A tour around the Estate….

A bit of background…

This blog post comes straight off the back of a well-attended and thoroughly enjoyable HETUG (Higher Education Tableau User Group) Conference this week held at the University of Nottingham, at which Dave and I were lucky enough to present our wares.

Dave gave a fantastic presentation of his work on an approach to a ‘Matrix of Metrics’ – a topic whereby the key is in the ladders!!! He discussed how through engagement in data he has embedded targets and solid awareness of sector performance through clear and informative dashboards.

Myself, I wanted to demonstrate first and foremost the wealth and quality of information held by HESA accessible to HE providers through the HEDIPlus service. The HEIDIPlus service is a resource which enables a much-needed access to benchmarking data at provider level on many and varied HE topics – an enabler for providers to set appropriate targets for continued improvement in their strategic goals.

A key thread to my presentation was to highlight the flexibility Tableau (as a data visualisation tool) offers for enabling creative approaches to gaining engagement from non-data-savvy users and therefore facilitating the sharing of insights to a wider audience. My approach floated the notion of developing data awareness and building a data driven decision making culture through more infographic style visual dashboards.

And so, to this month’s post..

In this month’s post we celebrate a few nuggets from my explorations into, for many, the under explored HESA Estates Management Record (EMR) data set. What a treasure trove of figures this is, calling out for a bit of #VisualisingHE attention!

The freely available data broadly includes information about grounds and buildings, water and energy usage, waste management, transport and other environmental measures.

Within these broad areas hide some 228, YES, that’s 228 measures of estates related loveliness! In this post we have taken a few measures that caught the eye, and have given them a #VisualisingHE makeover.

First up is an interactive viz which presents a visual of the TOP30 providers in England boasting the highest number of buildings on their estate. This viz was inspired by Simon Beaumont after seeing something he knocked up for a #MakeoverMonday viz some months ago [Wk22 – world most expensive prime property], whereby he visualised the property as a city skyline. After stumbling over this no. buildings stat I thought I would apply a similar visual to this Estates dataset as a potentially approachable way to contextualise the volume of buildings a provider is maintaining on their estates.

In this viz each bar line denotes a provider and the height of the bar denotes the number of buildings a provider has. This viz simply uses a dual axis chart: one a simple bar chart and the other –  a custom shape to give the ‘buildings’ a top. A darker colour = more buildings.

Which Providers boast the highest number of buildings..

No. Buildings[Interactive Viz]

Next to peek my interest was the desire to understand the size of the estates providers manage. The visualisation below attempts to provide visual cue to area, by using a tree map chart type to express the area.

The top chart shows the sum of area in hectares by UK region, the one below displays the total site area by provider. You can click each region in the top chart and an action will filter the provider chart to provide an overview of the distribution of estate by provider in the selected region.

Total site area…

total site area

[Interactive Viz]

The viz below is the viz I used in my presentation at the #HETUG. This viz focuses on the total water consumption used in 2016/17 – overall and by provider. I have chosen to create this viz because the environment is a very topical issue and water consumption plays a significant part in the impact on the environment. I wanted to express and try to contextualise the seemingly vast consumption of water the UK HE sector consumes in a potentially engaging infographic.

Water Consumption…

Water consumption_Coffetable[Interactive Viz]

In the spirit of encouraging the ‘green’ ethos I thought I would wheel in a cheeky viz of the number of cycle spaces UK providers have installed on their campuses/estates to facilitate safe parking and encourage green and healthy commuting for both their staff and student bodies. The viz below highlights the TOP10 providers provision.

Build the ‘Cycle’ spaces & they will come…

no of cycle spaces

[Interactive Viz]

And finally for this months blog we focus on a key by-product of all the amazing stuff HE providers do in their cycle and that is waste mass! Question is what do we do with it all?

Tonnes of waste mass by type…

As part of Cole Knaflic’s monthly #SWDchallenge (June) she challenged the community to explore the use of slope charts (SWD’s June blog). For this I pulled together a viz on the UK HE’s total waste mass in tonnes by type between 2015/16 and 2016/17.

