(Established Businesses across Region of York from 1806 through 2018)
Project Weblink (ArcGIS Online): Click here or direct weblink at https://ryerson.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/82473f5563f8443ca52048c040f84ac1
Geovisualization Project @RyersonGeo
SA8905- Cartography and Geovisualization, Fall 2020
Author: Sridhar Lam
York Region, Ontario as identified in Figure 1, with over one million people from a variety of cultural backgrounds is across 1,776 square kilometres stretching from Steeles Avenue in the south to Lake Simcoe and the Holland Marsh in the north. By 2031, projections indicate 1.5 million residents, 780,000 jobs, and 510,000 households. Over time, York Region attracted a broad spectrum of business activity and over 30,000 businesses.
Fig.1: Region of York showing context within Ontario, Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and its nine Municipalities.
(Image-Sources: https://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/economy/demographics/projections/ , https://peelarchivesblog.com/about-peel/ and https://www.forestsontario.ca/en/program/emerald-ash-borer-advisory-services-program)
To create a geovisualization dashboard for the public to navigate, locate and compare established Businesses across the nine Municipalities within the Region of York.
The dashboard is intended to help Economic Development market research divisions sort and visualize businesses’ nature, year of establishment (1806 through 2018), and identify clusters (hot-spots) at various scales.
Data-Sources & References:
First, the Business Directory updated as of 2018, and the municipal boundaries layer files, which are made available at the Open-Data Source of York Region, are downloaded. As shown in Figure 2, the raw data is analyzed to identify the Municipal data based on the address / municipal location distribution. It is identified that the City of Markham and the City of Vaughan have a major share.
Fig.2: The number of businesses and the percentage of share within the nine Municipalities of the York Region.
The raw-data is further analyzed, as shown in Figure 3, to identify the major business categories, and the chart below presents the top categories within the dataset.
Fig.3: Major Business Categories identified within the dataset.
Further, the raw data is analyzed, as shown in figure 4, to identify the businesses by the year of establishment, and identifies that most of the businesses within the dataset were established after the 1990s.
Fig 4: Business Establishment Years identified within the dataset.
The Business addressed data is checked for consistency, and Geocodio service is used to geocode the address list for all the business location addresses. The resulting dataset is imported into ArcGIS Map, as shown in figure 5, along with the municipal boundaries layers and checked for inconsistent data before being uploaded onto ArcGIS Online as hosted layers.
Fig.5: Business Locations identified after geocoding of the addresses across the York Region.
Once hosted on ArcGIS Online, a new dashboard titled: ‘Geovisualization of the York Region 2018 Business Directory’ is created. To the dashboard, the components are tested for visual hierarchy, and careful selection is made to use the following components to display the data:
- Dashboard Title
- Navigation (as shown in figure 6, is placed on the left of the interface, which provides information and user-control to navigate)
- Pull-Down/ Slider Lists for the user to select and sort from the data
- Maps – One map to display the point data and the other to display cluster groups
- Serial Chart (List from the data)- To compare the selected data by the municipality
- Map Legend, and
- Embedded Content – A few images and videos to orient the context of the dashboard
The user is given a choice to select the data by:
Fig.6: User interface for the dashboard offering selection in dropdown and slider bar.
Thus a user of the dashboard can select or make choices using one or a combination of the following to display the results in on the right panes (Map, data-chart and cluster density map):
- Municipality: By each or all Municipalities within York Region
- Business Type: By each type or multiple selections
- Business Establishment Year Time-Range using the slider (the Year 1806 through 2018)
For the end-user of this dashboard, results are also provided based on business locations identified after geocoding the addresses across the York Region, comparative and quantifiable by each of the nine municipalities shown in Figure 7.
Fig.7: Data-Chart displayed once the dashboard user makes a selection.
By plotting the point locations on a map, and simultaneously showing the clusters within the selected range (Region/ by Municipality / by Business Type / Year of Establishment selections), Figure 8.
Fig.8: Point data map and cluster map indicate the exact geolocation as well as the cluster for the selection made by the user across the York Region at different scales.
Overall, the dashboard provides an effective geovisualization with a spatial context and location detail of the York Region’s 2018 businesses. The business type index with an option to select one/ multiple at a time and the timeline slider bar offers an end-user of the dashboard to drill down to the information they seek to obtain from this dashboard. The dashboard design offers a dark theme interface maintaining a visual hierarchy of the different map elements such as the map title, legend, colour scheme, colour combinations ensuring contrast and balance, font face selection and size, background and map contrast, choice of hues, saturation, emphasis etc. The maps also offer the end-user to change the background map base layers to see the data in the context of their choice. As shown in figure 9 of location data and quantifiable data at different scales, the dashboard interface offers visuals to display the 30,000+ businesses across the York Region.
Fig.9: Geovisualization Dashboard to display the York Region 2018 Business Directory across the Nine Municipalities of the York Region.
The weblink to access the ArcGIS Online Dashboard where it is hosted is: https://ryerson.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/82473f5563f8443ca52048c040f84ac1
(Please note an ArcGIS Online account is required)
The 2018 business data across York Region contains over 38,000 data points, and the index/ legend of the business types may look cluttered while a selection is made as well. The fixed left navigation panel width is definitely a technical limitation because the pull-down display cannot be made wider. However, the legend screen could be maximized to read all the business categories clearly. There may be errors, incomplete or missing data in the compilation of business addresses. This dashboard can be updated quickly but requires a little effort, whenever there is an update of the York Region business directory’s new release in the coming years.