1200 Buildings data visualisation featured

1200 Buildings data visualisation

Cities 15 November 2010 | 10.00am

The more I work with industry and government the use of data visualisation and the ability to find effective ways to engage target audiences becomes critical to achieving outcomes.

The City of Melbourne’s large-scale 10-year building retrofit programme should significantly stimulate the State’s manufacturing sector, but the challenge for government and industry was finding a way to clearly quantify this impact and get them involved.

Working with our building engineers I was able to help by developing a way to model demand for the products and materials required to carry out the retrofit of 1200 buildings within the city over the 10 year period of the program. This work expanded on an earlier study I managed, which segmented the city’s office property stock according to its retrofit potential.

The result of this detailed analysis was a huge amount of data, brought together in an extensive report, which has now been published on the Business Victoria website. While the report and the model findings have been widely viewed as a great output, the real client objective is to see the outcome achieved. In essence the goal is to engage manufacturers so that they can take advantage of the opportunities. To address this communication issue and to bring the analysis together with our prior study for the City of Melbourne we developed an online interactive data visualisation tool to present the findings.

I was very keen for industry and government to view the analysis results and have the ability to interact with the data so they could get a feel for how the results changed when the number of buildings retrofitted changed or alternative measures were used. I pitched it as a Digital Innovation project and we quickly developed the database, conceived the design concept and worked with Ben Hosken of Flink Labs to develop the interactive interface.

1200 Buildings data visualisation 1

Click on the image or here for the link to the visualisation. It is best viewed in IE.

The beauty of the tool is that it condenses all the findings for each product type into just one screen, and a simple tab system allows the user to switch between products.

The three key areas in the interactive are highlighted below. The tabs are used to view the different categories of products used in retrofitting buildings. We designed the output in three ways. The numbers of buildings for each locality are shown in the key below the map. The relative sizes of buildings by type across the city are shown on the map in circles. The items used in retrofitting are shown on a scale to the right. These all vary according to the input which is controlled by the single slider at the bottom. This moves between 600 and 1200 buildings.

1200 Buildings data visualisation 2

A visual solution to the data grabs the viewer’s attention and provides a conceptual and holistic view of the programme. The idea is that as well as making the work much more easily digestible it may encourage consideration of the more detailed written report as well.