Another trip to Africa this month to see a different presentation of data. The Ghana Statistical Service (http://www.statsghana.gov.gh/ ) has a very neat Home page which is spoilt by the ticker tape news line and the inability of the user to be able to scroll through either these messages or the explanations above. The information in the ticker tape could be easily assimilated into the section at the bottom of the central section or into a small Key figures area.
Looking around the Home page, it is well organised: basic statistics split into four areas, four databases etc. appearing at the top of the left-hand column. In the right-hand column the heading is recent events but the reality is recent publications. I examined the first – Time Use Survey of 2009 (published in 2012): the first set of tables was well-presented with right-justified data but this was not maintained throughout with some tables having data columns centre-aligned. The population pyramid (Figure 1.1) had neither a scale nor age bands shown; the pie chart was in three dimensions – exaggerating the one area mainly to the front of the pie and other charts tried to incorporate the tables of data (inconsistently presented).
The latest CPI figure was on the ticker tape. For the population figure, I accessed the statistical section for social and demographic statistics. It was instantly obvious that this next level of themes provided the right area (Population). This link led to a series of reports on the Census and I followed the one giving age and area data. For some reason the data table was given in PDF format but was only a table filling one screen – but I did find the number required.
Within the statistical section for social and demographic statistics, the bottom link was to Ghanainfo – a Data Wizard linked to a collection of many statistics. I also tried this to find the population. The first impression was that many statistics were available, the index spanning many pages. I entered ‘population’ in the search box and had around 200 options! Looking through these I eventually found the link to the basic population numbers. Only the total population figure was given for the latest census – to two decimal places as all the other data in the table! The Data Wizard also provides a charting function – which is helpful for a quick chart: however, the scale on the population one I tried did not have any thousands separators. From the gallery of previously produced and saved table sand charts, it is obvious that this facility has not yet been fully developed and needs to be monitored having bad examples removed.
Another database is the CountrySTAT, for food and agriculture statistics: the system was not working on the day of the visit. Onto the National Data Archive, a survey depository and has searchable metadata and information on the access to the raw data from the surveys. The Statbase link was not working and the IMIS link gave a page noting it was a service in development. So much work is being undertaken to allow access to data.
The press releases, linked from the bottom of the central column, are all in PDF format. Some of the numbers in them need attention, e.g. the nominal GDP was shown as GH¢ 24,990.96 million: it is certain that the ‘.96’ is not needed and I would query whether this should be shown as GH¢ 25.0 billion in the context.
It is clear that this site is in development and heading in the right way. Minor tweaking and some attention to presentation will assist in the final outcome.
This review was undertaken by Ed Swires-Hennessy using Internet Explorer version 11.0 on 30 January 2014 at 10.00 hrs. GMT using a 60 Mb link to the Internet on an Intel Core i3-2100 3.1 GHz machine.
This and reviews since January 2009 are published in the blog; earlier reviews are published to my website, http://www.surfingwithed.org.uk