Monday, 19 August 2013

UK economic dashboard

The Office for National Statistics publishes thousands of long-run economic data series in machine-readable CSV and XML formats. Although the download facility on the ONS website is incredibly useful, it can sometimes take a bit of effort to find the latest data for a given variable, and the site does not yet have a quick way to visualise the data.

With these things in mind, I created the UK Data Explorer dashboard page to provide a quick way to view economic indicators. The page includes ONS's list of over 50 key time series indicators, and it is also possible to search for a variable by name or code from a much wider list. The page provides a link to your customised dashboard, to make it easy to return at a later date and check the progress of indicators. For example, this dashboard shows seven headline indicators on the labour market, GDP and inflation.

The page is still in beta, and there are several features I hope to add in the near future, including the ability to show multiple variables on the same graph and more descriptive variable names and metadata. Please let me know if there are any features that you would find useful.

Some technical details
The site uses a script to check for updates on the ONS website a few minutes after the 9.30 publication each day. The script downloads the CSV file of each new dataset, and places the data and metadata in database tables. The dashboard page uses HTTP requests to PHP scripts to access the data in these tables.

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