By Aaron Schiff 08/04/2016

Over the past few months I’ve had a lot of fun working with Figure.NZ on some really exciting projects.

There’s a brilliant new feature called Business Figures. By answering a couple of questions, you can instantly see relevant data for all kinds of businesses in New Zealand. The team put a lot of hard work into this and I think it’s amazing.

Until now, business data was not very easy to get — it’s spread across a bunch of sources, and a lot of it is wrapped up in the somewhat cryptic ANZSIC system for classifying businesses. One of the really clever things that Business Figures does is make it easy to find data in ANZSIC categories, even if you have no idea what ANZSIC means.

I helped to make some interactive data maps that are now available on Figure.NZ and in Business Figures. So far we have data from the Census and business demographics datasets. For example, here is business growth in Auckland:

(click the link above to explore this as an interactive map on the Figure.NZ site)

We worked hard on the design of the maps to present the data together with local context like roads and rivers, but not so much context that the data gets overwhelmed. I’m proud of how the maps turned out, thanks especially to the deft touches of Nat Dudley and Chris McDowall. Nat spent a lot of time to choose colours for the maps that are legible by anyone with any of eight different types of colour-blindness.

Another new feature is that you can now easily save a collection of your favourite data for your reference or to share with others. For example: my favourites.

All these things are in preview mode now until they are officially launched, so go check them out, and please give feedback so we can make them better.

ASB and Statistics New Zealand supported the development of these features — thank you both so much! You’ve made great things happen!