Founded and managed by Tim O’Reilly and TechWeb, the Gov 2.0 Summit brings together the government and private sector boffins in order to come up with ideas and technology to solve the nation’s problems. These issues range from education, healthcare, jobs, financial reform, energy, and any other pressing matter that is a hot topic of debate. The types of companies and organizations involved range from Microsoft, to Princeton University, to the State of California.
Ola Rosling, from Google gave an interesting presentation in Washington. He shows a new way of viewing data they have been developing which is like a cross between a pie chart, a bar graph and a video, an innovation for public data.
Rosla first shows a graph axis which compares the world’s countries on different scales, showing each country as a big or small bubble. Rosling calls this a “socio- economic world map”.
His first example is a graph showing wealth vs health of all the countries. The bottom axis is GDP per capita and the Y-axis is life expectancy.
The graph it makes it clear that there is no simple rich and poor countries but a linear scale of wealth. America is near the top end of wealth, although countries with lower wealth such as Japan have higher life expectancies, or better health. Rosling zooms out to show different scales, when compared with all the countries in the world, America is actually higher up the “healthy scale” than would be expected, but the data clearly shows that wealth does not necessarily equal health.
“However, a static image is lying because the world is changing,” says Ola Rosling. He pulls the graph back 200 years then plays it through like a video, showing life expectancy and the world’s wealth burst out as the bubbles rise up and across.
It certainly makes for interesting viewing and it is clear that this sort of powerful data combined with the uniquely visual approach could certainly help governments to keep track of things. Gap Minder Visualisations make complex data understandable, it is obvious what is happening, even though the viewer is looking at several different scale factors.
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Ola Rosling video: