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What has the World Bank done for your neighborhood lately?

Prasanna Lal Das's picture

Let’s say you are in the middle of what others may call ‘nowhere’ and need information on the Bank’s work in the vicinity before an upcoming meeting with local officials. Or you are a civil society organization rep and want to make sure that the numbers you have about a particular project are the same as what the Bank reports (and if not, you want to know why not).

Your laptop is no good because - it is the middle of nowhere after all! - and you can only rue your decision to leave your stack of papers behind.

What do you do? Well, the answer might be in your pocket.

It took longer than we'd hoped but it's finally here - the new World Bank Finances app answers many of the questions you asked after the release of the first version last year (click here to download the new version for Android; an updated iOS version will be out soon). 


Seven things I learned about data visualization

Tariq Khokhar's picture

Last week, the World Bank Data team descended on New York City for Visualized - a two day event exploring the “evolution of communication at the intersection of big data, storytelling and design.”

It was awesome.

Here are seven things I learned:

1) Iteration is the path to perfection

By now you’ve heard of Nate Silver - the statistician behind FiveThirtyEight and a near-perfect prediction of the 2012 US elections. What you may have missed is the best interactive graphic of the year - the New York Times’ “Paths to the White House” built with Mike Bostock’s D3:

 Shan Carter from the NYT graphics team showed how newspapers have struggled to represent the potential scenarios and actual outcomes of US elections ever since the late 19th century. His team eventually came up with the graphic above, but see how many revisions they went through to get there:

That’s 257 revisions. As early as version 15, you can see the core idea. At version 81, it looks almost done, but it takes another 157 revisions and that extra attention to detail, high production values and pride in your work to be at the top of your game like this.

Lesson: Iterate and aim high: editors are your friends, they’ll make your work stand out. Also: this is the benchmark for what a good data visualization looks like - if you can’t honestly say what you’re doing is at least this good, iterate.

What's the Most Popular World Bank Open Data?

Tariq Khokhar's picture

Many of you ask what the most popular resources on the open data sites are. I can usually offer a rough answer, but I thought I'd take a moment to respond to the question properly. There's more analysis below, but here's the summary of most popular pages and downloads from the data site:

 Most Popular Pages
1The Indicator, Country and Topic pages
2GDP, GNI and GINI (Inequality) related pages
3The Data Catalog & World Development Indicators page
4Individual country pages: China, USA, India, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia
5Topic pages: including education, health and poverty
6Economic statistics: goods exports, foreign investment and inflation
7Country income classifications and methodology
8Population, population growth and life expectancy

 

 Most Popular Data Downloads
1GDP and GNI Related Data
2World Development Indicators XLS/CSV/PDF
3Country Data: China, USA, India, Brazil, Indonesia
4Foreign Direct Investment & Exports Data
5Population Data
6Inflation Data
7African Development Indicators
8Country Income Classifications Data

 

Is this what you were expecting? Does it correspond with how you use the site?

This week: Open Access, Big Data and Development Policy

Tariq Khokhar's picture

Are you interested in the accessibility of research, the application of data and the future of development policy? Don't miss these three events happening at the World Bank this week:

 

  1. Monday 22nd at 4pm EST: The Kickoff of Open Access Week 2012
  2. Thursday 25th at 2pm EST: "Turning Big Data into Big Impact"
  3. Thursday 25th- Friday 26th: "Using History to Inform Development Policy"

 

Life in the post-transparency age

Prasanna Lal Das's picture

life-in-the-post-transparency-agIn the World Bank Finances team, we're currently asking ourselves what's next after publishing open financial data? What comes after transparency?

There's of course a lot we still need to do -- we need to help other people publish data (other people's data can make ours even more powerful and help tell more complete stories), we need to help people learn to use our data, we need to raise awareness about the availability and potential of open data, there of course is more (and more granular) data we still need to publish, and the like.

 

Seeing Between the Lines: Visualizing Global Poverty Trends

Johan Mistiaen's picture

Last month, while World Bank President Jim Yong Kim launched the gender data portal, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remarked that “data not only measures progress, it inspires it”.  Indeed when data is both relevant and effectively communicated, it can help to inform policies, identify challenges, and catalyze changes and innovations that deliver development results.

With that goal in mind, we started an Open Data Lab.  One of our objectives is to help the development community become more effective data communicators by experimenting with different data visualization techniques and tools.  The human brain finds it easier to process data and information if it is presented as an image rather than raw numbers or words.  And visualizations that let and encourage users to interact with data can deepen their understanding of the information presented. 

Your Top 5 questions about World Bank Open Data

Maryna Taran's picture

This page in Spanish | French | Arabic | Chinese

When the World Bank opened its doors and launched the Open Data Initiative two years ago, our Data Help Desk was flooded with questions, requests and comments from students, researchers, journalists, economists, statisticians and more. The demand for our data has only grown, and right now, our team answers around a thousand data-related queries a month by email and phone.

blog
Meet the World Bank Open Data Helpdesk Team

 

Data and Feedback for Development

Tariq Khokhar's picture

This post is authored by World Bank Managing Director Caroline Anstey and originally appeared on the Voices blog - please leave any comments there.

Even a cursory glance at the Internet would tell you there is a lot going on in the Bank on Open Development. Add in cutting edge approaches using SMS messaging by Think Tanks, CSOs and Foundations and you quickly see that mapping for results, crowd-sourcing, beneficiary feedback, and Open Data hold out enormous promise of leveraging technology for more effective development - as the technology grows and cheapens, we've all only begun to scratch the surface of its full potential.   

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