Woo look, a google maps mash-up! Look, it shows us, er, well quite a lot of dots on a map. But look they’re all different colours! So? Well, you know, it’s really neat to put different coloured dots on a map, especially as google makes it so easy when you just upload a spreadsheet containing some postcodes or geo-references to a ‘google fusion table’ and click ‘visualise’.
OK, so this rant was inspired by an article in today’s Grauniad data blog publishing the carbon emissions of every public building in England and Wales: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/datablog/interactive/2011/mar/07/carbon-emissions-public-buildings-map . I normally like quite a lot of the stuff they publish in the data blog, but this was just pretty lazy and sullies the good reputation of geography somewhat. A bunch of dots on a map, even if they are coloured in, doesn’t really tell us very much.
The real shame was that there was some interesting data underlying the lazy mapping that went on. Not only were total CO2 emissions per building, per year published, but so were the total floor areas of these buildings, along with various heat/electricity uses, per metre sq and some benchmarks which are typical for buildings of a certain size. This gives anyone with the data the opportunity to compare efficiencies across England and Wales – say for Local Authorities (given that these data are for public buildings…)
Anyway, just as a sampler for something a little more interesting here are the average CO2 emissions per square metre of public building, across local authority districts in England and Wales. It would of course be even more interesting to compare these with the benchmarks to see which local authorities fall above or below what would be expected, but there are only so many hours in the day and proper work beckons…