Category Archives: data visualisation


Launch of the Wikiprogress Data Viz Contest “Visualizing Well-being” and Report on the Youth Well-being Consultation

From 17 June – 24 August, Wikiprogress will be running a Data Visualization Contest, “Visualizing Well-being” with the chance to win a trip to Guadalajara, Mexico to attend the 5th OECD World Forum. The Summary Report of the Wikiprogress Youth Well-being Consultation is also now available.

Wikiprogress Data Viz Contest

Data Visualization Contest

There are a couple of big announcements to make on Wikiprogress this week.  First of all, we are running a Data Visualization Contest over the summer called “Visualizing Well-being”, with the prize for three winners of a paid trip to Mexico in October this year to attend the 5th OECD World Forum.

The aim of the contest is to encourage participants to use well-being measurement in innovative ways to a) show how data on well-being give a more meaningful picture of the progress of societies than more traditional growth-oriented approaches, and b) to use their creativity to communicate key ideas about well-being to a broad audience.
Contest entrants are asked to create an infographic or data visualisation that addresses one or more of the following questions:
  • How do well-being levels vary between countries, or within countries?
  • How do well-being levels vary for different population groups (e.g. for young people, the elderly, by gender, etc.)?
  • Why is it important to look beyond purely economic indicators (such as GDP) for a better picture of people’s current or future well-being?
  • How can the multi-dimensionality of well-being be effectively communicated to the general public?

Entries will be welcomed in two categories:
1.    Interactive visualisations
2.    Static infographics and visualisations
Entrants are free to use any publicly available data (either official or non-official statistics) to create their entry. Entrants can choose their own definition of well-being and select their data accordingly from publicly available data sources. They are also free to use existing well-being indices and dashboards for inspiration, as long as they use the existing data to create their own original visualisation.

The competition is open to all individuals, both amateurs and professionals. We particularly want to encourage the participation of young people and at least one of the prizes will be reserved for under 26-year olds. 
To find out more, visit the contest website here.
We look forward to seeing your entries!
If you manage a data resource that could be useful to include on the contest website, or on our Wikiprogress Data Portal, please let us know at

Wikiprogress Online Consultation on Youth Well-being: Summary Report

The first Wikiprogress Online Consultation was a big success and we thank all of you who took part. The consultation had around 300 registered participants and over 500 comments.
A summary report was produced, summarising some of the key points made in the consultation, and can be downloaded here.
The consultation findings and aspects of Youth Well-being more generally were discussed at a special session at the OECD Forum in Paris on 2 June.  Marianna Georgallis, Policy and Advocacy Officer from the European Youth Forum (one of the consultation partners) outlined some of the main issues and led the discussion.  The session, titled “What Does Youth Well-Being Really Mean?” was attended by around 50 people from the Forum, with many youth participants, and there was a lively discussion around the questions raised by the consultation.
Some of the main takeaways from the consultation and the session included:
Studying youth well-being is important because a half of the world’s population is under 30 years old.
  • Youth well-being matters not only for young individuals themselves, but also for their families, communities and countries: countries that are more youth-inclusive tend to be more prosperous, while those that exclude youth tend to have higher crime and more social instability.
  • Defining “youth’ is not straightforward as youth is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood, and from dependence to independence. For some youth means under 24 years, for others under 35. While youth age bands are somewhat arbitrary, there is nonetheless a need for greater precision when talking about youth and their needs: the needs of under-10 year olds are not the same as a 25-year old, for example.
  •  Parents and guardians play a crucial role in youth well-being, but it is important that role is supportive rather than coercive.
  • Youth participation in policy is important, and social media is a good ‘space’ for this. Many young people feel that adults don’t take them seriously. However, examples such as Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign as well as youth councils and university groups show that youth are willing to participate.  As noted previously, social media can harness this willingness if older generations and governments choose to listen.
  • Young people’s rights need to be strengthened as regards a labour market which depends heavily on the labour market: remuneration and opportunities for learning need to be improved and prioritised.
To read more on the consultation, download the report here

We would also like to thank our Consultation Partners for their input and support:


