Friday, May 25, 2007

Hans Rosling at Govis 2007

Hans Rosling gave a great talk to close Govis 2007, he brought statistics to life, he has amazing flash graphs that compare worldwide statistical indices's.

Doesn’t sound interesting?

Go to the web-site and hit the ‘play’ button to play the statistics through time, and see what happens to the various countries. Change the measures on the axis. Have a play around, you’ll be surprised.

It is great tool to get the statistical truth in any discussion, rather than believe the ‘top-of-your-head’ claims that we all make. At work we have been googling for the truth, which keeps us much more real, and this resource can do the same for statistics and the relationships between them.

Statistics are used to befuddle and mislead much more often than they are used to inform and lead to inciteful conversations, this resource is a very important step in the right direction.

Apparently Google is supporting the work of Gapminder now, and taking the technology forward. Expect more from this crowd in the future.

It is interesting that Hans is leading a quest to Worldwide statistical data available for free, this allows many more innovative uses of the data. He pointed out that the data charges that the various government organisations are charging right now are only recovering a small percentage of the cost of acquiring the statistics and are very likely to be stifling innovative and socially desirable uses of the data. To this end apparently he talked to Statistics New Zealand when he was here and encouraged them to open the data.
I am aware of the drive internationally to open up access to Geographical Data around the world, and exactly the same issues apply.
If anyone from Statistics New Zealand read this, please, please open up the data, allow us NZ citizens free access to our own data.

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