A digital urban data gallery for the GCR

  • Chris Wray
  • Date of publication: 13 October 2015

GCRO has a range of visualisation outputs including vignettes and map of the months that visualise key trends in the Gauteng City-Region (GCR). These static visualisations are great, but there has been an increasing emphasis on the development of interactive applications that allow the user to explore and interact with the data. As part of the new GCRO website development, an urban data gallery has been created that offers a single view of GCRO’s interactive applications, presenting a digital overview of the GCR. Let’s explore what is available.

The Quality of Life (QoL) survey viewer provides online access to GCRO’s QoL survey datasets. The viewer offers users the choice of a single or multiple variable report. Single variable reports produce a table and graph once a variable is selected, whereas multiple reports provide the functionality to select an indicator variable and crosstab it by selected list of demographic variables. The reports are generated at a Gauteng or municipal level.

The GCRO Barometer depicts developmental progress in the GCR in a single interactive graphic, using 38 indicators across 10 key sectors. It serves as a tracking and diagnostic tool to inform policy makers and the public on where development progress is being made, and areas of concern. The Barometer shows progress against three base years (2002, 2007 and 2011) in the last year for which data could be collected across all indicators, 2012.

The 2011 and 2013 State of the GCR Review applications offers image- and map-rich representations of the considerable datasets and information that GCRO has collected and produced, providing an overview of the key dynamics and trends affecting the economy, society, governance and environment. The State of the GCR Review is intended as both an information base and a platform for debate for all stakeholders in the region – government, business, academics and residents – around how to build on the region’s advantages and address its challenges, including rapid urbanisation and migration, poverty, and unequal distribution of wealth.

The original GIS mapping viewer was launched in 2010 providing online access to spatial data across the GCR. However, with rapidly evolving technology soon became outdated and was not accessible on new platforms and mobile devices. A completely redeveloped next generational (HTML/JS) GIS viewer is now available from August and accessible on all the major browsers and devices. The latest GIS viewer also features a number of new datasets arranged in 6 themes and new tools.

In 2014, GCRO together with Esri South Africa embarked on a project to create a GCR presence on the internationally renowned Esri Urban Observatory website through the inclusion of various GCR cities. The Urban Observatory website was introduced in 2013 as an online web mapping application that enables the benchmarking and comparison of different world cities and city-regions on subjects such as demographics and population density, infrastructure, land use, transportation and live data such as traffic congestion. Johannesburg was part of the original set of cities and so GCRO arranged for the metropolitan municipalities of Ekurhuleni and Tshwane to be loaded onto the Urban Observatory website. The addition of the main GCR cities to the website not only allows a comparison of the GCR metropolitan municipalities, but benchmarking against the wide selection of international cities, placing the GCR on an international stage.

Other applications on the urban data gallery include an image gallery with a collection of images revealing the different aspects of the multi-faceted ‘personality’ of the GCR and deepening our understanding of the complexity of this space; and a selection of interactive visualisations ranging from dynamic graphs and multi-dimensional analyses of transport, comparing 1975 trends with present day travel modes, times and patterns, to Wits digital arts students interpretations of GCRO’s datasets.

GCRO has big plans to continue to expand the urban data gallery as part of the analytics, cartographies and visualisation research theme, starting with the imminent release of the ward profile viewer. The idea behind this application is to provide a spatial view of key issues down to ward-level, assisting both local and provincial government with identifying local areas for targeted interventions. Watch this space!

Click here to access the urban data gallery, or visit gcro.ac.za/data-gallery/overview/




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