Liveability Index

Team Name: 
Red Spatial

The Liveability Index is a website focused on informing users about the liveability state of every region in Australia, looking at aspects based on economy, demography and education. It allows the general public to see at a glance the status of areas down to the suburb level right across the country. It’s always interesting to find data about areas near you!
After going through the available datasets, we found that a lot of the data had geospatial information tied to it, especially the ABS statistics. However, there was no one way to view all of this data easily on a map, and navigating between multiple open data sources to try and compare regions was a nightmare. As such, we wanted to create an easy-to-use, user-friendly method of displaying regional and spatial data from sources like the ABS.

The site itself consists of a simple map which uses Leaflet.js as its base. Clicking any region will show a side popout panel, with more information about that specific region along with a few charts and graphs of the regional data. Clicking the little ‘eye’ icon on the panel will allow the panel to expand to fill the screen and show more detailed information.

Every region on the map is calculated with what we call an ‘index’, a number between 0 and 1 essentially based on how good a region is in a specific category: income, economic diversity, business activity – you name it. This index is then applied as a colour to the region. This colour coding of regions makes it very easy for any person to scan through the map and look for good areas. The map also allows you to swap between different index layers instantly, allowing an end-user to compare a region in two different aspects easily – for example, I might find that a region is diverse in its business economy but sorely lacking in the education sector.
We think that this project might be useful to the general public (perhaps for somebody looking for a new place to live) but we also think it might assist community, council and government workers, allowing them to visually identify problem regions within their zones with ease.

The other focus of our project was not only to be end-user friendly, but also developer-friendly; after all, new data is always going to appear every year – it wouldn’t be very useful if it was difficult or tedious to import new data onto the map in order to view new index layers. As such, we made some effort to ensuring that new data could be added with minimal required effort. With a developer-driven code interface and a custom server written entirely from the ground up, adding a new index layer with new data is extremely easy. This future-proofs the website against data changes and new data to be added later.
In future projects, our website and server could be improved in a multitude of ways – firstly, the side panel could be improved to show more information about the region, possibly showing more advanced charts and graphs for the information instead. Furthermore, a searchbox for areas would be a good way to assist in filtering regions for the user. Statistics and index information could potentially be returned through a natural language interface, opening up a path for another possible project on its own.

 

 

 

 

Video Upload: 
Datasets Used: 
ABS National Regional Profiles: http://govhack.abs.gov.au/Index.aspx?themetreeid=1 ASGS Region Boundaries: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/1270.0.55.001July%202011?OpenDocument (for SA2, SA3, SA4 region boundaries)

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