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Streamlining our Data Visualisation Tools to Help Clients

Updated: May 22

A picture might not always be worth a thousand words, but in the realm of large data sets, its value is undeniable. Effective data visualisation brings numerous advantages. According to Deloitte, five key benefits are:

Revealing key insights – Large amounts of data can be overwhelming, but good data visualisation ensures critical insights are easily visible for everyone in the organisation. 

  • Spotting trends and patterns – Clear visualisations help identify relationships and patterns in the data, unlocking valuable insights. 

  • Simplification and clarity – Good visualisation eliminates unnecessary details, making information straightforward and easy to understand.

  • Engagement through design – Attractive, well-designed visuals captivate users, enhancing readability.  

Illustrating  complex relationships – For intricate data relationships, beyond simple line graphs or bar charts, interactive and advanced mapping techniques offer clearer understanding.

At EPCON, we’ve recently enhanced our dashboard and geoportal, designed for visualising spatial data, to boost both performance and user-friendliness. Our constraints were clear: because many of our partners operate in areas where internet connectivity is not always reliable, it was essential to ensure that our data visualisations could be easily accessed in low-bandwidth situations.

As always, a key requirement was to incorporate open-source components to continue delivering a sustainable environment and to enable a collaborative and accessible platform across the diverse regions.  Our first launch was in Nigeria, and our plan is to migrate our new dashboards and geoportal solution of all other countries, including Pakistan, South Africa and the Philippines.

So what makes our solution stand out?

Choosing Apache Superset: a compelling choice

We decided to use Apache Superset, an open-source software application, for our data exploration and visualisation dashboard. Originating from a hackathon project by an Airbnb employee, Superset stands out for its impressive capability to manage large scale data. This is very beneficial for many of partners who are trying to tease out relationships between infectious disease hotspots and large sets of contextual data. 

In addition, this application offers powerful and appealing benefits for our users:

  • User-friendly design: Its intuitive interface works for both technical and non-technical users, allowing the creation of dashboards and charts without coding knowledge. SQL-savvy users can, however, leverage their skills for complex queries. 

  • Diverse visualisation options: Data can be viewed in multiple ways, including bar charts, line graphs, cascades (for community-level insights, such as the number of people screened or diagnosed, as well as treatment outcomes). Custom visualisations for specific needs are also possible. 

  • Connects to various data sources: The platform’s compatibility with various SQL-based data sources simplifies the process of analysing vital data in real time, such as health screening outcomes.  

  • Enhanced security features: With granular access control, administrators can manage roles, permissions and user access, ensuring data remains secure and accessible only to authorised individuals. 

Integrating GeoServer and Leaflet: an excellent mapping solution

For our interactive map interfaces, our choice of GeoServer and Leaflet provides a seamless and powerful mapping solution.  GeoServer excels in publishing data from any major spatial data source, using open standards. This ensures our interactive maps can draw on a wide array of spatial data, making them incredibly versatile for various applications. 

Leaflet, an open source JavaScript library for web mapping applications, complements GeoServer. Impressively lightweight, at only 42 KB of JavaScript, Leaflet is great for building interactive maps without burdening a site’s load time. 

Looking at our complete platform architecture, the addition of GeoServer and Leaflet form a formidable duo. This integration enables our clients to benefit from advanced map functionalities and access to diverse data sources. Our clients are able to present and analyse spatial data more effectively and efficiently. 

To conclude, effective data visualisation, especially of large data sets, is vital for our regional  partners in order to identify patterns and locate infectious disease hotspots. Through our enhanced dashboard and geoportal, adding Apache Superset, GeoServer and Leaflet, we provide a robust, user-friendly solution that caters to the needs of our partners.


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