COVID & Demographics in Yorkshire
We've done a lot of work over the past year or so collating and visualising COVID-19 data, especially COVID-19 data at Local Authority level. As a result we were approached by Magpie - a creative behaviour change campaigns agency - who are our neighbours in Munro House.
Magpie had been commissioned by Public Health England to encourage people across Yorkshire and the Humber to get vaccinated and to promote COVID-safe behaviours. To be able to adapt to local needs, changing guidance, and new variants they needed to be able to see geographic trends in COVID rates and vaccination rates and to compare those to demographic data. Given that all the relevant data is spread across a variety of different websites they wanted a bespoke interactive map that they could use themselves but which they could also share with stakeholders.
Regularly visiting a selection of different websites to get the data, extract it, and bring it together is a time-consuming job. That stops you from actually getting on with the important work. We already had experience of compiling cases, deaths, and vaccination data so we already had a good start. For population demographics Magpie were using the excellent Local Health tool created by Public Health England. PHE make it easy to download the data under the Open Government Licence - that made it simple to reuse.
We had a mini innovation/hack day at the end of July where, after a brief from Magpie, we tried out ideas for visualisations.
Susanne and Giles found data about vaccination sites from NHS England and attempted to automate extraction of this dataset. It isn't clear how often it is updated or how complete it is - it had been updated a couple of days before but hasn't been updated in the month since.
Stuart created an MSOA (small area) hex cartogram "heatmap" of the region using the hex layout from the House of Commons Library (with some tweaks). This gives each small area the same visual size on the screen so doesn't hide inner city areas as a geographic map can sometimes do. We added a dropdown box so you could select which demographic data, cases data, or vaccination-related data you wanted to show.
At the end of the day, we came back together with Magpie to discuss what had been done. There was a suggestion to have two side-by-side hex maps so that people could compare things so we added that in the days afterwards. Recently we've added a "correlation plot" underneath the hex maps so that you can look for correlations between the two selected datasets.
As you can see our work is never over! We keep finding new ways to visualise great data even after a project is finished - and this time won't be different. There is still so much to be explored when it comes to COVID-19 data and how it relates to broader societal trends and demographics. So we'll keep digging and if you want to get your hands dirty and join us, or have an idea where to dig next contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.