Visualising Data: Maps and Charts

The OpenDataCommunities site contains some basic charts and maps. They aren't intended to be the last word in data visualisation, but they may help you to decide if some data is worth looking into further, and to put it into a bit of context. They are intended to provide in-line context to an indicator, rather than presentation-ready data visualisations.

This guide describes how to:

  • View a map or chart
  • Interact with the map or chart
  • Share a map or chart


Choropleth (also known as "Thematic") maps can be found wherever there are data cubes for areas that have their geographic boundaries on the site. The most common is Local Authority areas, though there are also maps for lower super output areas (LSOAs).

To get to a map such as the one shown above, we first need to navigate to a dataset and view it as a spreadsheet. For the purposes of this exercise, we are going to use the dataset ‘House price to earnings ratio’.

Search for this dataset using the search box, and lock the time dimension so that we only show data for 2015 in our spreadsheet view:

You can see that in this table we have a range of different reference area types. We looked at this view of data in greater detail in the Spreadsheet View user guide.

Now decide which column of data you would like to see mapped. In this case, we want to map the ratio of median house prices to median earnings. A small grey arrow will appear in the right of the column as you hover over the heading:

A menu will appear if you click the column heading:

To view this column of data as a map, just click ‘Visualise this column’, and this will show a choropleth map of lower-tier local authorities, with supporting legend.

Hovering over an area on the map will show a popup that displays the name and code of the area, and the value of the observation. If other area types exist for this dataset, then this can be changed in the drop down-box underneath the map.


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.

To access the line charts, when in the spreadsheet view of a data cube - click on a particular observation in the table to get to the observation page. Each "cell" in the spreadsheet is a statistical observation, and the values are links to a page about that observation.

In the example above - we can see that this is the ratio of house prices to median earnings, in England, in 2015.

Clicking on the ‘ Charts’ tab will show the time series chart, allowing comparison over time for this indicator.

This chart also allows us to jump to other observations using the markers on the chart, and from there, we can view other columns of data.

Sharing Maps and Charts

As with all data on OpenDataCommunities, each page has a permanent URL. Just copy and paste the URL in the address bar of our web-browser to reference the page, or send 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. If there are no other query string variables in the page, prefix this with a "?", otherwise use a "&".


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 OpenDataCommunities: we're working on other ways to share and embed individual charts.

To continue exploring our datasets, return to

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