The G20 in Numbers

Christian Bongers, bachelor graduate from Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, made DESTATIS-Data by the Federal Statistical Office of Germany come visually and interactively alive on the internet.

What began as an interdisciplinary project of the Faculty of Communication and Environment at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences soon became an exceptionally successful collaboration between Christian Bongers, student of Media Communication and Computer Science at Rhine-Waal University, and the Federal Statistical Office of Germany (shortened DESTATIS) in Berlin.

In winter semester 2015/2016 Dr Frank Zimmer, Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Rhine-Waal University, successfully committed the Federal Statistical Office of Germany as a partner for the project ‘Interactive Data Visualisation’ coordinated from Kamp-Lintfort Campus. Daniel O’Donnell, head of the DESTATIS-Department for International Statistics and Customer Management, accompanied the project all the way to the final presentations. He was very impressed with the outcomes of every single one of five participating teams comprised of students from various degree programmes. Among the hard-working teams it was the one lead by Christian Bongers that left an even more outstanding impression. The team delivered a thoroughly convincing result by cleverly working out every detail, the sum of which formed a strikingly user-friendly interface. ‘These interactive charts show that the presentation of analysed statistical data must by no means be complicated and confusing,’ Professor Zimmer explains about the team’s excellent performance. ‘It takes just a few clicks for the world of numbers to open up to a wide variety of audiences. Infographics are prepared visually in such a way that they are easily understandable, sorting results according to individual search criteria.’

After such an excellent presentation team leader Christian Bongers could dispense with the effort of having to arrange an internship for the upcoming semester: He received an invitation to Berlin and conducted further studies on the interactive visualization of statistical data on behalf of DESTATIS. ‘Christian Bongers was able to demonstrate that he is exceptionally able to meet the challenges continually posed by the digital world. He is uniquely apt in employing his sound knowledge of a wide range of technologies,’ emphasizes Professor Zimmer, ‘Next to his expertise in his field of study it is his solution-oriented way of thinking and acting which is particularly in demand.’

However, the collaboration’s greatest success so far is Bongers’ data visualisation for this year’s G20 summit, the annual meeting of the twenty world’s largest economies, on behalf of DESTATIS. For the resulting interactive summit-website Bongers created all the tables, graphics and statistics with regard to the participating countries. Journalists, above all, were the most frequent users of the platform and they weren’t shy about giving positive feedback. The world of G20 numbers is still available for continued browsing at https://service.destatis.de/G20/ offering extensive background information on the G20 countries for all those interested.

For his bachelor’s thesis on the ‘G20 in Numbers’-project, as well as his subsequent presentation in July, Bongers received highest possible marks. And where will the talented student go from here? ‘My next goal is the master's degree in Digital Media,’ the 29-year-old from Goch replies. For him there is no question about continuing his studies at Rhine-Waal University: ‘The content of our degree programmes is distinctly application-oriented. It is during such interdisciplinary projects specifically that we learn to think outside the box and integrate other methods and perspectives into our own scientific field. Rhine-Waal University does a very good job in preparing us for the global world of employment.’ His dream project for his master's degree: ‘Making data come alive as a tangible experience in virtual reality.’