Monday, June 17, 2013

Exploring the Data Behind Maps

The UK's Liberal Democrats Party has created a Google Map that purportedly shows how the political party has created 1 million private sector jobs whilst it has been the minority partner in the UK's coalition government.

What's happening in your area? shows locations presumably where the Liberal Democrats believe jobs have been created. The map is obviously contentious. I've been trying to dig around employment rate statistics and the most optimistic statistic I can find suggests that the employment rate in the UK has grown by about half a million during the present government. However even if the employment rate has risen by 1 million the implication of the map is that all these jobs are the direct result of the Liberal Democrats' 'job creation' schemes.

OUseful.Info has been digging around a little in the data behind the map. His post Critiquing Data Stories: Working LibDems Job Creation Data Map with OpenRefine is a very interesting account of how to access the data behind the map and how OpenRefine can then be used to start exploring the data. In a second post, Do Road Improvements Really Create Jobs, he then explores a little deeper into some of the claims made by the map.

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