Wednesday, April 21, 2010

World Bank Provides Free Data

As frequent readers of this blog may know, one of my favorite things to talk about is data. And there is nothing better then when a large organization decides to provide their data freely to everyone. And yesterday, the World Bank did just that! You can hear all about it in this short and nifty World Bank YouTube video.

Now why should you care? Oh, there is so many reasons, but I thought I would show why through highlights on the ways you can navigate the new site:
  • Topics This web site can be navigated by topic. In here you can use these broad areas to get down to very specific resources, such as a map of the percentage of land that is forest.
  • Country Want to know all the details on a particular country? Check it out here and you will get nice little graphs, tables and much more. These pages are more then simply lists of numbers, it has trend lines and maps as well as the ability to just export those raw numbers.
  • Indicators This page lets you browse by indicator, but just 331 of them (the other 200 are available in the World Databank). You can go here for maps and data of particular indicators (for example, did you know that in 2007 the United States had 259 tractors per 100 sq. km of arable land?)
  • World Databank All the resources listed above act more as web pages on the topic, this lets you customize how the data is presented. For those who have used the subscription resources on data from the World Bank (World Development Indicators, Global Development Finance, etc.) this is where you go now for these resources.
In summary, this announcement is wonderful! There are charts, raw data, maps, oh so much fun! Want trade data? Want to compare the unemployment in India and China? All of this is possible in these resources. But don't take my word for it, go check them out and let us know what you think in the comments below.

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