Visualization Methods

Visualization is a key factor in the chain from data to value we envision in MAGIC.

The NIS approach to visualization is based on three layers:

  1. Supplying simple infographics to communicate nexus related issues to a broad audience;
  2. Designing complex visualizations that capture the multiple scales and dimensions inherent in the resource nexus for in depth study by the academic community and professionals;
  3. Creating custom dashboards and maps for exploring data interactively in the dialogue spaces (web apps for stakeholders and policy makers and for educational purposes).

Some examples for each layer are illustrated below. Further information on visualization methods is available in MAGIC deliverable D3.2 'Report on NIS Visualization Methods'.


Simple infographic: Biofuel footprints by feedstock


In this simple infographic, the relative impact of each environmental footprint is made visually evident through the area of its toes. The area of each toe is scaled proportionally to the value of the indicator it represents (sugarcane biofuel is the reference value). Data are from MAGIC deliverable D6.3 'Quality check of biofuels assessment', section 3.2 by the team of the University of Twente.  


Simple infographic: How are we spending our time?


Of all the time available per capita in the year 2012, on average, only about 8-9% was allocated to paid work in the Netherlands. The majority of this working time was allocated to the Service and Government Sector; only a small part of the working time was dedicated to the Energy Sector. The low labor intensity of the Dutch energy sector is only possible because of the reliance on huge imports of fossil fuels. Data are from Figure 14 of MAGIC deliverable D4.2.


Complex visualizations: Can the Netherlands sustainably produce biofuels from used cooking oil?

This graph represents flows of used cooking oil (UCO) as a feedstock for the production of biofuels in the Netherlands. The use of an ad hoc graphical theme derived from Sankey diagrams enables the analyst to simultaneously look at the flows and the underlying hierarchical structures (represented by the grey tree). Data are from the UAB team and reported in Deliverable 6.3; data elaboration by the UNINA team.


Complex visualizations: Could the EU achieve energy security with advanced biofuels?


This parallel coordinates graph allows an exploration and multicriteria analysis of EU countries as suppliers of feedstock (maize stover) for the production of advanced biofuels (data from Holmatov et al., MAGIC Deliverable 6.3; elaboration by UNINA).


Web apps for exploring data interactively: Mapping the Agroenvironment in Europe

This interactive tool has been developed with Shiny by the MAGIC team of The James Hutton Institute and is part of the analysis reported in MAGIC deliverable D5.1 'Report on EU sustainability goals: insights from Quantitative Story Telling and WEFE nexus'.

Societal Metabolism Analysis (SMA) is a new form of sustainability assessment providing a coherent way to characterise and understand the consumption and production of resources in coupled social-ecological systems (their metabolic patterns). SMA particularly emphasises the need to look across geographical scales and between locations, to take multiple perspectives (production, supply and demand), and the need to consider limits within both the biosphere, technosphere. SMA reflects on the long-term feasibility and viability of existing and alternative social-ecological systems and how these issues are discussed in policy and other discourses (framing of sustainability narratives). This tool addresses the ongoing challenge of how best to communicate the complex multi-dimensional outputs from SMA. Try the tool out here: For more information, see :


Web apps for exploring data interactively: Could the EU28 go for shale gas?

This interactive tool has been developed by Michele Staiano (Universita Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II) and is part of the work on MAGIC deliverable D6.5: 'Report on Quality Check of Shale Gas Extraction Assessment', led by Cristina Madrid (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona).

To check the potential for shale gas development in Europe, a large number of factors and constraints must be considered. To this purpose, exploring data from existing extraction fields is useful. This interactive web app shows the lessons learned from shale gas extraction in Pennsylvania, USA. It uses data that were originally developed in the project IANEX (funded by the EU with Grant no 623593). Try the tool out here:


Dashboards for exploring data interactively: The MAGIC Nexus Game

The MAGIC Nexus Game and the computational framework behind the interactive dashboard have been developed at the University of Twente, the Netherlands, under the lead of Joep F. Schyns. The interactive dashboard of the game has been translated to a web app by the Statistics Technology and Analysis of Data group at University of Naples Federico II, Italy, with executive contributions by Eligesoft sas (Italy) and advisory contributions by the University of Twente.  For more details see our dedicated webpage:

The purpose of the game is to experience the challenges and solutions for member states – as part of a larger economic block – to achieve food and energy security within safe environmental boundaries. The game conveys the main trade-offs and synergies in the nexus using a quantitative framework of relations between the nexus elements based on environmental footprint indicators. This framework is made accessible to players by means of an interactive dashboard, which they can use to explore the effects of choices regarding the consumption and production of food and energy, on the food & energy dependency of the EU as well as carbon, land and water footprints. To play the game, follow this link: