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Looking back at EU Open Data Days 2021: ‘Using dataviz for policymaking’

Explore four initiatives highlighting the link between open data and data visualisation to support policy-making

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 sixth thematic session was titled ‘Using dataviz for policymaking’ and linked open data and data visualisation together with a focus on how it can support the decision-making cycle, especially in the EU public sector.

The first session was titled ‘The story of the Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2020’. The session was presented by Ana Florina Pirlea and Divyanshi Wadhwa from the Development Data Group of the World Bank. In the session, they introduced the Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals series and described the vision and technology used for the 2020 edition. Moreover, they highlighted a set of key visuals to explain the approach the team took to showcase the latest development trends and the early impact of COVID-19 through interactive storytelling and data visualisation.

The second session was titled ‘Simplifying complexity – visualising energy scenarios for climate neutrality’. The session was presented by Darren McGarry and Wouter Nijsfrom the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. In the session, they demonstrated how data visualisation tools can increase awareness and understanding of complex issues and can be used to facilitate citizens’ engagement in crucial European Commission initiatives, such as the European Green Deal.

The third session was titled ‘Public transport for equal opportunities – better data visualisation for better decision-making’ by Caroline Goulard, the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Dataveyes. In the session, Caroline discussed the opportunities of mobility data, the challenge of transforming this complex data into meaningful information, and how to use it to make informed decisions. She delved into how Dataveyes produced several data visualisation tools that help mobility players face the challenge of transforming data into meaningful information and shared best practices and lessons learned.

The fourth session was titled ‘Friendly open data visualisation about droughts: The importance of citizens’ engagement . This session was presented by Shirly Kempeneer, an Assistant Professor at Tilburg University, and Lisanne van Weelden, an Assistant Professor at Utrecht University. In the session, they presented a case study of publicly available open data from the regional water authority in the Netherlands, and how data visualisation can unleash the potential of this type of data and help communicate complex issues, such as drought. The session also provided findings from citizen surveys and field lab on visualisations, and discussed effective tools and processes of data visualisation for policymakers, decision-makers, and the general public.


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