Here are the latest visualisations from the research team…

When to buy your petrol


There is no doubt that Australians love talking about petrol prices. But just when everybody thinks they have it all worked out, oil prices fluctuate, taxes and exchange rates change and new petrol stations continue to pop up.

This prompted us to investigate the most recent trends in petrol pricing using data from This data consists of 71,792 petrol station prices taken between October 2016 and March 2017. Each record contains the petrol station, the type of petrol (Diesel, Ethanol, LPG, Unleaded), and the chain the petrol station belonged to.

We analysed prices across this period to see if there were differences between the top 5 brands, and whether this changed throughout the day. The resulting Polar plot shows that overall, Metro Fuel is consistently cheaper, followed by 7-Eleven. In addition, the cheapest process are either late at night or early in the morning.

So, our advice: If you can’t fill up early morning or late evening, just head toward your nearest Metro Fuel.


Changes in government debt levels


Australian debt continues to be a point of contention and is a common point of contention in the political debates of Liberal and Labor parties. But the government debt has had some major fluctuations in recent years, and  cannot be clearly attributed to the performance of a single party or prime minister as many external and international factors are involved.

Using data from the ABS, we analysed historical debt as a percentage of GDP (above). While it is clear that there have been large changes in debt since 1968, this ratio has never increased past 20% (compared to post World War 2 years which peaked above 95%). Although debt has increased in recent years, it has done so during  on the back of the GFC and has occurred across political terms of Labor and Coalition Prime Ministers.


The types of pet we like best


Buying (or rescuing) a canine friend usually involves the choice from a range of breeds, with each breed having different coats and colours. We were curious to which dog colours were most popular.

Using a Chord Diagram, we showed the most popular dog colours based on a sample of pets from Noosa, QLD (available here). A chord diagram shows the frequency of each colour by the width of the connection (called a chord). For combinations, the chord stretches from one colour to the other, and for single colours, the chord folds in on itself. From this representation it is easy to see the popularity of brown-white colours and black-white colours, with individual colours being less popular.

And in case you were wondering how a dog could be blue,  it’s from the Blue-Merle coat.


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