• Written by Nadia Gorchakova
    3 August 2017

If you were at World Water Week in Stockholm last year, you may have caught a preview of our new data transformation, analysis and visualisation platform, Akvo Lumen. This year we will be showing the live product.

This new tool represents a big step along the road towards our vision of a world where data enables transformative decisions for a more equitable and sustainable society. Lumen has been built by international development professionals, for international development professionals, because we feel everyone in the sector should be able to trust their data and use it effectively for the common good. And we’ve seen that often, organisations struggle to move from data collection to applying that information to improve their impact and outcomes. Lumen is designed to link up that loop.

Above: Example of an Akvo Lumen dashboard. Photo by Linda Leunissen.
Below: Watch our one minute video about Lumen.

You can think of Lumen in terms of its four core functionalities that are designed to lead users through the process of turning unprepared, raw data to actionable insights: Connect – Transform – Visualise – Publish

Lumen lets you upload data sets directly from Akvo Flow (soon to include monitoring forms and repeated question groups), as well as CSV files from a local computer, or via a link from other locations. Once imported, datasets can be refreshed when new data comes in. This is a particularly useful feature when working with data from surveys used in an ongoing data collection. In coming months you can also connect to data sets from Akvo RSR, Dropbox, Google Drive, Github and the World Bank.

Above: upload data sets from different sources 

Raw data that arrives fresh from the field is often unusable due to missing or inconsistent information, input errors, etc. Cleaning and preparing data is a time-consuming and not always pleasant process, and data analysts can spend up to 80% of their time doing it. Our goal is to free our partners from resource-intensive data processes, so that they can focus on analysing data and taking impactful decisions instead. Lumen aims to make data cleaning and transformation quick and simple. It’s straightforward to filter, aggregate and combine datasets, and enrich them with geocoding, scores and calculations.

Once your data is prepared, you will want to see and show what it’s telling you. We’ve made it easy to create [and customise] [interactive] bar, pie, area or line charts, maps, pivot tables and scatter plot graphs. This wide selection of visualisation types is great for exploring patterns in data and depicting relationships between variables.

Above: maps in Lumen offer colour coding of points and pop up boxes to display a custom set of attributes for each data point.
Below: different types of charts let you explore data patterns.


What is the value of information, if it’s not accessible to all decision-makers? Akvo Lumen lets you create automatically-updating dashboards that can be shared online or embedded in your organisation’s website. Dashboards help you to bring your insights together and make them accessible. You can design how you want them to look and add context to tell the stories of your data.

Professional support
Data analysis and visualisation is a vibrant and growing field that an increasing number of international development organisations are tapping into. We understand that for some of our partners it might be a completely new and unexplored terrain. Therefore, we’re here to provide support and consultation, whether you’re taking your first steps or are ready to take your work with data to the next level. Our professional services team can offer support with data research, data analysis and data science, depending on your needs.

As with other Akvo tools, we also maintain a dedicated online Lumen support platform that should provide answers to many questions about the usage of the tool.

Want to know more?
If you think Lumen may be helpful for your organisation, please do get in touch and ask us about our early adopters’ discount. Or if you’re coming to World Water Week in Stockholm from Sunday 27 August to Friday 1 September, why not join us at the Lumen launch? Or drop by our booth for a one-to-one demo. You’ll find us at stand 23 on the 2nd floor of the main exhibition hall. 

Nadia Gorchakova is product manager for Akvo Lumen. You can follow her on Twitter @NadiaGorchakova.