Friday, August 23, 2013

Better than a million of words : visualizing FAO data in gap minder

Do you love looking at columns and columns of data for hours trying to tell a story with all those numbers? Or would you love a program to do this for you?

The well known Swedish professor Rosling, known for  his amazing TED talks presents his data with the gap minder, a program that allows you to visualize three types of data at the same time across several dimensions, in a static as well dynamic way, showing the temporal evolution.

So what's new? The new gap minder has a beta version that allows to visualize the whole FAO dataset is a quick and meaningful way.

Here an example of mind gap, showing milk productivity ((kg/animal) on the left scale, versus income per person on the bottom scale, and the size of the cercle indicates total production, colors the continent and as well as the temporal evolution for selected countries. 
For example the graph above analyses milk production, per animal and in total per county over time. One an see that the US and the Netherlands have experiences a high productivity jump over the last 40 years. China and India have a much less impressive productivity gain over the same period, but the total amount of milk produced is increasing suggesting that there are more and more dairy cows in these areas. When one looks at Ethiopia, the total production as well as the productivity remained low over the last 20 years.

Also the the new version of the mind gap has also a new feature that allows to look at data in a spatial way. It is not a fancy good looking GIS solution but at least a quick way to see what is happening where.

The geographic visualization in gap minder 
The only bemol is, that the FAO data cannot yet be linked to the other datasets in gap minder, making it impossible to link FAO agricultural data with more bio-physical or detailed economic data... i guess it is just a matter of time until this will be possible.

So check it out and convince yourself! 

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