The amount of open data is growing worldwide, and the same goes for Belgium. To promote a good use of such data, Statbel developed a user-friendly tool to consult this kind of information. Their municipality tool contains interactive dashboards in which researchers, policy makers, but also the average citizen can get a clear overview of the most important statistics and trends in their municipality.
Which data is included in the tool? Well, it contains dashboards that provide insight into various economic and demographic topics, such as:
Number of inhabitants and evolutions in population
By means of interactive graphs, you can understand in the blink of an eye how your municipality is evolving in these different domains. What’s more, you can easily compare 2 municipalities with each other.
Making open data accessible for a wide public
Now, how did the idea to create this tool originate at Statbel? Well, they noticed a broader interest to gain more insights into this kind of data, as spokeswoman Wendy Schelfaut explains:
“The past couple of years, local policy makers such as mayors and councillors have showed more and more interest in these kind of statistics on their municipality. This is why we decided to put our efforts into a much better user-friendliness.”
This brings us to the philosophy behind the project. As the official Belgian statistics bureau, Statbel wants to share all information and datasets in the easiest way possible. And not only with researchers and policy makers. Also towards the larger public, they want to make open data accessible and easy to interpret.
“Our new website, launched at the beginning of 2018, was a step in the right direction. In the meantime, we continued on the same path. We developed a tool that clusters all our data in one place, on individual municipality level. In that way, everyone has direct access to all crucial information about their municipality.”
The strength of the municipality tool is a combination of visual attractiveness, interactivity and centralization. Before, open data were already downloadable via the website for anyone. But today, Statbel offers a ready-to-use tool where everything is gathered in 1 place:
“Users no longer need to download, combine and analyse the different datasets theirselves. They can actively start using the data in our tool. Or they can even download & share ready-made charts if needed.”
Integration of Cumul.io in Statbel’s municipality tool
The ease of use was one of the biggest priorities for Statbel in the development process of their new tool. Users of such tools are typically on the business side; they aren’t data scientists or developers. They look at the data from a strategic point of view. For them, it needs to be as fast & easy as possible to interpret the data, and gain actionable insights out of it.
To guarantee a visual experience, Statbel worked together with Cumul.io as a software vendor for the dashboards. Statbel integrated Cumul.io as an analytical layer in their own municipality tool. This choice caused a number of benefits, thus explains Statbel’s spokeswoman:
“The technical integration of Cumul.io dashboards ran smoothly. We received excellent guidance from their support team. In addition, it’s a huge benefit for us that you don’t need extensive technical knowledge or support to quickly make the dashboards look stunning.”
Thanks to the integration, Statbel is able to fully manage & update the dashboards on their own. Whenever they receive feedback from users, it’s easy to make modifications theirselves. Because they don’t need interference from a technical colleague, this can happen very fast.
Another important advantage for Statbel was the flexibility of the Cumul.io platform. Because it’s so flexible, Statbel could ensure that the dashboards have exactly the same styling and branding as the rest of their municipality tool and website. Colors and logo’s can be changed easily. Users won’t even notice that the dashboards are provided by a different platform, which makes the experience even more seamless.
A fast integration, with high-quality dashboards
With the Belgian elections coming up in October, it was key for Statbel to not lose any valuable time while building the tool. So, Statbel required a fast but qualitative way to offer the data in visual dashboards. In that way, the municipality tool could be of direct use for policy makers during their preparation of the elections. The Cumul.io integration would ensure high-quality dashboards, and at the same time it would save them countless hours of time:
No custom development needed to develop the analytics and dashboards themselves
The Cumul.io integration requires less than 100 lines of code, which ensures a limited impact on the technical team of Statbel
Thanks to an advanced filtering mechanism, Statbel only had to build 1 dashboard that automatically filters out the right data for the municipality that is being searched for. In that way, they won’t lose time on building a separate dashboard for each municipality.
So, what would have easily taken years to develop in-house, was now fully live and ready to use in only a couple of months. Would you like to know more about our platform and the possibilities of an integration? Feel free to contact us, and we’d love to discuss a solution that fits your needs.