A few months ago, at SocialCops we had mined through data about 1.4 million schools in India to build a one stop Right to Education dashboard to help decision makers understand how to improve quality of education in their districts and constituencies.
A few weeks later, I happened to meet a district collector & an MP. In the passing conversation, I showed them the dashboard. They immediately wanted to see their districts performance. On seeing the indicators, one of them remarked “It seems like you know more about our district than we do.” I was wowed by the effect a simple visualization of data using maps and colours can have on decision makers. All we had done was take government data, visualize it and demonstrate it to the government. And now the govt. could make sense of that data!
The ability to visualize data to make sense of it gave us an unusual power – to be able to push the needle & drive large scale decisions in the world. But with great power, comes great responsibility.
At SocialCops, we’ve always believed in democratising data. We believe that there are many good people who can understand data today but don’t understand technology and design. We wanted to empower these people to build visualizations that can drive more decisions than we can ever do alone at SocialCops.
Instagram is one of the few products in the world that was able to take photo editing to the masses. By taking away the choice in photo editing, it allowed the most terrible of photographers (like me) to choose from a set of preset templates that would almost surely make my photos look good. We wanted to allow anybody to represent data.
SocialCops Viz has been built as a tool that can allow anybody to make beautiful maps. Why Maps? Because maps are one of the easiest to understand representations of data but yet one of the hardest to build. Today, you can build India, US, Hungary, Mexico, Italy, Belgium & Brazil State Maps on the platform.
Simply upload your data, choose a template (with fixed background & fonts), change legend colors & click publish. Play around with the positioning of the map, the colours & the headings. Once you click publish – you can download the image file, tweet out the map or simply pick up the embed code & embed it onto your blog or website.
Over the course of the next few months – we will be enriching our templates with district maps & boundaries, steam graphs, charts & graphs. Use the feedback button on the product to tell us what kind of visualisations you want first!
What are you waiting for?
Start creating visualizations now!