A Statistician among the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Who is it?

Congratulations to You Hans! Das ist mehr als verdient für die gewaltige Leistung, mit Statistiken das Bewusstsein für die grossen Probleme zu schaffen und zur Veränderung der Welt beizutragen.

And here is his shortest talk – with his Stone Age-Gapminder tool.

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/)


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.


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)


The World Bank offers Data Visualizer:


And from Egypt comes Epicsyst’s Trend Compass


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

Trendalyzer becomes Motion Chart


Motion Chart is one of the visual gadgets available in Google spreadsheets.  This is best known.

But Motion Chart is one of the visualizations in Google Public Data Explorer, too.

Data Explorer also offers diagrams and maps.

The original trendalyzer from Hans and Ola Rosling’s Gapminder still exists and is periodically updated with new data. Rosling’s interactive bubble graphs are often integrated in fascinating videos where developments are explained.

Others have adopted bubble-graph presentations in their visualization tools, so i.e. NComVa and Prognoz (see this post: Africa).

A short overview can be found in this post: Trendalyzer and sons


Original post from 2008 below:

Google has activated the trendalyzer graphic style known and bought from Gapminder (thank you Marc Ringuette for the hint in your comment). Google integrates trendalyzer, now renamed Motion Chart, in its spreadsheet. There you can choose several types of visualizations, i.e. Motion Chart.

It’s like in EXCEL and more: The graphs produced from the data can also be exported as gadgets and introduced in iGoogle or in whatever website. The link to Google spreadsheet remains necessary and gadgets can be updated with new data. In fact you don’t get autonomous graphs as known from other trendalyzer clones (see trend graphs).


How to:
In Google spreadsheet data have to be highlighted and with “Insert -> Gadget” a Motion Chart can be produced from these data.



As a gadget choose Motion Chart



Give a title, check data fields … and it’s done


As with other templates it’s not easy to produce good graphical representations. Good concepts and clear messages are needed.

And here are two links with further help:



Try it yourself !

Google launches Trendalyzer Gadget

See this UPDATE


I think we need some more guidance from Google (Ola Rosling, developer and previous Gapminder, please guide us!) to get this interesting graphical tool to work with our statistical databases. For example, what kind of data formats are appropiate?

See more information ……

Google buys Trendalyzer from Gapminder

See this UPDATE


Google has bought the software Trendalyzer from Gapminder Foundation (Sweden). Trendalyzer is a software product for animating statistics. Professor Hans Rosling, Karolinska Institute, is the chairman of Gapminder, and professor Bo Sundgren, Statistics Sweden and Mid Sweden University, and Ms. Gun-Britt Andersson, former Swedish ambassador to the OECD, are two members of the board. Google’s intention is to make Trendalyzer available free of charge to all statistics producers who are prepared to make their statistics available free of charge on the Internet. In connection with the deal between Google and Gapminder, the Chief Programmer of Trendalyzer, Ola Rosling, and his closest collaborators, have been employed by Google and will continue developing the software with Google in Mountain View, United States. The capital that is transferred by Google to the Gapminder Foundation as a consequence of the deal will enable the foundation to intensify its efforts to develop and implement methods and products popularizing statistics as a tool for engaging people in global social and economical issues. Actively supported by Google and its co-founder and President (Products), Larry Page, the Gapminder Foundation will also intensify the efforts to make all official statistics produced by national and international agencies everywhere in the world available on the Internet  in a user-friendly way – and free of charge for everyone.

Please refer also to the website, www.gapminder.org, and the blog on that website, where the news was commented in the following way yesterday, Friday:

Friday, 16 March 2007

Gapminder and Google share an enthusiasm for technology that makes data easily accessible and understandable to the world. Gapminder’s Trendalyzer software unveils the beauty of statistics by converting boring numbers into enjoyable interactive animations. We believe that Google’s acquisition of Trendalyzer will speed up the achievement of this noble goal. Trendalyzer’s developers have left Gapminder to join Google in Mountain View, where Google intends to improve and scale up Trendalyzer, and make it freely available to those who seek access to statistics.The Stockholm-based Gapminder Foundation will continue to spearhead the use of new technology for data animations. The goal is to promote a fact-based worldview by bringing statistical story-telling to new levels. In collaboration with producers of accurate statistics that are eager to give the public free access to databases, Gapminder hopes to recruit and inspire many users of public statistics.

Official blog from Google: 

A world in motion

Mark Twain said, “Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.” We’re pretty sure Twain’s definition of pliable is different from ours. Building flexibility into search, email, and other Google products is critically important as we seek to organize the world’s information, and it’s only natural that we should continue to look for ways to make the use of such statistics more “pliable” as well.

In this regard, we are excited to announce that we have acquiredGapminder’s Trendalyzer software, and we welcome the Trendalyzer team to Google. Trendalyzer generates moving graphics and other novel effects in the display of facts, figures, and statistics in presentations.In its nimble hands, Trendalyzer views development data—such as regional income distribution or trends in global health—as literally a world of opportunity. Like Google, Gapminder strives to make information more useful, and Trendalyzer will improve any function or application in which data might be better visualized.

Gathering data and creating useful statistics is an arduous job that often goes unrecognized. We hope to provide the resources necessary to bring such work to its deserved wider audience by improving and expanding Trendalyzer and making it freely available to any and all users capable of thinking outside the X and Y axes.

That’s our definition of “pliable.” Please stay tuned, and we’ll tell you more as soon as we can.

See also the Official Google blog  with comments and Google-links.

Statistics Sweden is represented as a board member of Gapminder Foundation through Prof. Bo Sundgren, mailto:bo.sundgren@scb.se.