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OpenText Data Digest Oct 23: World Statistics Day


This week we look at 3 top entries in the UN competition based around eight Millennium Development Goals to see how well they stack up against the data visualizations you are working on.



By Michael Singer, (Opentext).

world stats day

October 20 is celebrated internationally as World Statistics Day. Sponsored by the United Nations Statistical Commissions, the five-year-old program spotlights how great data helps make great decisions that impact millions of people.

Under the theme of “Better data, better lives”, United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon and Commissions Director, Stefan Schweinfest both called for, “improved data sources, sound statistical methods, new technologies and strengthened statistical systems enable better decisions that eventually result in better lives for all of us.”

un world stat day leaders

“We need a data revolution,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his address to the statistical community. “We need to strengthen statistical capacity and tap into the potential of new technology. We need the contributions and expertise of data producers and users, academia, the private sector and civil society.”

To help highlight how important great data visualization can help, the UN sponsored a competition based around eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These ideals range from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015. For this week, we took a look at the winner and two other runner-ups to see how well they stack up against the data visualizations you are working on. Enjoy!

partial correlations

Runner Up—Millennium Development Goals: Indicator Correlation Explorer: The United Nations data formed a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions.  This data visualization allows you to explore the relationships between Millennium Development Goals indicators via two interactive graphics. Designer Max Galka (@galka_max) was honored with a runner up award.

HIV by country 2010

Runner Up—Halting the Spread of HIV: Designer Emily Schuch (@emschuch) used a combination of data from the UN and the World Bank to explore the worldwide HIV incidence rate, which measures the number of new HIV infections as a percentage of the population. The slider lets you view by year from 1990 to 2013, and a heat map of the 20 countries with the highest average HIV incidence rate from 1990 to 2013, by country and by year. Predictive modeling was also explored to look for factors which may be significant in reducing the incidence rate. For Data Management Schuch used Amazon Web Services and SQL. For data analysis, she turned to Python and a combination of HTML / CSS and D3.js for data visualization.

is the world better

Winner—Is the World a Better Place Today?: This web-based, interactive visualization app is designed to help users overcome three potential barriers, which are often overlooked in the design of visualizations and in the presentation of data. Designers Jeremy Boy (@myjyby), with the help of Anshul Vikram Pandey (@anshulbits) and Jean-Daniel Fekete (@jdfaviz) created this data viz with the goal of overcoming a literacy barrier, where people need to understand what they are looking at, and that the graphics represent underlying data. There are also visualizations centered on interactions as well as tasks that users can consider to imagine new, and interesting ways of questioning the data.

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