## Heroes of Slovenia

My colleagues published the Slovene multi-player statistical quiz app on Tuesday 22nd. I love it!

We’ve all heard “statistics is boring”, but once you add lovely design, humorous content and a strategic game to it, it can be fun. In two days after the announcement there are more than 1200 players who already played abt. 24.000 games. And we know a lot more about Slovenia than we knew three days ago 😉

How the game works: First one selects his player name, then a favourite character (a hero from Slovenia), turns the wheel of fortune (automatic selection of the region one plays for) and then looks for an opponent (a region or a player). Each game has 7 questions, the last one always being a number range slider (statistical data). The one who wins gets some resources and so each region gradually evolves from the prehistory to the future. The competiton of the 12 regions lasts for 7 days, then the game resets to the starting point (keeping the overall score board of players).

In the current version we have about 2000 questions, 500 of these are statistical (others include interesting info about local peculiarities, history, literature, language, geography …).

At the moment there is the Slovene version only, but the App is ready to be translated or adjusted for another country (if adjusting you’d have to invest also into some graphic design adjustments). I sincerely hope we’d make an English version of the Slovene game someday, for our foreign visitors or fans of Slovenia 😉

Website announcement:  https://lnkd.in/gg3byB9

Game website: http://junaki-slovenije.si/

## Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web’s 29th birthday

Just two quoted sentences as a suggestion to read the whole story here:

## Synchronously Visualized

Once again:  the New York Times presents an innovative graphic, which you always want to watch again and again.

It’s this Downhill Race at the Olympics:

Start

Run

Finish

The link to the moving graphic is below this picture:

## For Statistics?

It would be exciting to follow such visualizations, e. g. on changes in unemployment, GDP etc. of different countries from today-minus-x to today.

## Easy-to-understand Statistics for the Public

In a recently published EUROSTAT publication, the authors demand innovative forms of communication from public statistics in order not to lose their socially important role. Among other things, they demand ‘…. to tell stories close to the people; to create communities around specific themes; to develop among citizens the ability to read the data and understand what is behind the statistical process.’

## Telling Stories

The UNECE hackathon that has just been completed responds to this challenge.
‘A hackathon is an intensive problem-solving event. In this case, the focus is on statistical content and effective communication. The teams will be challenged to “Create a user-oriented product that tells a story about the younger population”. During the Hackathon, fifteen teams from nine countries had 64.5 hours to create a product that tells a story about the younger population. The teams were multidisciplinary – with members from statistical offices and other government departments. The product created should be innovative, engaging, and targeted towards the general public (that is, not specialists). There was no limit on the form of the product, but the teams had to include a mandatory SDG indicator in the product.
The mandatory indicator was “Proportion of youth (aged 15-24 years) not in education, employment or training” SDG indicator (Indicator 8.6.1).‘ (Source)

## Winners

And the hackathon shows impressive results, even if only a few organisations have participated.

The four winners are:

## My Favourites

My favourites are number 3 from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI-Mexico) and number 2 from the

### Why?

#### The Mexican solution…

…is aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. The interaction is left to the user and can be individually controlled by him/her in the speed.

The diagrams do not stand alone, but are explained by short texts while scrolling.

The results are not just being accepted. Rather, the concepts are explained and questioned – statistics are presented with the methodological background.

#### The Polish solution…

…starts with a jourmalistic approach. Here too, the interactivity can be controlled by the user at the desired speed.

At the end, the authors also seek direct contact with the users; a quiz personalizes the statistical data and gives an individual assessment of where the users stand personally with regard to these statistics.

## Success Factors

The two applications mentioned above combine decisive user-friendly features:
– visually attractive,
– easy-to-understand navigation that can be controlled by the user according to his needs,
– the journalistic approach,
– concise and instructive explanations,
– personalization,
– hints on the methodological background.

Many of the other applications show the frequently encountered weaknesses: Too much information should be provided, no courage to leave something behind and concentrate on the most important elements. And this leads to long texts and complex navigation with the effect that users quit quickly.

## 20 Years Ago

### 1996

On the 2nd of September 1996, Statistics Switzerland published its brand-new website, www.bfs.admin.ch. It was one of the first (if not the first) of the Swiss Administration (www.admin.ch).

### In three languages…

… and already with quite rich structure and content.

### The Wayback Machine …

… shows the developments since 1996

### The next one …

… must be based on a new technology:

• CMS remains state of the art for content presentation
• Assets come from databases
• Web services (via a web service platform) deliver assets from databases to the presentation platform.

And with such a three-layer architecture the website will be able to display data from ubiquitous databases and also offering data to third parties via web services: Open data compatible.

