Friday, October 5, 2007

Displaying Trends: Gapminder

In his blog post, Paradigm's shifts, John Dorner mentions a beta version of a Google application that presents data in animated graphs displaying relatedness to the data in ways you may not have seen before (at least I have not). The demonstration web site shows population changes for 1975 to 2004. Other demonstrations include Internet use and economic growth.

Google's blog describe Gapminder's Trendalyzer software.

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.

I immediately thought about uses:

  • my husband who is an economist would find this useful in presenting information to students and to clientele as they want to consider global trends.
  • how the same kind of data that is demonstrated in the Shift Happens video is backed up in the data displayed on the Gapminder site.
  • how other data might be displayed. Showing obesity data in a moving map form for United States, then for Alabama by county would prompt us to think where we need to concentrate educational and behavior changing programs.
  • there are lots of applications and information that can be shared this way, and I can't wait to see more.

The video that John Dorner refers to comes from Hans Rosling: Debunking third-world myths with the best stats you've ever seen. Han Rosling makes some interesting points, both on presenting data and on population and other trends. The video is 20 minutes long.

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