UK HE Waste mass by type

[Interactive Viz]

Let me know whether these visualisations encourage you to take a closer look at the data available on how UK HE providers manage their estate.

Many thanks for reading!

Adam and the #VisualisingHE Team


Provision of cycle spaces – HESA Estates Management Record

Having spotted the cycle spaces tab on the HESA Estates Management Record I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a go at visualising this comparatively simple data set.

The intial question

Q1 – How do providers stack up in the provision of cycle spaces?

TOP10 HE Cycles spaces
TOP10 HE Cycles spaces

This initial viz doesn’t have much by way of interactivity, it’s an info-graphic to introduce the user to the topic and hopefully pull the viewer into the subject in question, a term i’m coining #coffeetableviz.

This TOP10 HE Cycle spaces viz also has a secondary tab (not many people publish a second tab in a tableau publisphere, and that’s because……. no one really looks at the second tab! (The ‘why’ is probably best left for a different post) however go on take a peek..!

For me this headline visual falls a little short, simply ranking an institution based on the absolute volume may be misleading, and may just favor the larger universities, or those in particular regions that are naturally more likely cycle due to locale factors. So to address this I combined the staff and student fte data provided in Estates management record with the cycle space data. Cue Q2…

Q2 – What is the total number of spaces as a ratio of the population at a provider?

FTE per cycle space
FTE per cycle space

Anything else?

It would seem a shame if i didn’t combine this cycle space viz with my first post focusing on method of commute, therefore my Q3 evolved to be something like this:

Q3 – What is the realistic likelihood of me getting a cycle space if I worked or studied at provider ‘X’…….

Take an explore of the exploratory viz below for insight into higher education providers; provision, volume and likelihood of grabbing one of the prized cycle spaces. Thus, avoiding security staff issuing parking infringement warnings, or worse still confiscating your bike because its parked inappropriately.

Furthermore…. Could this be the first in a data driven plot for a Hollywood blockbuster sequal to Field of dreams, where university ‘X’ struggling for student numbers, builds an extraordinarily large number of cycle spaces, convinced that if we build it he will come…… would the question of correlation or causality be scrutinised too heavily in a blockbuster plot?

create the spaces and they will come.png

Create the spaces and they will come

Hope you enjoyed this second #VisualisingHE post focusing on Estates Management data 2014/5.


Method of Travel – HESA Estates Management Record

About the data set 

Data about Environmental Information for UK higher education providers is collected by HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) annually as part of the Estates Management record. This free table includes information about each UK provider, covering a variety of environmental information including;

  • Grounds and buildings
  • Water and energy usage
  • Waste management
  • Transport
  • Other environmental measurements.

For this post I have used the 2014/5 submission, which is the most up to date publication available at the time of writing. For those not so familiar with HESA time frames you might feel it’s a bit odd that data relating to the academic year 2014/5 is the most up to date given we are in March 2017….  however HESA collect data relating to a reporting period of 01 August in year 1 to 31 July in year 2 and publish the results annually after the submission window.

Finding a topic

Having had a bit of a play in the excel file, Transport info caught my eye, so I decided I would begin my journey into #VisualisingHE Estates Management data with the following question:

Q1 – How do staff and students commute to university?

First off, I wanted to understand the distribution of different modes of travel taken by staff and students, provider by provider. The viz below shows how staff and students from the University of East Anglia commute to work or study. You can explore all providers on my Tableau Public dashboard ‘How do you commute‘. An iphone version is also available so that I can see it on my preferred device.

Method of travel single provider overview
Method of travel single provider overview

In summary, it is probably no surprise that traveling by car is the most common method of travel overall, but I hope, that visualising the data in this way helps understand provider locale and method of travel trends regionally and which providers are leading in what method.

Take a look at the exploratory dashboard on Tableau Public:

Method of travel_RegionRegional method of travel

Thanks for reading.