From the practical of looking at how much money is spent on the war throughout the years, food environment and labor force statistics to the resulting apps of comparing hospitals, travel warning and a flu map widget. Open data is making it possible for many companies, citizens and governments to share data and make data useful for the public.
Just two years ago, the Obama administration in the United States of America launched their own public data website. Turning raw data into graphs, making the data exportable, filtering data and sharing the resulting visualizations and so are many organizations and countries. Data.gov say they are ‘leading the way in democratizing public sector data and driving innovation.’ Today they list over 16 countries around the world who are investing in open data. Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy and Denmark are just some of the countries experimenting with the concept, or as the United Kingdom brands their data website: in ‘beta,’ the software development phase for testing an unfinished product.
Ola Rosling, Product Manager at Google said that ‘reliable information about these kinds of things exists thanks to the hard work of data collectors gathering countless survey forms,’ launching the Google’s Public Data Explorer. The data is mostly sourced from the government departments and allows you to explore through simple graphs and filters changes in categories.
Another project which makes statistics easy to visualize is Gapminder. Hans Rosling co-founded Gapminder with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund and developed Trendalyzer, the software which powers the graphs. Trendalyzer is now owned by Google who also use it in their Public Data Explorer and are continuing to develop and share the software. Hans Rosling is convinced that ‘there’s nothing boring about stats’ and he even created a one-hour documentary for the BBC.