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Help: Working with Maps and Charts

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Options for visualising data

This is primarily a reference site: it provides access to a large collection of statistical data, allowing you to view, download or query data in a variety of ways. There are so many different ways of visualising data, according to choice of data and purpose, that we can't attempt to meet all needs. However to help illustrate the data and how it varies, the site provides a selection of simple data visualisations.

Choropleth/Thematic Maps

Any column in a table of data can be viewed on a map. Click on the column header in a table and choose the 'Visualise this column' option. That shows the data superimposed on a map, with areas coloured according to their value. Use the drop-down list below the map to select which kind of area you would like to view.

The colour bands are chosen automatically so that there is approximately the same number of data points in each colour band. That means that the range of values assigned to each colour may not always be the same size: look at the map key to see the details.

You can pan and zoom the map in the same way as other typical web maps. Hover over or click on an area to see the details about it: the name (and official code) of the area as well as the value of the chosen variable.

For smaller areas, there are sometimes many of them. So for those smaller options of area type, there is a limit on how far out you can zoom. In those cases, we provide a list of recognisable areas which lets you choose where to centre the map.

Time series and Bar charts

The other main visualisations appear on individual observation pages (which you can navigate to from a table on a dataset page). Those illustrate how the selected data point compares with other directly related data points. There is a line chart showing a time series of the data, with the selected data point highlighted. You can click on other data points to navigate to those neighbouring observations. There is also a series of bar charts showing how the chosen data point compares with other possible values of each of its statistical dimensions.

Finally, recall that it is easy to download a selection of data, either by using the download link from a table view of a dataset, or by using the data cart to select data of interest, or by using the API. That makes it easy to get the data into other tools for making your own visualisations, whether that is spreadsheet software or more sophisticated visualisation or analysis packages.


Most pages in this site have an API tab which includes contextual details of how to access the data programmatically. The API tab on the Getting Started help page describes some overarching principles.