International Marketing and Output DataBase Conference 2010

As usual a lot of interesting presentations. Who will get the Bo Sundgren award for the best one?

MIT-World: Visual Overviews for Cultural Heritage

From: Visual Overviews for Cultural Heritage: Interactive Exploration for Scholars in the Humanities, Arts, and Beyond

Ben Shneiderman

May 20, 2010
Running Time: 1:05:52

About the Lecture

A focus on designing technologies that allow the “visualization of things not visible” has been at the center of Ben Shneiderman’s work over the past two decades. He advocates the discovery of temporal patterns, relationships and clusters via an empowering user experience which enables discovery at a customizable pace and depth.

Shneiderman makes a clear distinction between high-resolution presentation (ala Edward Tufte) anddiscovery, which he defines as “the dynamics of interaction.” Noting that different patterns will be interesting to different people, he suggests that the capacity to quickly test out a viewpoint, to ask a large number of questions in a short amount of time…is an “enriching gift.”


Economist: Facebook – a new nation?

Social networks and statehood –  The future is another country: Despite its giant population, Facebook is not quite a sovereign state—but it is beginning to look and act like one.

Jul 22nd 2010 | BERLIN AND SAN FRANCISCO | From The Economist print edition


Lost in the print world of old ?

OECD’s Statistics Newsletter of Juy 2010 brings a short article about On-line Data Dissemination Practices for Government and International Statistics.
San Cannon & Marc Rodriguez, Division of Research and Statistics,  of the Federal Reserve Board present the findings of their survey made in January 2010. They visited nearly 450 websites of  U.S. government agencies, national statistical organizations, central banks, and international institutions.
For each website visited, they looked for answers to 5 questions:
  1. Graphics: Any? Static or interactive? Interesting features (maps, etc)?
  2. Data presentation: HTML or spreadsheets for data tables or are there other formats?
  3. Download functionality: Predefined or customizable? Applications?
  4. Plain language» or descriptive sites to explain their statistics?
  5. Licensing info: Terms of use? License or copyright notice? Pricing?

Some of their findings:


‘The majority of sites that publish official statistics do not incorporate any graphical representation into their websites.’

Data Presentation

‘..  while HTML was the most popular format, PDFs were more prevalent than spreadsheets. We take this as evidence that many institutions have operations and attitudes that are still very much centred on the presentation of data on the printed page. ‘

‘It is interesting to note that PC-Axis is only used in the world of official statistics outside the United States: 10% of the NSO websites offer data in that format but not one U.S. agency does. … PC-Axis would seem to be an effective way for statistical agencies from different countries to pool their resources.’

Download Functionality

‘Again, it seems clear that institutions tend to present a defined set of information rather than allowing users to define their own.’


‘From this, admittedly cursory examination of the dissemination practices of providers of international statistics, it seems that the main approach still undertaken by the majority of statistical disseminators is to electronically replicate the print world of old. Many are taking baby steps, or in some cases giant leaps, toward the brave new world of Web 2.0 but they are still solidly in the minority.’

The complete article in The Statistics Newsletter.

How to use Google Public Data Explorer

How can I import data?
If you are interested in participating in this experiment, please tell us about your data.
How does this relate to the Google public data search feature?
We have also integrated charts on some public statistics into Google search to show better results for related queries (more info here). This Labs feature uses the same line chart visualization. We are planning to make more data searchable and will continue to improve the public data search feature.
How does this relate to Trendalyzer?
The Google Public Data tool in Labs uses some of the Trendalyzer technology also used in the Motion Chart gadget available in the Google Visualization API and Google Docs. Google acquired the technology from the Gapminder Foundation in March 2007. To learn more, see this blog post.
Why do I sometimes get an empty chart or map?
Datasets sometimes have missing numbers for specific combinations and comparisons, and in some cases, the tool may let you pick a combination of options that results in an empty chart. This feature is an experiment, and we plan to improve the experience in the future.
What does the Last Updated date for a data set mean?
That is the date when we imported the data set into our system. This is not the date when the data was collected or published.
Why is the map visualization sometimes not available?
Some data cannot be seen on a map because it is not broken down by geographies. In other cases, the data set may not contain latitudes and longitudes required to visualize it on a map.
Can I download the data?
Not right now, though we are investigating features that will enable users to export the data. In the meantime, in most cases, you should be able to follow the links to data provider websites and download the data there.
I think I found a mistake in the data. Who should I contact?
Google publishes content from third parties. Please follow the link to the data provider and let them know about your findings.
I think I found a bug in the tool. Who should I contact?
Please go to our discussion group and explain your problem to us. It will help us a lot if you include the link to the view where you encountered the problem. We want your feedback!
©2010 Google – Terms of ServicePrivacy policyDisclaimerDiscuss

Statistics for a changing world: Google Public Data Explorer in Labs

3/08/2010 08:25:00 AM from The Official Google Blog

Last year, we released a public data search feature that enables people to quickly find useful statistics in search. More recently, we expanded this service to include information from the World Bank, such as population data for every region in the world. More and more public agencies, non-profits and other organizations are looking for ways to open up their data and expand global access to this kind of information. We want to help keep that momentum going, so today we’re sharing a snapshot of some of the most popular public data search topics on Google. We’re also launching the Google Public Data Explorer, an experimental visualization tool in Google Labs.

