Presentation of the "Social Explorer", a portrait of society through maps and infographics

Població estrangera de la ciutat de Barcelona. (Explorador Social).

Aimed at the education and scientific communities, administrations, businesses, media channels and the general public, the new Explorador Social digital platform, developed by the CED, contains over 1,470 variables organised into 140 categories exploring the reality of Spanish citizens, with great regional detail and data on demographic, social, economic, political and environmental traits.


"It is an infrastructure of data aimed at the general public with which to explore the reality and social changes in the Spanish population through maps and statistical quantification", Albert Esteve explains.

The Centre for Demographic Studies (CED), located at the UAB campus, presents its Explorador Social, an open, easy-to-use digital platform created to explore the characteristics of the Spanish society and the creation of maps and infographics. The presentation was done through an article recently published in the journal Perspectives Demogràfiques, entitled "Explorador Social: la dada feta realitat" [Social Explorer: data made reality].

This tool is the result of two years of gathering and harmonising data, which in short "is an infrastructure of data to explore the social reality and changes in the Spanish population through cartography and statistical quantification", explains Albert Esteve, Director of the CED and head of the project, jointly with fellow CED researcher Pilar Zueras. "We gathered, harmonised and shared current and historical geo-referenced data on different issues", Esteve added.

A tool to fill in an existing gap

This tool aims to fill a gap that exists in Spain due to the dispersion of data, a diversity of formats and access modalities published regularly by the public administrations. A platform of this size and characteristics had not existed until now.

The new platform allows viewing interactive maps with municipal data and data according to other regional levels, creating maps in an easy and intuitive manner, personalising how the maps are viewed, while at the same time offering the possibility of downloading the maps, sharing them and using them in presentations. Users may also opt to download harmonised data.

Currently, the platform contains over 1,470 variables organised into 140 categories, available at different scales (regional, provincial, municipal, etc.) and use the map as a main route of access to data. Users will be able to visualise data at different scales and move from one to another with a simple click, as well as share their maps through the social networks. The typology of the map can also be selected (e.g., segments, symbols, density), as well as modifications made to the legend and segments, colours and other graphic aspects of the presentation. The information can also be downloaded in a table format.

A user-friendly design

Its design makes the platform a useful tool for the education and scientific community, for the public administration, the private sector, communication media and the public in general. It is open to everyone and the content can be shared as long as the source is correctly cited. Users can register for free, which will allow them to access additional functions and thereby manage a greater personalisation in accessing the Social Explorer and the production of visualisations.

The "Explorador Social" is an implementation and adaptation for Spain of the USA's Social Explorer platform. The CED is responsible for the collection, harmonisation and dissemination of its contents, and Social Explorer Inc. will take care of the maintenance and improvements to the software. The platform was created thank to the "la Caixa" Foundation.

The database is in constant evolution, and will grow and diversify over time. The data available on the platform is official and of public access, and can be contrasted with sources such as the National Statistics Institute and other official organisations.