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Looking back at EU Open Data Days 2021: ‘Serving citizens with dataviz’

Explore four initiatives highlighting the link between open data and data visualisation to help citizens


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 fifth thematic session was titled ‘Serving citizens with dataviz’ and linked open data and data visualisation together, with a focus on existing best practices and innovative techniques to showcase how to better engage citizens and serve them better.

The first session was titled ‘How automated data visualisation became indispensable during the COVID-19 pandemic’ by Mirko Lorenz, the Chairman and co-founder of Datawrapper. The tool simplifies the creation of professional charts, maps and tables, and it enables users to set up automated chart updates, reuse and sharing. In the session, Mirko discussed the role of automated data visualisations and explained how they can easily be created, from set-up to daily operations and learnings. 

The second session was titled ‘Europe’s countries and how to deal with them visually’ by Tamara Flemisch, an Information designer based in Berlin. In the session, Tamara explored the challenges that information designers face when presenting European data. She explained the barriers caused by Europe’s diverse nature, such as association with a particular group or showing data from 27 countries in one chart. Moreover, she gave an overview of the approaches currently being used to handle these problems, using examples of visualisations, and she presented alternative methods for addressing these challenges, including using interactive visualisations or less common visualisation techniques.

The third session was titled ‘Data visualisation on mobile devices – issues and best practices from a use case in the public sector’. The session was presented by Marco Cortella and Davide Vernassa, a data visualisation specialist and business intelligence consultant and a UI designer and senior frontend developer, respectively, at Engineering Group. In the session, they presented the latest developments in data visualisation for mobile platforms and how it can evolve to meet users’ needs. Moreover, they shared general best practices and real use cases, including theexample of Italian public sector data visualisation for mobiles, prepared with the healthcare department of the Veneto region.

The fourth session was titled ‘Don’t you see it? Why data don’t tell people much’. The session was presented by Geert Stox and Philip Schiebold, the Head of Strategy and Senior Strategic Planner/Strategic Advisor and the Creative Director, respectively, at ICF Next. In the session, they provided different data visualisation uses cases that demonstrate how they have helped clients’ and stakeholders’ data come alive and the basis for creating effective and impactful ideas for campaigns and projects.

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