‘How Pembrokeshire County Council’s online and interactive data resource is helping to reduce ad hoc queries for information’
Pembrokeshire County Council has a long-held ambition to put data into the public domain in a usable and easily-understandable format. Much of this data has geographic information and it has been a natural development to use data visualisation.
Adam Crocker, GIS/Information Manager in the Policy & Corporate Planning department says the council collects a large volume of data covering crime, agriculture, democracy, deprivation, economic indicators, the environment, income, population and housing. In some cases the data goes back to 2005.
Once the council had decided to use InstantAtlas the team set about creating Statistical Maps and Tables – the section of the council’s website devoted to data sharing. “We thought about everyone who would be using it from members of the public to council employees,” he says.
His first impression of InstantAtlas was that the ability to carry out analysis over time would be particularly helpful to users. The first report Adam worked on was job vacancies which used data such as claimants for Job Seeker’s Allowance and he said it was straightforward once he got the data from ONS and Nomis.
Meeting the need
The website was launched in January 2012 and allows users to interrogate statistical data relating to Pembrokeshire listed by various topics. Users click on either the map or the spreadsheet icon to display the dataset as an interactive map or a table, which can be downloaded as an Excel/CSV file. The majority of the data is recorded at Lower Tier Super Output Area (LSOA) level. Although there has been no official feedback, Adam says that people who have accessed the data have been very pleased with what they have seen. “We usually have calls from people asking questions as well as emails but since the site went live we have seen a significant drop in the number of queries coming directly to us. This means we can get on with other analysis.”
Adam says the original intention was to take all the data the council collects and make it available online. The team is now focussing on adding other data so that Pembrokeshire’s Statistical Maps and Tables become the central source of all data for the county.
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Photo Credit | Gareth Davies