01 May Introducing… the WLZ Network Map!
By Bridget Suthersan, Senior Data Analyst
Today, we are delighted to be able to share West London Zone’s ‘Network Map’ for the very first time! We have previously blogged about the development of this project – click here to read about what Networks Maps are and the theory behind them, and here to read about how we built ours.
West London Zone’s Network Map is an interactive, visual representation of our community. Drawing from publicly available data and information given to us by our partners, the network map shows how organisations and relationships working in the West London Zone network link together. More specifically, it shows types of organisations and the nature of the relationships between those organisations. The Network Map, in short, is a visual representation of the connections that exist between social sector organisations, WLZ, and schools in West London (and a little bit beyond!)
We need to caution that not everything is captured. The Network Map focuses on organisations within WLZ’s network and currently doesn’t show individual people who may link groups together through working with them. The strength of the relationships between groups isn’t shown and the network is confined to only four relationships (‘data sharing’; ‘money’; ‘location in common’; and ‘informal’), which may not portray the whole extent of the network.
How to use the network map
The homepage of the Network Map is an overview explaining what the network map is and its use. A few summary statistics are also included – how many relationships are involved in the network, for example. These statistics will automatically update as the original spreadsheet the network map operates from is modified.
The second tab contains the Network Map itself. Since it’s an interactive map, the user is able to pull out each organisation, which will allow the user to tailor the map to their viewing. When an organisation is clicked on, not only is the node highlighted, the relationships that stem out of it are made bold for clearer inspection. Further to this, edges and organisation that are hovered over will show what specific type of relationship/type of organisation it is. A sidebar on the left of the map lets the user filter through either checkboxes or a date slider. An interesting use of the ‘Organisation’ checkbox is that the network map can be displayed without West London Zone’s involvement, thus revealing the many connections that have developed between organisations as a result of West London Zone.
The third tab is a geographical map that shows the location of all the organisations in the network – when a marker is clicked on, the name and type of organisation is displayed.
The WLZ network map will be regularly updated and always available at the following address: https://bsuthersan.shinyapps.io/network/ (Maybe you should bookmark it!) Please note that the Network Map takes a short time to load due to the quantity of data involved.
What does the future hold for the West London Zone map? We hope that over time the network will get larger, as West London Zone progress and expands, thus connecting more groups together. As this happens, the map can easily be added to to reflect any new relationships. The geographical map should also change over time too, with more of the purple markers (target anchors) turning to orange (anchors, e.g. schools/children’s centres) as they build a formal partnership with West London Zone.
We hope that you find the network map informative. If you would like to add to or update any of the information involved, please comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.