Gas Networks Ireland
Enabling data visualisations for Gas Networks Ireland
Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) owns and operates the natural gas network in Ireland. They ensure that almost 688,000 natural gas customers receive a safe, efficient and secure supply of natural gas, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Dept stepped in to help Gas Networks Ireland simplify complex data sets into a user-friendly, digestible way. Our solution was a portal to present complex and technical data in a highly interactive and user-centric manner that is easily accessible and available.
Turning complex into simple
GNI transports natural gas, on behalf of suppliers and shippers, through our 14,172km pipeline network. All of these logistical details generate a lot of data which can be confusing to swift through. So the company asked us to help them develop a portal which would present complex and technical data in a highly interactive and user-centric manner that is easily accessible and available to all. This specialist solution for a niche energy sector audience delivers a best in class result across GNI’s counterparts in the EU. It complies with both CRU regulators and EU legislation.
Building a new data portal
The deliverable for this project was to build and integrate a data portal into the existing GNI Corporate Website utilising the existing Roxen CMS and meeting the same standards, structure and branding. The result also needed to comply with CRU regulations and EU legislation.
Bringing the existing data to the next level
Our experts started by doing extensive research and analysis of the existing data, which was available in a legacy internal system. The data, stored in CSV format, was to be made available via a secure file transfer and consumed by a parsing engine developed by us.
Introducing new tools to transform data
Together with GNI, we collaborated to understand the data and agree upon a structure for each of the different measures (approx. 25). We then developed a database architecture
We developed an in-depth UX and system analysis process to identify the highest priority persona, determine the type of consumer who would be looking at the data and at what interval. Our approach ensured that the data visualisation contains actionable and meaningful content, adding to ease of use and readability online. This resulted in the successful creation of a data visualisation tool that allows maximum impact through the intuitive design of the interactive map.
The resulting Data Transparency Portal provides reports (tabular and graphical), extracts, an interactive map (displaying live flows and data) and supplementary content around the data use and how it is derived. To make this a reality, we took a very complex set of data and developed a parsing engine to transform the data into easy to understand graphs delivered by an API.
The data is highly specialised and we needed to fully understand all of the measures, data points and inputs in order to build a highly expandable parsing engine. This allows new measures to be easily added, which ensures GNI continue to comply with the requirements set out by the regulator and with EU legislation.
The design of the graphs and user experience is extremely intuitive and has led to many interactions and downloads of the raw data for offline analysis and data manipulation (663 downloads). There have been over 7,000 interactions with the graphs and the data since launch, showing that the Portal is user friendly and offers useful, usable data.
The simple user interface and language has also helped to educate general users, who would not normally have consumed this type of information. Now they can learn about flows and the role of GNI in the wider management of the gas network.
Our data shows high levels of engagement with the audience. Since its launch, there have been 28,576 unique pageviews on the Transparency portal, around 3.4% of all users of the Gas Networks website in less than six months. There have been:
- 663 downloads of the data for offline manipulation
- 7,411 interactions with the graphs and the data
- 663 clicks on Export all data
- 1,551 clicks to update the graph to a Monthly view
- 2,218 clicks to update the graph to an Hourly view
- 2,979 clicks to update the graph to a Daily view