NSW Parliamentary Research Service

A bespoke solution for accessible data.

Establishing the requirements

The NSW Parliamentary Research Service (the Research Service) is an independent organisation that produces research for members of the NSW Parliament (MPs). Its work assists MPs by providing impartial and timely commentary, analysis and statistical information on important legislation and major NSW policy issues. The research publications are tailored to be informative and accessible to the public. A defining feature of the work it does is the breadth of topics covered in research outputs, each needing to be customised to meet the information needs of MPs.

We needed an application that would let us customise the visualisation in a way that made it as useful and accessible as possible for the members. 

Daniel Montoya, NSW Parliamentary Research Service. 

Visualising complex datasets.

Daniel Montoya is a senior research officer at the Research Service who has been leading its project on producing research products that use data visualisation technologies. We spoke with him about how the NGIS team has helped the Research Service create a customised mapping solution to visualise key datasets in a more comprehensible and appealing manner. 

The biggest data visualisation challenge faced by the Research Service was moving to provide comprehensible data quickly, meeting the changing needs of audiences. Having a background in geography, Daniel knew that maps have the capability to visualise complex datasets in a digestible way. Armed with the knowledge that the Research Service needs to regularly provide MPs with the data they require, Daniel knew a map would be the solution.  

NGIS was selected by the Research Service as its preferred partner through a request for proposal (RFP) process. A leading technology partner, NGIS helped the Research Service build a customised solution for their specific requirements using CARTO. 

To provide MPs with data that is both useful and timely was the most important requirement of the map. The idea wasn’t simple, with variation and customisation a consistent challenge, the Research Service knew it needed a tailored and user-friendly solution.

A customisable template

NGIS’ Senior Software Engineer, Clinton Kimsing was able to deliver the Research Service a bespoke solution to make the data more accessible. After discussions with Daniel about the Research Service’s project requirements, Clinton created a template that would enable rapid production and deployment of maps in a matter of weeks. Furthermore, he trained Research Service staff on how to work with the different components of the template; ensuring elements like the legend and layers could be fit for purpose.

NGIS provided simple, user-friendly features for the solution, allowing employees to build by requirement and create maps that are accessible for consumption by MPs and the NSW public. Other capabilities included: custom search data, custom filters, customised legends, multiple layers and layer popups, social media links and configurable text descriptions.

Improved efficiency and accessibility.

The map template is firmly embedded within operations at the Research Service, enabling employees to publish new and insightful data regularly. Recently, it published a map that illustrates the number of people receiving Youth Allowance and JobSeeker payments across NSW by State electorate.

Of the solution, Daniel reported that he was pleased to have a customisable template on hand for rolling out data in a timely fashion. In the future, the Research Service plans to use the template to publish a number of datasets on current political issues for public consumption.
We wanted to be able to build a map that made it easy for the user...I think it's hit a sweet spot, so to speak, in terms of looking really professional while also meeting our time and technical capability restrictions.

Daniel Montoya, NSW Parliamentary Research Service.