How Power BI is fighting asymmetries in sports and physical activity in Lisbon

July 19, 2021
Joel Monteiro
  • Client Universidade Lusófona
  • Role Portals & Collaboration, Business Intelligence
  • Year 2021

The client:

Founded in 1998, Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologia (Lusophone University of Humanities and Technology) is the largest private university in Portugal, currently comprising 18 teaching departments. One of the university’s missions is to foster the development of the Lusophony, meaning the peoples and nations that recognize Portuguese as an official language, through the teaching of the sciences, culture, and technology. The university is part of a larger group of colleges and universities found in Portuguese-speaking countries all over the world.

The problem:

AML (Área Metropolitana de Lisboa), a public entity made up of all 18 municipalities in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, challenged Lusófona’s Physical Education and Sports department to launch a public web portal displaying relevant information on sports practice and physical activity in the area. Without any connection to the technological area, the department looked for a partner to design and deploy the portal and help gather the data it needed. After evaluating several partners referred by Microsoft Portugal, Lusófona chose DevScope due to our track record delivering projects in the same vein as the one they were looking for and gave us complete autonomy over the design and development of the portal.

“We were looking for a partner that could design the necessary infrastructure and help us get the relevant information to the general audience.”

– Mário Guimarães, Physical Education and Sports Teacher at Lusófona

The solution:

Since the portal would be fed by data from all 18 municipalities in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, we had to ensure that all entities involved with the project were following the same data standards before starting any work on the platform. Each municipality used its protocol and tools to gather data, and none worked in partnership, not even with its neighbors. Data formats and features varied greatly so, to ensure data uniformity, Lusófona introduced an Excel spreadsheet model with all the indicators they wished to see in the portal. Lisbon was picked as the model municipality for this project, not only because Lusófona had previously done some data gathering and analysis work with it, but because it accounts for 30-40% of all data in the entire metropolitan area.

Not all municipalities could immediately adapt to Lusófona’s model in its entirety, but while they kept working towards collecting the necessary data to fill all indicators, we started working on the portal with the data at hand.

AM Lisbon Lusófona case study

The portal was developed in Umbraco 8, an Open Source ASP.NET CMS and a favorite at DevScope, and its highlight is a Power BI report, featuring a breakdown of entities and equipment by each municipality, the number of athletes in each sport, and a cluster map with both.

Given its ETL capabilities and proven record at DevScope, Power BI was the tool of choice to connect and transform all Excel data files flowing from each municipality in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area. In addition, the portal is home to news and reports that, along with the Power BI report, will highlight asymmetric differences and paint a clearer picture of the needs of each municipality and each sport in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area.

“The map allows us to spot imbalances: many infrastructures serving small populations, and larger populations lacking any services.”

– Mário Guimarães, Physical Education and Sports Teacher at Lusófona

AM Lisbon Lusófona map case study

There’s still some polishing to do, particularly when in the collection and treatment of data. To make it more reliable and easier to collect, Lusófona hopes to introduce automation in the future.


Aptly named “Observatório Metropolitano do Desporto e da Actividade Física” (Metropolitan Sport and Physical Activity Observatory), the portal was launched in May 2021, during an international seminar on the subject of observatories in the Scope of Sport and Physical Activity.

The portal was very well received, and Lusófona hopes it influences urban planning decisions in sports practice and physical activity in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area. To make the portal more appealing to the public and increase visits, Lusófona will introduce sections with important information, have regular news, and work with clubs and similar entities to help people access physical activity.

AM Lisbon Lusófona list case study

Lusófona also points out another highlight of the project: for the first time, the 18 municipalities of the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, which makes up around 1/3 of the population of Portugal, joined forces not only to launch this portal but also to keep feeding it data, improve it and work together on future projects. It also brought an unexpected change to the way joint decisions were made, with municipalities stopping making decisions in isolation and trusting AML with all decisions relative to the project.

What we did:

  • Created a model with Universidade Lusófona to gather standardized data from the 18 municipalities of the Lisbon Metropolitan Area.
  • Developed a Power BI report featuring the collected data, transformed according to the intended indicators.
  • Developed the Observatório Metropolitano do Desporto e da Actividade Física website, a portal where the Power BI report can be accessed by the public and featuring news and reports to help AML make more informed decisions regarding the access to sports facilities and physical activity in the area.

Technologies used:

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