Enhancing Use of Geographic Statistics through Visualisation – The Danish Experience
Lars Thygesen, Jarl Quitzau
Statistics Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark

Official statistics have great potential to generate knowledge and serve as basis for decisions taken by many actors in society; however, the potential is under-utilised because many people do not know about statistics, do not care about them and do not understand them.

This paper highlights Statistics Denmark's recent work on enhancing the use of geographic statistics through visualisation on the web. The paper demonstrates how a visualisation tool has been implemented as a powerful enabler to different categories of users of statistics, who wish to understand the geographic dimension of societal phenomena and find the facts hidden in the data. The scope of the tool spans from leading edge regional researchers, through local and regional planners and news media, to the general public, e.g. citizens who are interested in what goes on in their own community. Consequently, the tool allows for many different ways of presenting itself and the data, and it is applied to many different levels of geographical detail.

In addition to maps showing the data, we want to highlight correlations between several variables across the geographic areas, as well as dynamics over time. The tool facilitates sharing of insights through stories linked to selected views on the data.

The new visualisation facility is used in connection with the general dissemination of statistics on the web site, as well as an add-on to enrich statistical services compiled especially for individual customers.

It will be demonstrated how the tool has enhanced the communication of income statistics, unveiling new findings and stories about the regional aspect of incomes relating to the financial crisis and to the changes in the distribution according to kind-of-activity of enterprises.

Keywords: Visualisation; Geographic; Official statistics; Stories

Biography: Director at Statistics Denmark. Has worked with many different aspects of official statistics for a lifetime, in Statistics Denmark and the OECD.