Evidence-based Decision Making

iPads (or any easily accessible device) with a dashboard application on it become more and more used tools (or Gadgets) for politicians.

Photograph: Andrew Parsons/ZUMA Press/Corbis

No 10 dashboard

David Cameron is (perhaps) looking at the ‘new custom-built “No 10 dashboard” web app’. With a little help from National Statistics ..

‘The app is hosted by the Government Digital Service (GDS) inside the Cabinet Office, and consists of a number of onscreen tiles, each of which can be selected to show more detail. One shows the latest growth figures and the FTSE index; one shows the prime minister’s diary; one shows the content of a number of Twitter feeds, including the official No.10 feed; another shows the insights from a daily poll by the polling group YouGov; another shows property and jobs data supplied by Adzuna, a UK startup that provides inputs about the number of jobs which are then blended with data from the Office for National Statistics.
Another tile shows regional economic data, while a final tile tracks the progress of key government initiatives such as the structural reform plan – the coalition’s scheme to cut the deficit – and compares government spending against budget targets.’
Source: The Guardian  

The dashboard idea is not a new one. Some (of much more) examples:

Statistics Finland …

… provides Findicator.


Ireland ist preparing



In Switzerland

Statistics Switzerland‘s website provides a set of indicators  measuring progress on the road to sustainable development.


In fact,

every Website of a statistical agency is more or less a dashboard for evidence-based decision making. See also OECD, IMF, World Bank



Personal Dashboards

There are also lots of individually configurable Dashboards based on dedicated search. So:

Squirro (Beta, on invitation)

trap!t, the sister company of Siri

etc and so on. Explore yourself!

.Is this a revival and a boost for evidence-based or data-based decision making?

opendata.ch 2012

Some good presentations from this year’s opendata.ch event in Zürich, Switzerland.

Nigel Shadbolt on Open Data and Economy


Abraham Bernstein, University of Zurich on Big Open Data Processing (in German)



Alain Nadeau, Swiss Federal Statistical Office FSO on Finding and Using FSO Data (in German)


See all presentations here

Swiss Statistics – Election Atlas 2011

Swiss parliament elections took place on Sunday 23 October 2011. As part of its services the Federal Statistical Office is making available a modern e-atlas in German and French. The Political Atlas provides a cartographic visualisation of the electoral strength of the main parties and party groups together with previous electoral results going back to 1919.

Wahlatlas Schweiz


This Atlas is based on a Content Management system which has been used for other atlases:

See also: https://blogstats.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/ipad-atlas/

iPad Atlas

iPad got a new interactive atlas today! It’s the iStat@las provided by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office FSO. This Statistical Atlas of Switzerland gives an  overview of captivating regional issues covering a lot of themes. A user-friendly interactive interface lets discover spatial disparities and relationships, down to the level of Swiss municipalities. Available in German and French.

Whoever does not own an iPad here’s the Flash based online atlas on Statistic Switzerland’s website.

Open Data – Some Perspectives

In Switzerland there is a growing discussion about open government data, on June 24 2011 a very well appreciated conference – opendata.ch 2011 – took place in Bern.

All presentations can be found at opendata.ch.and on youtube.

Jeremy Stucki (interactive things) posted an English summary on datavisualization.ch. Many thanks!

Invited speakers Nigel Shadbolt and Rufus Pollock presented their views in a lively and engaging manner.

My presentation was about open data and Official Statistics: Some Perspectives. Here it is

.. ans as video in German

Storytelling with maps and graphs – Some examples

It’s like an app, a separate presentation not embedded into the navigation of the mother website. One single link only – behind the NSI logo – gives the context to the whole statistical content offered by Statistics Italia. I speak of … noi italia.

And it’s beautiful. A mix of static and dynamic (flash, delivered by NCVA) content, text (some call it storytelling) with interactive graphs and maps. .

With the same technology used by noi italia Statistics Sweden just launched its Statistikatlas and also some thematical visualisations or vislets integrated into the website.

Compare i.e. with EUROSTATS Table Graph Maps application which has no texts or storytelling included.

Or with Switzerland’s Stat@las.

Three for Atlas Version Three

ETH Zurich, swisstopo and the Federal Statistical Office FSO just published the 3rd version of the “Atlas of Switzerland” setting new standards in cartography on an international level. Available offline only, on DVD.

See a description of the features here.

Over 2000 maps from the subject areas of transport, energy, communication, nature and the environment, society, economy, state and politics are included.

3D cartography included. Simultaneous combination of 2 themes in one 3D map

And also a realistic simulation of day/night situations; data available on around 120 000 celestial bodies

Statistical Storytelling Revisited

Since its emergence in the 19th century, the continuous publication of results has been an important activity of official statistics. This publication activity, as well as its conditions, objectives and forms have been debated time and again in official statistics’ community.

About 10 years ago, one theme in particular came to the forefront of discussions: storytelling and its role in the dissemination and communication of statistics. Storytelling is a programme to make the results of official statistics accessible and understandable to people and – in fulfilment of an information mandate – to make “evidence based decision making” possible.

Looking back, it becomes apparent that storytelling meant, and still means, many different things to statisticians. The goal is largely undisputed, but the implementation varies widely and is influenced by developments in the media sector.

Where are we today? What and where is the potential of the storytelling approach in the world of the social and semantic web?

The goal of the following paper is to make an inventory of what storytelling comprises,what role storytelling plays within the framework of official statistics and which challenges official statistics face in view of the rapidly changing media environment.
This paper is the contribution of the author to the International Marketing and Output Database Conference IMAODBC 2010 in Vilnius.

Storytelling Revisited

Exploring Population Distribution in 3-D

Interactive 3-D-visualisation allows a very instructive view of  statistical data. An impressive example is the comparison of the population distribution by night and by day in big towns. In the morning people go to work into the city and at night the go back into the agglomerations.

Statistics Zurich has built a 3-D-model based on census data. It’s in java, you can play with it and choose various views.

Zurich: Population density by day:

Zurich: Population density by night

The Java application and its technical description can be found on Statistics Zurich (in German only)

Similar models exist for other towns. See Washington