Popular public data topics on Google
We know people want to be able to find reliable data and statistics on a variety of subjects. But what kind of statistics are they looking for most? To help us better prioritize which data sets to include in our public data search feature, we’ve analyzed anonymous search logs to find patterns in the kinds of searches people are doing, similar to the patterns you can find onGoogle Trends and Insights for Search. Some public data providers have asked us to share what we’ve learned, so we decided to put together an approximate list of the 80 most popular data and statistics search topics.

You can read the complete list at this link (PDF), but here’s the top 20 to get you started:

1. School comparisons
2. Unemployment
3. Population
4. Sales tax
5. Salaries
6. Exchange rates
7. Crime statistics
8. Health statistics (health conditions)
9. Disaster statistics
10. Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
11. Last names
12. Poverty
13. Oil price
14. Minimum wage
15. Consumer price index, inflation
16. Mortality
17. Cost of living
18. Election results
19. First names
20. Accidents, traffic violations

You’ll notice some interesting entries in the list. For example, we were surprised by how many people search for data about popular first and last names. Perhaps people are trying to decide what to name a new baby boy or girl? As it turns out, people are interested in a wide range of statistical information.

To build the list, we looked at the aggregation of billions of queries people typed into Google search, using data from multiple sources, including Insights for Search, Google Trends and internal data tools — similar to what we do for our annual Zeitgeist. We combined search terms into groups, filtering out spam and repeats, to prepare a list reflecting the most popular public data topics. As a statistician, it’s important for me to note that the data only covers one week’s worth of searches in the U.S., so there could be seasonal and other confounding factors (perhaps there was an election that week). In addition, preparing a study like this requires a fair amount of manual grouping of similar queries into topics, which is fairly subjective and prone to human error. While imperfect, we still think the list is helpful to consider.

The Public Data Explorer
As you can see, people are interested in a wide variety of data and statistics, but this information is only useful if it’s easy to access, understand and communicate. That’s why today we’re also releasing the Google Public Data Explorer in Labs, a new experimental product designed to help people comprehend data and statistics through rich visualizations. With the Data Explorer, you can mash up data using line graphs, bar graphs, maps and bubble charts. The visualizations are dynamic, so you can watch them move over time, change topics, highlight different entries and change the scale. Once you have a chart ready, you can easily share it with friends or even embed it on your own website or blog. We’ve embedded the following chart using the new feature as an example:

This chart compares life expectancy and the number of births per woman over the last 47 years for most economies of the world. The bubble sizes show population, and colors represent different geographic regions. Press the play button to see the dramatic changes over time. Click “explore data” to dig deeper.

Animated charts can bring data to life. Click the play button in the chart to watch life expectancy increase while fertility rates fall around the world. The bubble colors make it quick and easy to see clusters of countries along these variables (e.g., in 1960 the European and Central Asian countries were in the lower right and Sub-Saharan Africa in the upper left). The bubble sizes help you follow the most populous countries, such as India and China. These charts are based on the Trendalyzer technology we acquired from the Gapminder Foundation, which we’ve previously made available in the Motion Chart in Google Spreadsheets and theVisualization API.

With a handful of data providers, there are already billions of possible charts to explore. We currently provide data from the same three providers currently available in our search feature: the World Bank, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition, we’ve added five new data providers: the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), the California Department of Education, Eurostat, the U.S. Center for Disease Control, and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. We’re excited that all around the world new data providers are deciding to make their information freely available on the Internet, enabling innovators to create interesting applications, mash up the data in new ways and discover profound meaning behind the numbers.

We hope our list and new tool help demonstrate both the public demand for more data and the potential for new applications to enlighten it. We want to hear from you, so please share your feedback in our discussion forum. If you’re a data provider interested in becoming a part of the Public Data Explorer, contact us.

Posted by Jürgen Schwärzler, Statistician, Public Data team

Google Releases API for Cool Visualization of Data Mashups from Many Sources

From ReadWriteWeb:

Written by Jolie O’Dell / December 14, 2009 6:20 PM / 5 Comments

A recently released Google Labs product called Fusion Tables allowed users to grab data from spreadsheets, text documents, PDFs and other sources and create compelling, comprehensive visualizations from a merged data set.

Google has just announced it’s releasing an API for Fusion Tables. The API integrates with Google Maps, App Engine, Base Data and Visualizations APIs, as well, to allow for motion charts, timelines, graphs and maps with all the data available and running on Google’s infrastructure. The API allows users to upload data from any source, from text files to full databases, and see their data merged and compared in cool visualizations. Surprisingly, that’s not even the best part.

Perhaps best of all, for active, dynamic datasets, Fusion Tables is programmatically updated and accessed, so new information is accessible without requiring an admin login to the Fusion Tables site. As data is added or altered, the most up-to-date version will be available as long as the dataset is synced to Fusion Tables.

The Fusion Tables API also allows for queries and downloads. It’s built on a subset of SQL. By referencing data values in SQL-like query expressions, developers can find data and download it for use by their app. The application can then do any kind of processing on the data, like computing aggregates or feeding into a visualization gadget.

Visualizations of data can be embedded in blogs and other sites all around the web, and attribution remains constant for all the data that is uploaded to Fusion Tables.

Another cool aspect of Fusion Tables is its real-time collaboration features. As with Google Docs, collaborators can be invited via email. Multiple people can view and comment on the data, and these discussions show users’ commments and any changes to the datasets over time.

For an overview of how Fusion Tables works, check out this demo video that explains how data can be mashed up and graphed:

Read more …….