Increasing Youth Involvement in the Data Revolution

There is a lively online discussion happening right now on Wikiprogress aboutMaking data more accessible for society at large”. This blog, by Wikichild Coordinator Melinda Deleuze, will discuss how children and youth could become more involved in the open data world as data users, storytellers and producers. 
A result of an open data society is that data will inevitably become more freely available for young people to download, use, and share. This means that we need to train children and youth to become more data savvy, so they can interpret the increasing amounts of raw data and visualisations. There are already several free courses and tutorials available online about how to analyse data (e.g.;;, which could prove useful for older youth and teachers. There are also online learning tools geared towards a younger audience, such as these data handling games for children as young at 5 years old. Another great initiative mentioned on the online discussion by Big Idea is their Joint Consultation Workshop in Tanzania back in March. The workshop trained young people from Ghana, Nepal and Tanzania to analyse data and present it to a younger audience, which brings me to my next point…

If data is going to be more easily understandable for youth, then it should be other young people telling the stories. The European Youth Press (EYP) has begun training young journalists to use more data in their work. In 2013, EYP launched the “FlagIt!” project which trained 48 young journalists from 4 continents on how to use digital visualisation tools in open source. The project will soon publish an online handbook available to anyone who would like to use these tools. This September, EYP will be hosting a conference for young European journalists (18 to 26 years old) on data-driven journalism, which will also include participation in the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium on media in the era of big data. Finally, EYP provides a free online course “Doing Journalism with Data,” open to anyone with an internet connection. 

Finally, more interactive technology tools should be geared towards youth as data producers, so that their voices can be heard. The Global Partnership on Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda (#GPY2015) is working on an interactive crowdsourcing initiative to identify youth priorities, building on the results of young voters in the MyWorld2015 survey: Education; Employment and Entrepreneurship; Health; Good Governance; Peace and Stability. Citizen Science for Youth’s webinar last October is another example of an initiative aimed at engaging youth in crowdsourcing data. 

Do you know of other initiatives that include child and youth in the data revolution? Feel free to leave a comment in the online discussion!

Why use maps to explore peace?

This blog is by Philippa Lysaght from Vision of Humanity  as a part of the Wikiprogress blog series on indicators.
Mapping peace allows people from around the world to navigate the complex fabric of peace and to question what makes societies peaceful.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are thrilled to announce that the Global Peace Index map has been long listed for the 2013 Information is Beautiful awards
Visualising the Global Peace Index was a challenging and exciting task. We thought we would share with you a little background on the interactive map and why we think it is important to visualise peace indices using a map. The Global Peace Index interactive map visualises the Global Peace Index (GPI), a composite index that measures peace in 162 countries according to 22 indicators.
The objective is to engage a diverse audience with peace research by encouraging you to explore levels of peacefulness around the world and discover what makes a country peaceful.

The GPI is a very large and complicated index; the challenge is to represent the data in an understandable and meaningful way, while ensuring it remains relevant, engaging and beautiful.
To deal with the complexity of the index the data is visualised in layers, allowing you to choose if and when you are ready to dig deeper and discover more. At the global level, the map gives you an instant understanding of levels of peacefulness around the world; it also allows you to see how peace changes over time. As you navigate the map, the tool tip informs you of the rank and encourages you to discover more. Once a country has been selected, a “scorecard” gives you a snapshot of levels of peace in that country by creating a national peace profile and summarising the index into three categories.
The “related news” section of the scorecard brings relevance to a country’s peace score by linking the research to current news and events. Digging deeper, you can discover the “full stats” of a country, allowing you to breakdown the peace score according to each indicator of the GPI – this will help explain why the country you are looking at is more or less peaceful than you thought, engaging you further with the research and making you really question what makes a society peaceful.

At the global level, you can already compare peacefulness by country according to the colour scale; however there is more to compare. If you want to discover why the United States is less peaceful than northward neighbour Canada, you can simply click on both countries to get an overview of levels of peace according to three key categories.  To explore the data further you can select a “full stats comparison,” which gives you a detailed comparison by indicator.
Peace is a complex concept; there are many different factors that contribute to levels of peacefulness. The GPI’s 22 indicators give a pretty comprehensive view of peace. As a composite index, scoring poorly or well on one indicator will affect your overall score and ranking, so it is important that you can see how different countries fare according to each indicator of peace. At the global level, you can “select an indicator” and view the world according to that element of peace. For example, seeing the world according to the indicator “Number of Deaths from Internal Conflict” immediately highlights countries affected by the Arab Spring, as well as the drug war in Mexico.
What makes this method of visualisation so powerful is its ability to engage a wide audience with the very complex concept of peace in a way that encourages a deeper understanding.  

