Exploring data from CKAN

  • Mark Wainwright
  • 16 May 2012
CKAN's Recline data previewing tool has acquired a host of powerful new features, many of them made possible by the new version of CKAN's DataStore.

Viewing tabular data

Table view

If structured data is uploaded or linked to CKAN as a .csv or Excel table, the DataStore loads it into a database, allowing Recline to give a powerful range of ways to view and process the data. Initially it is displayed as a table. The user can sort the data on particular columns, filter or facet by values, or hide columns entirely. [IMG: Table view]

Graphing data

Recline can also show data on a graph, allowing you to choose the variables on the axes. If they exist in the same spreadsheet, you can also graph multiple variables on the y-axis. [IMG: Graph view] Depending on the data, a bar chart may be more useful: [IMG: Bar chart]

Mapping data

If the table has columns that Recline recognises as latitude and longitude, it can also show you the data points on a map, with mapping data from OpenStreetMap. The map can be panned (dragged) and zoomed, and selecting a data point displays all the field values for that point. [IMG: map view]

Embedded views

Every graph or map view has an 'Embed' button, enabling it to be included as a link in an external web page such as a blog. The embedded view will remember the variables, ranges, scale etc - so it will display just as you viewed it from CKAN.

Image data

CKAN's previewing is not restricted to tabular data. For example, if a resource is a web page, it will preview the page. A new feature is the ability to preview image files. [IMG: map view] All the new functionality is included in the recent CKAN 1.7 release. It's also live on the DataHub, so feel free to have a play. As usual, requests and suggestions for improvements can be sent to the CKAN discussion e-mail list.