DINAcon Awards Nominee

Cost of Living Across Europe

Project Start: 01. Oktober 2018

Project Category: #4 Open Data

Always digging through interesting datasets, we came across a dauntingly detailed table based on the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP). The HICP attempts to make sense of the variation of prices and earnings within the European Union. The prices of roughly 300,000 products are monitored intensively, to understand the real cost of rice in Bulgaria, shoes in Luxembourg or a taxi ride in Sweden.

We set out with pen and paper, and sketched until a new diagram type emerged. In a way, it is a hybrid of a polar area chart and a pie chart, focusing on deviation from a group mean. We call it a radial mean deviation diagram. With this diagram type, we can show the price for each category with the radial distance from the mean, as well as the weighting of that category with the central angle. Slices pointing inward correspond to a below-average index value, and those pointing outward represent an above-average, or ‘expensive’, index value.

We used an unusual but fruitful workflow, generating the SVG structure of the diagrams in JavaScript with D3, before exporting to Adobe Illustrator. Where code is better, we let D3 do the work, where the human touch is necessary, we took the job back.

Project Business Case

Back in 2018 we were thrilled to help the European Union show the unknown and hidden data. We found the harmonised price index and were existed about its complexity. Our decision was to find a new diagram type in order to show and make the abstract values comparable. The complete description of the open source approach you can find in our article on medium.com > https://medium.com/@YAAY/a-diagram-type-for-a-niche-data-use-case-56114a5e8abf

Project Importance

We wanted to show the unbalance arising from different consumer prices in Europe. There are already some discussions with different economists arising in this field. It would be an interesting next step to bring this discussion to a global level with a harmonised global consumption basket. The world is out of balance and we need to show the differences.

Project Impact

If the project stops? We will continue visualising also other critical topics and parameters. The topic of refugees and also of Swiss naturalisation has be also done to create awareness. Data Storytelling is the way to communicate to a wide audience based on the facts given by open data.

Project Facts

License: CC-BY-*

Maturity: We have a basic proof of concept working

Number of Contributors: 4