The Benefits of Visualization – How To Explore a Municipality
Marie Haldorson
Regions and Environment Department, Statistics Sweden, Orebro, Sweden

Local government has a long tradition in Sweden. The country's municipalities are responsible for providing a significant proportion of all public services. They have a considerable degree of autonomy and have independent powers of taxation.

The municipalities need a lot of statistics when dealing with their broad spectre of tasks. Statistics Sweden is the main provider of statistics to the municipalities thanks's to the number of registers used for statistics production at SCB. Most municipalities access the statistics needed by a database on the web and that way have a large amount of statistics - but often not a good tool to analyse and visualize the data.

In 2008 the visualization tool Statistics eXplorer, developed by the Linkoping University, was presented to Statistics Sweden. We found it interesting because of its many facilities for visualizing statistics, primarily maps. Statistics Sweden has worked for many years with data on maps and statistics on small areas.

Together with the university Statistics Sweden carried out a project on visualizing small area statistics, specifically small municipal areas. Three municipalities participated of which Linkoping is the most advanced user today. There were a number of results accomplished during the project, and today these functionalities are included in Statistics eXplorer: the possibility to use a background map, time animation and the eXplorer wizard.

Statistics Sweden has since the municipality project integrated Statistics eXplorer on our own website 2010/2011 and provide services to municipalities interested in using eXplorer. One very good example of municipality use is the city of Gothenburg that has created a blog about the different dimensions of sustainable development.

Keywords: Visualization; Municipalities

Biography: Marie Haldorson has worked for many years with spatial statistics at Statistics Sweden and before that in some municipalities. She has a Master of Political Scienses with a Major in Human Geography. Responsible for implementation of the visualization tool Statistics eXplorer at Statistics Sweden. Also involved as expert in the work with an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe.