Data Month: GeoDataViz

Early in 2018 Ordnance Survey (OS) were approached by the Registers of Scotland (RoS) to support their Data Month, an internal event for RoS staff held in March to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and best practice across the business. RoS is the non-ministerial government department responsible for compiling and maintaining 18 public registers. These relate to land, property, and other legal documents and include the Land Register of Scotland and General Register of Sasines.

OS were asked to provide a lunchtime session for staff on data visualisation and cartographic design as well as run a half-day GeoDataViz workshop for the wider geo-community in Scotland.

In the morning, Paul Naylor gave a presentation to the staff at RoS where he discussed the importance of good data visualisation and how it can be used to share insights, solve problems and make data accessible. 

He also gave an overview of the GeoDataViz team and the important role they play within Ordnance Survey (OS). Their role involves making sense of complex data through compelling visuals by using a number of different techniques and a range of software.

To emphasise this, Paul took the delegates on a journey through some of their recent work including visuals for the CityVerve project and OS Custom Made. You can find out more about the team and the type of work they do here.

GeoDataViz workshop.

After lunch, Charley Glynn and Paul begun the GeoDataViz workshop where they once more discussed the importance of data visualisation before introducing the new GeoDataViz toolkit. This toolkit is a set of assets and resources that can help with communicating data effectively through the design of compelling and informative visuals.

What is in the toolkit?

Basemaps – information about the OS range of basemap styles, the colour values for each and some best practice guidance.

Colours – a recommended set of colour palettes, information on how to apply colour to your visualisations and links to other useful colour resources.

Symbols – a set of OS map symbols (in SVG format), information on how to use symbols effectively and links to other useful map symbol resources.

Visual deconstructions – our own visual deconstructions and template so that you can create and share your own. We introduced this new concept back in May and would love to see it being used to share the design details of maps and data visualisations more widely.

Cartographic stylesheets – stylesheets for use with OS data products.

Cartographic design principles – a list of our cartographic design principles to promote good map design.

We’d love to see the toolkit in action and are also keen to hear your thoughts about any extra content you’d like to see added. You can contact us by commenting or by emailing cartodesign@os.uk

We then took a deeper look at the cartographic design principles highlighting the importance in considering these when making maps or data visualisations. These principles have proved popular and are a great resource to help budding cartographers and data visualisation enthusiasts.

Next up was the hands-on workshop which was introduced by Charley and focused on various thematic mapping techniques.

Using a combination of QGIS and Mapbox Studio, those attending were able to explore a range of visualisation techniques for displaying point data which included:

– Dot density map
– Proportional symbol map
– Choropleth map
– Hexbin map
– 3D hexbin map

If you’d like to access the workbook and have a go at undertaking the workshop, you can do so here.

We’d like to say a massive thank you to RoS for hosting and to all the staff behind the scenes who worked hard to make this a successful event.

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