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Why DC is the place to be this weekend if you are interested in big data for development

Prasanna Lal Das's picture

If you haven’t registered yet for the Big Data Exploration event at the World Bank on March 15-17, you really should. After stops in Venice, Vienna, and a pre-event at Washington DC, data divers assemble at DC this weekend to take another crack at issues related to poverty measurement, plus fraud/anti-corruption in operations and to demonstrate whether and how practitioners can use big/open data to get results for traditionally knotty development problems (which are relatively difficult or expensive to resolve using standard techniques).

Would you give up your personal data for development?

Prasanna Lal Das's picture

 

 

If you joined us at the World Bank for Open Data Day on Saturday, February 23, you heard about the DC Data Dive slated for March 15-17. 

 

If you're playing catch up, read more about the plans and potential impact for future Data Dives. Also have a look at what colleagues at a Data Dive in Venice accomplished by analysing World Bank contracts and vendors. And now, read the cross-posted blog below from UNDP's Giulio Quaggiotto and World Bank's Prasanna Lal Das who ask: Would You Give Up Your Personal Data for Development? 

 

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

 

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

 


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