of the population who could benefit from the use of OGD, but who cannot do so because they cannot perform the essential operations needed to collect, process, merge, and make sense of the data. The reasons behind these prob- lems are multiple, the most critical one being a fundamental lack of expertise and technical knowledge. We propose the use of visualizations as a way to alleviate this situation. Vi- sualizations provide a simple mechanism to understand and communicate large amounts of data. We also show evidence that there is a need for exploratory mechanisms to navigate the data and metadata in these visualizations. Finally, we provide a discussion on a set of features that tools should have in order to facilitate the creation of visualizations by users. We briefly present the implementation of these features in a new tool prototype focused on simplifying the creation of visualization based on Open Data.

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Visualization tools for Open Government Data Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Visualization tools forOpen Government DataAlvaro Graves and James Hendler@alvarograves - @jahendlergravea3@rpi.edu - hendler@cs.rpi.eduTetherless World ConstellationRensselaer Polytechnic Institute1Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 2. Agenda• Challenges for Open Government Data• Identifying stakeholders• Soluition developed• Conclusions2Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 3. Challenges for OpenGovernment Data3Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 4. Open Data is everywhere!• Over 1.000.000 datasets from national and localgovernments• Lots of information about education, health, budgets,transportation, etc.4Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 5. Available ≠ Usable• Although data can be accessed by manypeople, few can use them• For many tasks, data manipulation requiresknowledge in programming, statistics, etc.5Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 6. Challenge6• What is needed for non-technical users to consumeand explore Open Government Data?• How can we empower domain experts that lackexperience with Data?Idea:Use of visualizations canmake easier for people to consume dataSaturday, June 22, 13
  • 7. WhyVisualizations?• Visual inspection of datais helpful• It is easy to share andconsume for non dataexperts• Can help to detecttrends and outliers7Anscombe’s quartet“Attractions in Berlin”Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 8. Identifyingstakeholders8Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 9. Usage survey• Asked information about what type of dataand how they use it• Survey via social media• Do you use visualizations?• How important are certain features ofvisualizations?9Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 10. Results10Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 11. Results11Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 12. 12ResultsSaturday, June 22, 13
  • 13. Results13Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 14. Interviews• We know there is a need, but who are thestakeholders of Open Government Data?• 12 interviews with journalists, sociologists,engineers, etc.• Based on these interviews, we created aseries of Personas which representdifferent groups of people14Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 15. Five profiles• Government data provider• Government data consumer• Researcher/Journalist• Civil programmer• Citizen15Focus on the first three.Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 16. Problem grouping•Exploration• Provenance and metadata questions•Creation• How to create a visualization?•Repurposing• How to reuse someone else’s visualization16We grouped the problems described during the interviewsbased on several criteriaSaturday, June 22, 13
  • 17. Solution developed17Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 18. Back to the first question....• How can we empower citizens that are experts in certainareas but lack experience with data?• Tools that:• Facilitate creation of visualizations• Provide better exploratory mechanisms• Ease sharing and viralization• Allow repurposing of visualizations18Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 19. Facilitate creation ofvisualizations• I want a tool where I can create a visualizationin, say, no more than 6 steps• Need some rapid prototyping techniquesso user can obtain immediate feedback19Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 20. Better exploratorymechanisms• Visualization by itself is not enough!• Provide ways to understand how thevisualizations was processed• Provide mechanism to obtain the URL ofthe data used, when it was downloaded,etc.20Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 21. Ease sharing andviralization• Facilitate communication between DataProviders and Data Consumers• Visualizations should be easy to share viathe media people use more often21Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 22. Allow repurpose ofvisualizations• Do not force users to start from scratch!• Critical for Government Data Consumers• Useful for exploring different approaches tovisualizations22Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 23. Prototype• Facilitates the creationof visualizations basedon OGD• Records and exposesprovenanceautomatically• Permits sharing andrepurposing ofvisualizations23Saturday, June 22, 13
  • 24. Conclusions• We need better tools for OGD• Visualizations are key in understandingOGD without special training• By identifying the needs and limitations ofstakeholders, we can build such tools24gravea3@rpi.edu @alvarogravesSaturday, June 22, 13