Discussing Open Energy Data and Data Visualizations with Canadians

Despite an abundance of data and prevalent open data initiatives from democratic governments, there are many unknowns about how to make open data truly accessible, engaging, and empowering to the general public. We present results from an interview study with 19 Canadians from diverse demographic and occupational backgrounds on their experiences, attitudes, and barriers regarding open government data and visualizations of open data, specifically in the energy domain. We observe among participants three categories of receptiveness to taking in new information on the topic of energy: Data-Interpretation-Receptive (DI-R), Interpretation-Receptive (I-R), and Data-Interpretation-Avoidant (DI-A). For each category, we unpack the barriers, values, and needs of participants, while identifying opportunities for open data and visualizations of open data to better inform, engage, and empower diverse members of the public. Our findings suggest a need for open data and open data visualizations for the public to move beyond a “one-size-fits-all” approach by considering the needs of data-interpretation-avoidant, interpretation-receptive, and data-interpretation-receptive as a step towards broadening the accessibly of open data.
open data, data visualization, information visualization, interview study, qualitative study
He, H. A., Walny, J., Thoma, S., Willett, W. J., & Carpendale, S. (2019). Discussing Open Energy Data and Data Visualizations with Canadians. University of Calgary, Faculty of Science, Department of Computer Science, Calgary, AB. 1-61.