Sunday, April 22, 2007

Gapminder: Re-Thinking How We Visualize Data

From TED 2006, here is Hans Rosling, a professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. This presentation is interesting for a number of reasons. First is Rosling's dynamic and enthusiastic presentation style. You can tell when someone loves what they teach - it's infectious. Second is the focus of his work - global health and poverty trends and common misconceptions regarding differences between developing countries and the so-called western world. The third reason to enjoy this 20-minute presentation is how the data is presented. Rosling makes his case using statistics drawn from United Nations data and illustrated by visualization software he developed through his nonprofit Gapminder. I marvel at how this software takes flat data and brings it to life. It's a great example of how technology - at it's best - can help to elucidate rather than obfuscate.

So whether you like to watch great presenters in action, are interested global issues, or just want to see new technologies for teaching and learning, give this video a watch - I think you'll be hooked!

The software from Gapmider is free and can be loaded with any data. To take it for a spin, visit Gapminder World 2006. You can vary the data for both the x and y axes and animate the results over time. Not surprisingly, Gapminder was purchased by Google in March 2007 - here's an excerpt from the announcement:
Gapminder and Google share an enthusiasm for technology that makes data easily accessible and understandable to the world. Gapminder’s Trendalyzer software unveils the beauty of statistics by converting boring numbers into enjoyable interactive animations. ... Google intends to improve and scale up Trendalyzer, and make it freely available to those who seek access to statistics.

The goal is to promote a fact-based worldview by bringing statistical story-telling to new levels.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Thanks for your for your post on Hans. He spoke again at this year's TED and there will be a new video coming soon with quite a surprise: Hans doing something you would never expect!

Tom Rielly
TED Conferences
tom at ted dot com


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...