## Next Step in OGD Websites

What DataUsa is doing could be – I guess – the next step in the evolution of Open Government Data websites. It’s the step from offering file downloads to presenting data (and not files) interactively. And it’s a kind of presentation many official statistical websites would surely be proud of.

César A. Hidalgo from MIT discusses the philosophy behind this. More at the end of this post; at first a short look at this website.

## Bringing data together

Merging data from different sources may have been the most expensive and challenging task and the conditio sine qua non for the existence of this website. And perhaps it’s more an organizational than a technical challenge.

Seven public data sources are accessible via DataUsa

## Presenting data

Adapting to what internauts normally do, the main entrance is a search bar;

Thematical and geographical profiles are available, too. But in a hidden menu.

The presentation of the data is a mix of generated text and various types of graphs.

The option above every graph allows to share, embed, download, get a table and even an API for the data.

And finally thematical maps provide other views and insights:

## Storytelling

But the fascinating part is Stories

Various authors write stories focussing on special topics and using the presentation techniques of the site.

## Background

A glossary explains technical terms and the About Section presents the authors and their aim:
‘In 2014, Deloitte, Datawheel, and Cesar Hidalgo, Professor at the MIT Media Lab and Director of MacroConnections, came together to embark on an ambitious journey — to understand and visualize the critical issues facing the United States in areas like jobs, skills and education across industry and geography. And, to use this knowledge to inform decision making among executives, policymakers and citizens.’

Philosophy behind

César A. Hidalgo, one of the websites’ authors explains why they did what they did in a blog post with the title ‘What’s Wrong with Open-Data Sites–and How We Can Fix Them.’

Here’s the design philosophy in a visual nutshell:

‘Our hope is to make the data shopping experience joyful, instead of maddening, and by doing so increase the ease with which data journalists, analysts, teachers, and students, use public data. Moreover, we have made sure to make all visualizations embeddable, so people can use them to create their own stories, whether they run a personal blog or a major newspaper.’

And:

‘After all, the goal of open data should not be just to open files, but to stimulate our understanding of the systems that this data describes. To get there, however, we have to make sure we don’t forget that design is also part of what’s needed to tame the unwieldy bottoms of the deep web.’

## Open Data Portals: News

There are new or refurbished open data portals to be announced.

## opendata.swiss

Switzerland just published opendata.swiss in a new look for a better presentation of data. See the press release.

## europeandataportal.eu

The European Commission published some months ago the European Data Portal.

europeandataportal.eu is much more than a collection of open data. It is an ecosystem with lots of documents explaining and promoting open data.

#### SPARQL inside!

The portal offers metadata as linked open data with an SPARQL endpoint for powerful searching.

select ?theme (count(?theme) as ?count) where {?s a dcat:Dataset . ?s dcat:theme ?theme} GROUP BY ?theme LIMIT 100  gives all  data categories/themes and their number of datasets .

## Impact studies

Most of all these data are already published on other websites. The advantage of such open data portals are a centralized access and clear licence information, A main intention is to attract developers, to foster data usage and with this economic growth.

A Swiss study (January 2014) assesses the economic impact of Open Government Data: ´The report determined that the economic benefits from OGD for Switzerland lie most likely between CHF0.9 B and CHF1.2 B´.

All the details >>> here  (look for the extended executive summary).

European Study (November 2015) within the context of the launch of the European Data Portal got these results: “The aim of this study is to collect, assess and aggregate economic evidence to forecast the benefits of the re-use of Open Data for the EU28+. Four key indicators are measured: direct market size, number of jobs created, cost savings, and efficiency gains. Between 2016 and 2020, the market size of Open Data is expected to increase by 36.9%, to a value of 75.7 bn EUR in 2020. The forecasted number of direct Open Data jobs in 2016 is 75,000 jobs. From 2016 to 2020, almost 25,000 extra direct Open Data jobs are created. The forecasted public sector cost savings for the EU28+ in 2020 are 1.7 bn EUR. Efficiency gains are measured in a qualitative approach. ”

See the details >>> here

## Next: LOD

Open and machine-readable formats help to access data and foster the economic impact. Even better when the data have metadata in a standardized description. Linked Open Data (LOD) in RDF format provide this; europeandataportal.eu uses this format describing the harvested datasets (metadata). The next step will and must be data in this format in order to link masses of data in the linked data cloud.

## Look at the Elections

### 18 October 2015

On October 18, 2015, Swiss voters elect a new Parliament for the next four years.

For the National Council (200 members), 3,802 candidates and more than 22 political parties take part.

