The idea is simple, the map is stylish and easy to read, and the code is open source – welcome to skoleporten, the interactive map of Norwegian school results for junior schools (5th grade) and secondary schools (8th grade), produced by Evan Westvang, one of the programmers at Origo.no. More details on the Origo blog in Norwegian here. Sizes of squares represents size of schools, and colour represents how well they’re doing.
So what’s the significance of this for Ed Miliband and Labour (hence the title of the blog post)?
As government cuts start to bite Labour is going to be overloaded by stats – reductions in the number of police, inadequate numbers of teachers recruited etc. Some of these stats will be official numbers, others could be crowd-sourced impressions. Yet the danger is that Labour’s front bench team just spews out these numbers, into the never ending back and forth of the Westminster political game.
But how does it impact me as a citizen? My police station, the school down the road, the school across the borough that happens to be in a Tory controlled ward? For this Labour needs good and simple web tools – similar in style to skoleporten – to explain what’s happening, to make the reality of the cuts clear for everyone to understand. It’s not as if the data is not available – see the BBC’s school results search for example – but visualisation of the data is vital too.