For a fact-based Worldview

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Hans Rosling, co-founder and promoter of the Gapminder Foundation and of gapminder.org fights with statistics against myths (‘Our goal is to replace devastating myths with a fact-based worldview.’) and tries to counterbalance media focussing on war, conflicts and chaos.

Here one more example (and this in a media interview…): ‘You can’t use media if you want to understand the world’ (sic!)

And this statement on gapmider.org; ‘Statistical facts don’t come to people naturally. Quite the opposite. Most people understand the world by generalizing personal experiences which are very biased. In the media the “news-worthy” events exaggerate the unusual and put the focus on swift changes. Slow and steady changes in major trends don’t get much attention. Unintentionally, people end-up carrying around a sack of outdated facts that you got in school (including knowledge that often was outdated when acquired in school).’ http://www.gapminder.org/ignorance/

 

 

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Waiting for Don’t Panic

‘Internationally acclaimed Swedish Professor Hans Rosling will present Don’t Panic – The Truth About Population, an ‘as-live’ studio event featuring cutting-edge infographics, as part of a short series of programmes exploring global population trends for BBC Two’s international current affairs strand This World.’

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And while waiting enjoy Hans Rosling’s Joy of Stats.

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Hans Rosling is an early fighter for open data and one of the best, no: the best in presenting insights from these data.

His last example comes from TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) in Doha, Qatar (April 16-20, 2012) and demonstrates that ‘religion has very little to do with the number of babies per woman’.

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Some more examples of what has been done with open data are given by  publicdata.eu

With an overview of Apps:

Some of these won prizes in the http://opendatachallenge.org/

And now a new competition sponsored by The Guardian and Google is under way,

‘The Guardian Datastore and Google have teamed up to see who can help visualise the data which will show which governments are adopting the economic policies that will facilitate job growth and innovation to lead the world out of the economic slump.’

They are giving hints to datasets, called ‘the world’s key economic datasets from the UN, World Trade Organisation, IMF and some of the world’s major economic experts…’

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Trendalyzer and sons

Explaining developments in the real world using statistical information and visual presentations developed in many ways since William Playfair‘s pioneer work.  One of the most impressive and most popular techniques are time animated scatter plots. And here the Roslings (Hans, his son Ola and daughter-in-law Anna) created (in their Gapminder Foundation) the Trendalyzer Software.

‘ This software unveils the beauty of statistical time series by converting boring numbers into enjoyable, animated and interactive graphics. The current version of Trendalyzer is available since March 2006 as Gapminder World, a web-service displaying time series of development statistics for all countries.’ (from: http://www.gapminder.org/about-gapminder/history/)

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In March 2007 Google acquired Trendalyzer from the Gapminder Foundation. It’s now called Motion Chart and integrated into Google spreadsheet and Google public data.

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This kind of visualisation is since used by others, too.  Some examples:

NcomVA – a spin off of Linköping University in Sweden – introduces animated scatter plots in NcomVA’s eXplorer software, used i.e. by OECD.

See OECD’s Regional Statistics (Chapter Access to Education in Canada and US)

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The World Bank offers Data Visualizer:

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And from Egypt comes Epicsyst’s Trend Compass

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And this is surely not the whole story about Trendalyzer and its offspring. Give us some more examples!

Analog Visualisation

Another Hans Rosling TED talk, this time on global population growth, in which you will see that his theatrical talents matter much more than the Gapminder software.

And it might encourage us to sometimes step back from the screen and try out different ideas. Do you have similar examples in mind or have you already put them into practice?