A study on the use of visualizations for Open Government Data

Authors
Graves, Alvaro
Hendler, James A.
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2014
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
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Alvaro Graves, James A. Hendler: A study on the use of visualizations for Open Government Data. Information Polity 19(1-2): 73-91 (2014)
Abstract
In the last years, many government organizations have implemented Open Government Data (OGD) initiatives. The data published describe a broad set of areas, including environment, budget and education among others. While these initiatives often report anecdotal success regarding improved efficiency and governmental savings, the potential applications of OGD remain a largely uncharted territory. In this paper, we claim that there is an important group of people interested in OGD -e.g., journalists and activists- who could benefit from the use of OGD, but who cannot do so because they cannot perform the essential operations needed to collect, process, merge, and make sense of the data. The reasons behind these problems are multiple, the most critical one being a fundamental lack of expertise and technical knowledge related to data management and visualizations. We propose the use of visualizations as a way to alleviate this situation. Visualizations provide a simple mechanism to understand and communicate large amounts of data. We also show evidence that there is a need for exploratory mechanisms to navigate the data and metadata in these visualizations. Finally, we provide a discussion on a set of features that tools should have in order to facilitate the creation of visualizations by users. We briefly present the implementation of these features in a new tool prototype focused on simplifying the creation of visualization based on Open Data.
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IOS Press
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