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Here for the beer

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There are many ways to demonstrate data visualisation, but none better than visualising beer prices at the Munich Oktoberfest, possibly the best excuse in the world to spend five days downing rivers of lager.

Courtesy of Chris Roth, editor of Visio Guy, we present the Munich Oktoberfest Visio template. Roth is a native of Seattle who resides in Munich, and he created the template to illustrate the data linking capabilities of Visio 2010. It can be used for any activity that links a shape to a data source.

Roth was concerned that drinkers could not easily compare the price of a jug of beer from year to year. You would have thought there was an app for that, but there isn’t.

The first requirement was for a suitable beery graphic which, strangely, Microsoft has not yet included in its shape offerings. So Roth, relishing the chance to create new SmartShapes, set about creating a realistic-looking bierseidel, or beer mug.

SmartShapes are so-called because they are able to adjust when new data or text are added to the shape. A pie chart, for example, adjusts the size of the slices according to the numbers. In the case of our beer mug we have a SmartShape that can be resized intelligently simply by stretching (if only real pints could be manipulated in the same way). The froth and the dimples in the glass behave intelligently too, and those warm beer loving Brits can even select a “no foam” option.

Finally, you collect pricing data from Wikipedia and Abendzeitung, Munich’s evening paper, to create a graph that shows the price of a litre of beer, year on year.

You could of course also add a final graphic for next year’s festival, which assuming inflation of around four per cent will bring the price of your foamy mug of beer in October up to €9.13, or a whopping £8.80 at current exchange rates. Cheers. ®

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