How the University of Veracruz used data visualisation to help develop the state’s Observatory on Food Security and Nutrition
The University of Veracruz was established in 1944 and is considered the state’s premier institution of higher education. The university now has a presence in five university regions and 28 municipalities. The university works with many national and state-level organisations that are seeking to improve the lives of people living in Veracruz.
The Faculty of Nutrition, Xalapa, which belongs to the Universidad Veracruzana, works in partnership with other agencies and hosts the Centre for Food Security and Nutrition State of Veracruz (OBSAN). The Observatory's mission is is to provide a platform that provides information on food security and nutrition in the State of Veracruz and to contributes to decision-making and policy development.
We talked to Lolki Lopez Galindo, from Faculty of Nutrition, Xalapa. She explained that the team was given the task of developing an information system for OBSAN. "The intention was to collect data that were scattered in different departments, and gather them in one place, where they were available at any time or place, on a computer with internet access, through an intuitive, user-friendly and interactive interface," she says.
“We had already come across InstantAtlas and felt that it could be an integral part of the information system. A large volume of data had to be collect together but learning how to put it online using InstantAtlas only took a couple of days.”
Meeting the need
OBSAN now has an information system that enables it to make information available to policy makers, researchers, government agencies and the general public. Lolki says: “Policy makers are using it to plan and evaluate actions and strategies for intervention in food security and nutrition in order to prevent and reduce the adverse effects of the economic crisis on the population.” Data are displayed in a way that makes regional comparison easy and the feedback from all users has been supportive of the initiative.
The university will be working with OBSAN to add further data sets to the information system to ensure it is as comprehensive as possible. The team is also looking at adding in data for the same indicators over a number of years so it will be possible to carry out in-depth time series analysis of the data.
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