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September 2013

Liberen Los Datos: Supporting Entrepreneurial Open Data Do-Gooders

Sandra Moscoso's picture
Also available in: Español | Français | 中文 | العربية

The open data community is chock-full of do-gooders. 
 
There are "open" data-driven applications that track government legislation in the US, tools that help calculate taxi fares in Bogota, Colombia, applications that track how tax payer funds are spent in the UK, the state of school sanitation in Nepal, and many more. 
 
It's clear that innovators are out there and full of terrific ideas about how to help their fellow citizens by harnessing public data. The question is, how can more of these projects follow examples like GovTrack and transition from hobby to successful, sustainable business models? And while there may be technical talent out there, what about entrepreneurial skills? How many data rockstars out there also have the "courage to create a business"?
 

Energy, Emissions and Elevation: 6 Quick Climate Facts

Tim Herzog's picture
Today, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a major report that raises the panel’s certainty that human activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, is the cause of much of the warming seen in recent years. The World Bank recently updated its data on estimate carbon dioxide emissions along with many other climate relevant indicators in the World Development Indicators. Here are some interesting takeaways from the data:
 

The World's CO2 emissions grew 4.9% in 2010


That's the 3rd largest annual increase since 1990 (early estimates of 2011 and 2012 emissions show further global increases since 2010, but not quite as large). Nationally, China, the United States, India, Russia and Japan continue to be the top 5 emitters. It's also notable that in 2010 South Korea surpassed Canada in 8th place, and South Africa fell out of the top 10 with an emissions drop of almost 3 percent.

Untangling the Syrian Refugee Crisis with Open Data

Leila Rafei's picture
Also available in: Español | Français | العربية

Refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and the internally displaced. For Syrians and journalists, these are the buzzwords of the moment, but I’ve been curious: are there data that can help to understand the issue better? Since I work in the department in the World Bank responsible for leading the Open Data Initiative, I thought I’d see whether there are open data resources that can help with that.

Each of the terms above describes a different way in which humans move, and all are difficult to measure. In Syria, as a result of the internal conflict, all are in evidence. Refugees need to move in order to preserve their lives or political freedom. Asylum seekers have applied for official refugee status, but haven’t received it yet. International migrants move from one country to another - generally for economic opportunity, but also if they are refugees. The internally displaced are people who have fled their homes but still reside within the borders of their original country.

Global child mortality rates have halved since 1990 - but that’s not enough to meet the MDG target

Emi Suzuki's picture
Also available in: 中文 | Español | Français | العربية

New estimates of child mortality were released today by the UN Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME), and show the global child (under-five) mortality rate has dropped 47 percent since 1990 - from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990, to 48 in 2012. This decline represents substantial progress, but the rate of decline remains insufficient to reach Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4) of a two-thirds reduction in 1990 levels by 2015.

But a closer look at the data show that just looking at the average trend hides the accelerated decline in rates in recent years. The average decline in rates was just 1.2 percent per year between 1990 and 1995, but between 2005 and 2012 there has been average annual reduction in child mortality rates of 3.9 percent. This recent progress is close to the average rate needed to be “on track” to meet MDG 4, since under-five mortality rates needs to be going down by at least 4 percent annually. 

The highest child mortality rates are in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa

7 Things You May Not Know About Water

Tariq Khokhar's picture

1) Water covers 70% of the Earth, but it’s only 1/1000th of the Earth’s volume



This image from the US Geological Survey shows what would happen if all the Earth’s water - everything from oceans and seas to ice caps, lakes and atmospheric vapor - was removed from the surface and combined into a single sphere.

By volume, the Earth is about 1 trillion or 1,000 billion cubic kilometers. All of the earth’s water comes in at a thousand times smaller, in a sphere with a volume of 1.4 billion cubic kilometers and about 1,400 kilometers in diameter - that’s about the length of Madagascar.