Mapping Health Data: GP Waiting Times

The health sector produces vast quantities of data, much of which is unfortunately underused or misused as this Guardian article reports. This is all the more worrying because health is surely one of the areas where big data — if it used in the right ways — can have the greatest impact on people’s lives.

Here in the UK, the NHS is making a lot of data available through its Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSIC) and its Indicators Portal. This is undoubtedly a step in the right direction but these figures and spreadsheets are often hard to interpret.

We had a go at making more sense of some of that valuable data by creating an interactive data visualization of GP appointment waiting times in London. Not only does it make that data easy to interpret, you can also use it to see at which GP in your area your are the least likely to wait for a long time before an appointment. We were amazed by the large differences between practices sometimes very close together. Here is a preview of what it looks like:

Check it out here, and let us know what you think on Twitter (@Mapsdata), or via email.

Release notes – V3.0

We’re pleased to announce a great update to the Mapsdata platform.

V2.0 was not even two months old but that wasn’t going to stop us from innovating and improving Mapsdata. Combining your feedback with the team’s ideas, we’ve added new features and streamlined everything from access to the app to design and navigation.

One big change for new users is that there is now no need to register and login before you get to try Mapsdata, so you can literally start creating your own data visualization in seconds. Then, signing up for an account will allow you to save your data and your maps to access them later from anywhere.

Thanks to our new design and freshened-up navigation, everything is clearer and easier to do, letting you focus on creating great data visualizations.

As usual, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Send us your feedback via email or on twitter.

Visualize data in seconds

We realize our users are always busy so we decided to offer the opportunity to use the Mapsdata platform without login, saving you a few precious seconds.

From the Mapsdata homepage, clicking the Try Now button will take you straight to the platform and display an example of a data visualization. You can customize it and explore it but, more importantly, you can also import your own data and start visualizing it straight away.

You can still import your data by browsing for it, but we’ve added a drag-and-drop option to make the process even quicker.

Try now

A new, cleaner, clearer, more intuitive interface

Keeping the left-hand navigation we introduced with Mapsdata V2.0, we switched to icon-based menus.

Not only do these icons make it easier and quicker to find what you’re looking for, they also free up valuable screen space to let you display more of your data visualization.

Thanks to a new full-screen button in the top-right corner, all the menus disappear and your data visualization fills your entire browser window. To explore your map in an optimal way, we’d recommend going even further by making your browser window itself full-screen.

icon menu screenshot v3

We reworked the View menu the most: we wanted to give you even more features to customize your data visualizations but while keeping the design clean and easy to use.

Start by choosing from the four different types of visualizations — bubble map, heat map, clusters or markers — by clicking on the corresponding icon.

The rest of the menu adjusts dynamically according to the type of visualization chosen in order to give you complete control over the full range of relevant features.

In a marker-based map, for example, you’ll be able to select from 5 different types of markers, each available in 10 different colors and 5 different sizes. With even an option to adjust the opacity, you have all the tools to make sure your data visualization looks just right.

menu marker full screen shot v3

Of course, the great features from our previous updates of Mapsdata are still there.

With 8 different ways to geocode your data, you’ll be able to create great visualizations no matter whether you’re using latitude and longitude, country names or codes, UTM, MGRS or BNG coordinates, US ZIP codes or states, or UK postcodes. You can find more detail on these geocoding formats, learn how to use them and download samples by clicking here.

Among many other features, HTML embedding is one of our favorites as well, allowing you to display interactive data visualizations on your website or blog and share them with your audience.

Stay in touch

We’re always open to feedback on how we can improve our application and will gladly read your comments or engage with you directly. Please email us or stay in touch via Twitter:

Keep updated on twitter

A preview of what it’s capable of

Here is an interactive cluster map showing the earthquakes that have taken place in the week up to February 12th. You can read more about this visualization and how we created it by clicking here.

This earthquake data is preloaded into the Mapsdata app, so you can explore the four different ways we have mapped it. Perhaps you’ll get inspired to start creating your own data visualizations.

Try now