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Visualizing Council Elections

September 11, 2012 | By | Add a Comment

Recently, we had our Local Government (Council) Elections. Presented with an overwhelming list of candidates I knew nothing about, I endeavoured to make sense of what little information was available. To find the story behind the data..

My hypothesis was as follows. Under the assumption that candidates living far from my small town would not have our local issues top of mind should they get elected, I calculated the distance each candidate lived, let’s call it proximity. I also decided that candidates who were still students (there were several) would not have the necessary experience to be guiding council policy and making informed decisions on local issues ie to be an effective councillor. Then, using Tableau, I prepared the following views of candidates, ranked by proximity to Copa, and colour-coded based on their age (estimated):

Truth be told, most people simply vote ‘above the line’ for one political party or other, but having voted based on the information gleaned through my data visualization, I at least felt virtuous in the knowledge that I’d put a little thought into the process. And learned about the power of data visualization in doing so.

Filed in: Data Visualization

Patrick Spedding

About the Author (Author Profile)

Patrick Spedding is Senior Director of BI R&D for Rocket Software, and IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions. He is also a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Eastside Radio in Sydney, Australia. Prior roles include Director of Product Management for IBM Cognos, Director of Field Marketing for Cognos, Founder of Tableau partner See-Change Solutions, and SAS Solution Manager for BI and Strategy Management. Patrick's qualifications include an MBA degree in Marketing (AIU), Diploma in Management (University of Michigan), BSc (Hons) in Mathematics (Loughborough University, UK), Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (FAIM), and member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). Find Patrick on Google+

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