Saturday, 21 April 2012

Move over CIA World Factbook, Globe-Town is here!

I don't know an awful lot about the World Bank but it has recently been drawn to attention that they currently have an "Apps for Climate Change" challenge. One of the entries is lead by Jack Townsend, a postgrad student in one of the labs that I collaborate with and part of the University of Southampton's Web Science Doctoral Training Centre. It's called Globe-Town and it's a really good-looking and user-friendly way to navigate around the World Bank Statistics:

The blurb:
Modern life is making us next-door neighbours with far-away places. We share major risks, responsibilities & opportunities with countries around the world, something that is never more applicable than to climate change which connects us all through the environment we share. Globe-Town is a way of viewing information about the countries of the world and exploring how they are connected together. With Globe-Town we can learn about the places we depend upon most and discover what connects them to us.
At the top of the page, you can pick a country and a climate-related statistic and get a nice visual on how that nation is connected to other countries. Below, Globe-Town offers data from the World Bank and rates them according to the World Average. These are divided into three categories: Society, Environment and Economy.


Clicking on the different sub-categories then brings up some graphs looking at that particular metric over time and, perhaps most interesting at all, comparing the numbers relating to your country of interest with those of the highest and lowest countries. I'm not sure how great all of the underlying data is - you can get some weird things like 140% of children completing primary school - but Jack and co. cannot be blamed for this as it all comes from the World Bank.

All in all, this a fun, educational and informative site and well worth a vote for the App challenge.

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