Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Public Spending in the UK

The Guardian have been doing some interesting things with data over the past couple of years, including setting up their data store. One of the most interesting visualisations they have produced relates to public spending in the UK. The most recent version of this graphic (produced in conjunction with the Institute for Fiscal Studies), for 2008-09 reveals some interesting things...

  • Total spending was £620.685 billion, up 7% on the previous year
  • Department for Work and Pensions (state pensions, housing benefit, etc.) spending was £135.7 billion
  • £94.552 billion was spent on the NHS
  • Interest payments on debt were £24.1 billion
  • 'Financial stability' measures (i.e. bailing out the banks) was £85.5 billion
  • More money was spent bailing out LTSB and RBS (£36.9 billion) than on the Department for Communities and Local Government (£36.8 billion)
  • DCLG spending for local and regional government was £25.4 billion
There's a fully fledged article on all this, and links to the downloadable pdf on the Guardian pages relating to this analysis. There's also a related flickr page for visualisations.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Old Industrial Landscapes

A short post today, on the topic of old industrial landscapes. Specifically, pictures of Kelham Island in Sheffield. I showed some German professors around this area during the summer as part of a short walking tour. I find the area fascinating so here are some photos I took.

Click the slideshow below to see the full size version.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

British National Grid and Google Maps

This post follows on from a recent one about the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2009 and in particular the interactive mapping function they provide.

The most deprived area in Scotland, according to the new Index, just happens to be centred on Celtic Park, Glasgow. This is, in technical terms, Data Zone
S01003279. But, there's a slight problem - the Data Zones are somewhat displaced. It's not too big an issue in relation to the SIMD data because Data Zones match Ordnance Survey data and the Scottish Government have all this behind the scenes so they do of course know on a street-by-street basis where things are.

However, for the online map interface, it does mean that the Data Zone is not in the right place. It also means that people using the interactive mapping facility could end up thinking they live in one area, when they actually live in another since the level of displacement often moves Data Zones into the wrong street.

So, it got me thinking. What would you have to do to get the Data Zones in the right place on Google Maps (this also applies to Google Earth)? It's quite simple really (if you're a nerd and you have the right software)... N.B. the SIMD data is not based on Google Maps, but rather the Microsoft Virtual Earth mapping facility.

  1. Convert the Data Zone Shapefile from British National Grid to WGS84 in ArcGIS. Best done via ArcToolbox/Data Management Tools/Projections and Transformations/Feature/Project and then selecting the right files for transformation to the correct projection. More useful information can be found here.
  2. Use Kevin Martin's excellent Export to KML tool to convert the Shapefile to KML. You can set transparency here and it will export as a transparent KML layer, as in the maps below.
  3. If you've got a Google account you can then upload the KML file directly into the My Maps facility and the Data Zone appears there. From there you can add a description and edit in other ways.
Here's what it looks like if you don't get the projection right the first time (click the link below the map to see the full thing) - note how the edges of the Data Zone don't match the streets.

View Data Zone S01003279 - Displaced in a larger map

And here's how it looks if you convert to the correct projection before you export to KML (again, click the link below the map to see it full size):

View S01003279 in a larger map

So, a simple bit of GIS work before putting all this online solves the problem.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Google Motion Charts

This post is about Google's motion charts and how useful they are for displaying data in a dynamic format. In this example, I've taken data for four cities in the north of England, and compared change over time from 2000 to 2008. I've used the following indicators:

You can compare any data against any data by clicking below and beside each axis. You can size the bubbles according to any variable and choose to turn any area's data on or off. They're really easy to use. Try experimenting with the example below, or the larger version I've linked to (note that you can click the tabs to the top right of the chart for a different data view). Pressing the 'play' button in the bottom left of the chart will start the animation.

All you need to make this is a some data and a free Google account. And a bit of time and patience. Once you get how it works it's really easy, and very effective. This is just an example using some English data.

For a REALLY impressive demonstration, see gapminder.

For a larger version of the chart shown below, I've put together a separate page.