Visualising Data From API Calls

The international data service provides uniform access to economic and social data from major data providers, e.g. IMF, OECD, World Bank, IEA, UNIDO and UNESCO via the UKDS.Stat platform.

UKDS.Stat can be thought of as a supermarket of data where:

  • Data from many providers is all on the one site;
  • Keyword search can be performed across datasets of all providers at once;
  • There is one simple to use intuitive interface to learn;
  • Metadata can be viewed alongside the data it refers to;
  • Data can be downloaded in Excel, CSV, PC-Axis and SDMX formats;
  • API access enables web and application developers to obtain data from several different providers in SDMX or JSON formats. Preview Changes

I’ve been looking at how people can use the .Stat API to access data and generate a variety of interactive visualisations.  Here are some examples I’ve made using the Chart.js JavaScript libraries.

I’d like to develop visualisations which “add value” to the data through combining observations from different datasets, performing calculations on data, and using user selection of dimensions in the API call, as in these API query examples.

We hope to showcase our data using interactive visualisations like these on the main UK Data Service web pages in news items, case studies and blog posts, and I am investigating how to insert code into our CMS pages for this. We are currently evaluating plugins for our WordPress service blogs which will enable us to use JavaScript visualisations in our posts.

We’re also considering developing a code generator tool which would enable non-coders to create visualisations themselves, so they would be more generally usable, but maybe the OECD web components will fill this role when they arrive.

Watch this space!

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