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Looking back at EU Open Data Days 2021: ‘From open data to data visualisation’

Explore four initiatives highlighting the link between open data and data visualisation


Last November, the Publications Office of the European Union organised the EU Open Data Days. Over the three days (23 – 25 November 2021), the event showed the benefits of open data to more than 2300 EU public sector representatives, citizens and businesses under the main theme: ‘shape our future with open data’.

Over 70 speakers from across the world took the floor in six thematic sessions. Each of these sessions provided an overview of innovative techniques and best practices used in both the private and public sector. Moreover, they offered the participants valuable insights into open data and data visualisation techniques and practices.

In a series of news pieces, we have recapped each of the thematic sessions of the EU Open Data Days, which included:

The fourth thematic session was titled ‘From open data to data visualisation’ and linked open data and data visualisation together, with a focus on the importance of openness in building a powerful data visualisation.

The first session was titled ‘Empowering citizens to turn open data into compelling insights’ by Benjamin Wiederkehr, the founder and director of Interactive Things. In this session, Benjamin shared learnings from building a data visualisation platform that was commissioned and co-created by the Swiss federal administration to support citizens through linked open data. He also shared learnings from underlying design principles, the impact of participatory development methods, and the benefits of using user-centric open data services.

The second session was titled ‘Knowledge, data, storytelling and bias?’ by Jose Berengueres, a Professor of Design Thinking at the University of United Arab Emirates. In this session, Jose demonstrated how to distinguish data from knowledge, different types of misinformation strategies, the types of bias that can affect a visual, and the relationship between data, narratives, and stories.

The third session was titled ‘Visualising public finance data – key of governmental transparency’ by Bernhard Krabina, a Team coordinator for European Governance and Urban Policy at the Centre for Public Administration Research in Vienna, Austria. In this session, Bernhard discussed how data visualisation can help people understand complex open data such as public spending data. Moreover, he showcased the platform Open Spending Austria, a portal that provides a visualisation of the spending data from more than 1 200 municipalities across Austria and acts as an open data hub.

The fourth session was titled ‘Why we need more data art’ by Matthias Stahl, the Deputy Head of the Graphics and Interactive department at Der Spiegel. In this session, Matthias spoke about  the importance of data visualisation and how, when done correctly and with thought for your audience, it can convey emotions. 

To learn more about the above presentations, visit the EU Open Data Days website, where you can find official press release materials as well as recordings of all contributions.


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