### And the winners are …

The polling stations closed at 12 AM. The results arrive canton by canton and are presented in an interactive visualisation – minute by minute.

Results as of 5 PM

By clicking one of the symbols, the details for a canton appear.

The results are updated in a database, and a script generates a visualisation on the spot. An easy way to follow the elections!

It’s the Statistical Atlas of the Federal Statistical Office that enables this presentation. And it’s no longer Adobe Flash needed to do it ;-).

## More than just Numbers

The historical research uses statistics since ever.  And Official Statistics are a favourite source for quantitative historiography and digital humanities.

### ‘Statistics are more than just numbers’

Statistics New Zealand depicts the history of the capital Wellington with a popular format – an infographic.

‘In 1865, following a period of heated debate, an independent tribunal of three Australians selected Wellington to be New Zealand’s capital. Since that time a lot has changed in Wellington and Statistics NZ has been able to follow and track that change through the data it collects.’

How true!: ‘Statistics are more than just numbers, they can chart change, record history, and be a tool for decision making.’ (Source: Stats NZ)

## DigiPub

Mid-December 2014 Statistics Switzerland launched its first digital publication for tablets (iOs. Android) and (and!) browser, in French and German. The name for this publishing category is ‘DigiPub‘.

.

### In App Store and Google Play

DigiPubs are provided via the SwissStats App available on Apple Store and Google Play (Windows to come later ).

..

.

In the browser .

### The challenge: Storytelling in timesoftablets

Storytelling in the time of tablets and mobile people performs in a new field.
The idea and the message are old – let‘s call it the book paradigm.
But it‘s a book in new clothes. New aspects must be taken into account: new possibilities, skills, tools and processes.

### .folio

After evaluation, the choice for a performant and sustainable publishing instrument fell on: .folio, an open format, part of Adobe‘s Digital Publishing Suite DPS.

.folio provides:

• Wide range of presentation possibilities
• Integration of internet content
• Runs on most platforms, also browsers
• Publication in the major stores
• Production based on layout programs, editing systems or web content management systems
• Open format (ZIP archive with PDF, HTML, XML inside).

.

### Rethink publication !

Electronic publication offers everything needed to make a story appealing. But this means: Rethink publication!

Authors and also publication specialists (publishers, visualisers, layout designers) are challenged

• in terms of concept with regard to the content that is to be communicated
• in terms of the presentation due to the possibilities that the medium is opening up
• in terms of collaboration with specialists.

New ways of working, processes and also changing job descriptions are the result and necessary.

.

### The Concept

The whole story about choosing and developing DigiPubs is in the following presentation:

## Open, Useful, Reusable

In OECD’s brand new publication ‘Government at a Glance 2015’ we can find a new indicator: The OUR Index. It stands for ‘Open, Useful, Reusable Government Data’.

‘The new OECD OURdata Index reveals that many countries have made progress in making public data more available and accessible, but large variations remain, not least with respect to the quality of data provided. Governments need to make participation initiatives more accessible, targeted, relevant and appealing.’ (p.8)

### Method

‘The data come from the 2014 OECD Survey on Open Government Data. Survey respondents were predominantly chief information officers in OECD countries and two candidate countries (Colombia and Latvia). Responses represent countries’ own assessments of current practices and procedures regarding open government data. Data refer only to central/federal governments and exclude open government data practices at the state/local levels.’ (p.150)

.

### Based on G8 recommendations

‘The OECD OURdata Index measures government efforts to implement the G8 Open Data charter based on the availability, accessibility and government support to promote the reuse of data, focusing on the central OGD portal in each country'( p.33)

‘The G8 Open Data Charter defines a series of five principles: 1) open data by default; 2) quality and quantity data; 3) usable by all; 4) releasing data for improved governance and; 5) releasing data for innovation, as well as three collective actions to guide the implementation of those principles.’
‘As a first step in producing a comprehensive measure of the level of implementation of the G8 Open Data Charter, the OECD pilot Index on Open government data assesses governments’ efforts to implement open data in three dimensions:
1. Data availability on the national portal (based on principle 1 and collective action 2);
2. Data accessibility on the national portal (based on principle 3) and
3. Governments’ support to innovative re-use and stakeholder engagement (principle 5).
The only principle not covered in this year’s index is Principle 4: Releasing Data for improved governance value (e.g. transparency) as existing measurement efforts have focused primarily on socio economic value creation’ (p.150)

.

### And here comes the ranking

Data for this chart: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933249180

Detailed data for the countries: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933249175

### The publication

The publication: OECD (2015), Government at a Glance 2015, OECD Publishing, Paris. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/gov_glance-2015-en