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Functional requirements of systems for visualization of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jon MillsORCiD


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The United Nations (UN) adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015. The agenda consists of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) for the 2015–2030 period. To pertain these SDGs, 169 targets have been set. To measure these 169 targets, 230 indicators have been developed. UN member states are required to produce reports on their progress of SDG implementation at various stages between 2015 and 2030. One of the key scientific issues identified by researchers is to develop effective approaches to visualizing the status and trends in SDG indicators and to communicate the result to policy makers and other end users. Addressing these challenges, this paper therefore describes the functional requirements for the dynamic and multi-dimensional visualization of SDG indicators. Firstly, the graphic representation requirements are discussed. In this discussion, a “where-when-what” system is described to categorize SDG indicators into nine scenarios and then the graphic representation requirements for visualizing these scenarios are identified. The effectiveness of the different sets of representational variables for such graphics is examined. Secondly, it is argued that some analysis capacity is required, and the set consisting of “identify”, “compare”, “rank”, “associate” and “delineate” is recommended. It is also suggested that such analysis functions can be implemented in simple query forms and graphic requirements for the query results are examined. It is anticipated that these function forms a framework for the dynamic visualization of SDG indicators.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Li Z, Gong X, Chen J, Mills J, Li S, Xu Z, Ti P, Hao W

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Geovisualization and Spatial Analysis

Year: 2020

Volume: 4

Print publication date: 24/01/2020

Online publication date: 24/01/2020

Acceptance date: 24/01/2020

ISSN (print): 2509-8810

ISSN (electronic): 2509-8829

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s41651-019-0046-x


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