Visualising Data: Maps and Charts

The statistics.gov.scot site contains some basic charts and maps. They’re not intended to be the last word in data visualisation, but they put the data into context and may help you to decide if some data is worth looking into further. They are intended to provide in-line context to an indicator, rather than presentation-ready data visualisations.

This guide describes how to:

  • View data on a map
  • View data on a chart
  • Share a map or chart

Other guides are available on understanding the Atlas section of statistics.gov.scot, finding data by area type or organisation, finding datasets by browsing area, finding data by place name or postcode.

View data on a map

Once you have filtered your data to display a table, you can decide which column to view data for on a map. Scroll right to view all column headings in the sheet.

To visualise a map of data across areas, decide which column of data you would like to see mapped. In our example, it’s 2017 house prices across council areas in Scotland. A small grey arrow will appear in the right of the column as you hover over the heading 2017.

Click on the arrow to view a drop down menu.

To view this column of data as a map, select ‘Visualise this column’, and this will show a map of council areas across Scotland, with supporting legend. Hovering over an area on the map will show a popup that displays the name and geography code of the area, and the value of the observation. (Please note: if the data in the spreadsheet is at country level only, clicking on visualise this column won’t show a map. The purpose of the maps is to show the variation across the country, so it is only useful when the data is broken down to smaller areas).

This interactive map is zoomable and you can copy the link at the top of the page to share it with others.

If different areas for this dataset exist, then you can view those instead by choosing an area type from the drop down menu just below the map.

When you select a different area the map will change to show that view of data. In the example below I selected Electoral Wards, so now the map shows the median house prices in 2017 for electoral wards across Scotland.

View data on a chart

Where there are data points over time for a dataset (eg there are values for 2012, 2013, 2014, etc) then the data can be viewed on a simple line chart from a dataset.

For the purposes of this exercise, we are going to use the dataset ‘House Prices.’

Search for this dataset using the search box, and lock median for the measure type. This takes us to this spreadsheet view.  

I’ve circled the statistical observation for median house price, Aberdeenshire, 2017. Click on an individual spreadsheet cell like this, and this value will link to a separate webpage for that statistic.

In the example above we can see that this is the median house price in Aberdeenshire in 2017.

Go to its chart tab. If contextual data has been published, there will be a time series chart with the selected statistic highlighted to show context. You can view other statistical observations in the chart by hovering over them. To view a different observation in detail, click on a different statistic in that chart to get to its own web page. That, too, will have a data tab, a chart tab and an API tab.

Sharing Maps and Charts

As with all data on statistics.gov.scot, [each page has a permanent link](link to sharing and linking to data and other resources guide]. Copy and paste the link in the address bar of the web-browser to reference the page, or to send it to someone else.

Tip: (this bit is slightly nerdy!)

To link directly to the chart itself, you need to add a query string key-value pair of "tab=charts" to the URL link. If there are no other query string variables in the page, prefix this with a "?", otherwise use a "&".

e.g. https://statistics.gov.scot/resource?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fstatistics.gov.scot%2Fdata%2Fhouse-sales-prices%2Fyear%2F2017%2FS12000034%2Fpounds-gbp%2Fmedian&tab=charts

This tells the web browser to go to the appropriate page, and then switch to the Charts tab.

Note: Linking directly to charts in this way isn't guaranteed to remain in future versions of statistics.gov.scot and we're working on other ways to share and embed individual charts.

Summary: viewing maps

  • Filter a dataset down to a table
  • Select the column you want to view. Click on the arrow at the top of that column and then ‘visualise this column’ from the options.
  • The resulting map will show data across areas. Hover over the area to see the area code and value and click an area to go to a web page for that statistic.
  • To alter the areas viewed on the map, select a different area type from the menu beneath the map.

Summary: viewing charts

  • Get to a table of the data
  • Click on an individual cell within the spreadsheet
  • Go to the chart tab

Summary: sharing maps and charts

  • Copy and paste the link in the toolbar. Each page is permanent but to link to a chart for a single statistical observation, add ?tab=charts or &tab=charts to the end of the link.

To continue exploring our datasets, return to statistics.gov.scot

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