Functional Requirements of Systems for Visualization of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Indicators


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.

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This paper is supported by a NSFC grant (41930104), a project funded by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (G-YBSU), and the ISPRS Scientific Initiatives project on GlobeLand30 data for monitoring UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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Correspondence to LI Zhilin.

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Zhilin, L., Gong, X., Chen, J. et al. Functional Requirements of Systems for Visualization of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Indicators. J geovis spat anal 4, 5 (2020).

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  • Functional requirements
  • Sustainable development goals
  • Graphic representation
  • Dynamic maps
  • Analysis capacity