The week in review

Hello, glad you could join us for the Wikiprogress week in review – a handful of headlines that have caught our eyes over the last week. You can find all news articles and blog posts on the progress community in the  Wikiprogress Community Portal

On the #occupy movement
The New Progressive Movement (New York Times 12.11.2011)
Development Economist Jeffrey Sachs comments on the Occupy Wall Street movement as a turning point in modern history; according to Sachs the last thirty years or ‘Reaganomics’ have ended with the rise of the new progressive era.
See more on and contribute to the Wikiprogress article on progress in the US

On philanthropy
New directions in philanthropy- report from the Bellagio Summit (From Poverty to Power 15.11.2011)
Duncan Green blogs on the ‘Future of Philanthropy and Development in the Pursuit of Human Wellbeing’ summit hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation this week. Green gives a brief scorecard of what’s hot and what’s not according to philanthropists working in development.

On gender equality
Mexican Women Demand Climate Justice (IPS 14.11.2011)
In a recent meeting hosted by Mexicans Against Inequality, issues were raised about the displacement of women throughout Mexico due to ecological disasters such as drought, water scarcity and socioenvironmental conflict.
See more and contribute to the Wikigender article on gender and climate change

On happiness in the UK
The wellbeing agenda isn’t navel-gazing, it’s innovation and survival (Guardian 13.11.2011)
Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron have both played very significant roles in the development of a well-being agenda; the Stiglitz Commission launched in 2009 and general well-being (or GWB) have been invaluable to the momentum of the global progress movement.
See more and contribute to the Wikiprogress article on the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress

On Visualisation of data: Afghanistan
Asia Foundation Unveils Data Site “Visualizing Afghanistan” for 2011 Survey of the Afghan People (PR Web 17.11.2011)
To accompany the broadest and most comprehensive public opinion poll of Afghan citizens, “Afghanistan in 2011: A Survey of the Afghan People,” The Asia Foundation has launched an interactive mapping platform and data visualisation site, “Visualizing Afghanistan.” Through “Visualizing Afghanistan,” the Foundation is making its Afghan survey data available and downloadable to researchers and the public to use and republish, with citation.

See more and contribute to the Wikiprogress article on the Afghanistan.

That’s all from us this week. We hope you tune in the same time next week. In the meantime, if anything interesting passes your desk that you would like to see in the next Wikiprogress week in review, please tweet it to us  @Wikiprogress  or post it on our Facebook page.

Yours in Progress,

Philippa Lysaght

Using DevInfo to Support Human Development Monitoring, Planning, Decision-Making and Data Dissemination

Continuing with our discussions on data visualisation, we welcome DevInfo to the ProgBlog. Find out more about them below…

How can we tackle human development more effectively and efficiently? How can we better address persisting disparities and close development gaps? A key solution lies in better data management and utilization – cornerstones of evidence-based decision-making.

DevInfo, a joint project of the United Nations, is a powerful database system for organizing, storing, and presenting data in a uniform way to facilitate data sharing across government departments, UN agencies and development partners. DevInfo facilitates the dissemination of human development data, thereby better positioning data to be used in support of decision-making, advocacy and evidence-based planning. DevInfo’s premier informational display and data capture platform allows users to easily produce tables, graphs and maps, for inclusion in reports, presentations and advocacy materials.

The software platform supports both standard indicators (the Millennium Development Goal or MDG indicators) as well as user-defined indicators. DevInfo is compliant with international statistical standards to support open access and widespread data exchange and operates both as a desktop application as well as on the web, so it can be accessed from anywhere. Software training and technical support is also readily available.

Nearly 140 countries and regions have successfully integrated DevInfo into their regular data compilation, monitoring and dissemination initiatives. For example, Papua New Guinea is using DevInfo to share official government education data via an online DevInfo education database. India is using DevInfo to support polio eradication initiatives through DevInfo-generated polio communication profiles. Moldova is using DevInfo to tackle rural deprivation using Small Area Deprivation Index maps. Niger is using DevInfo to advance poverty reduction by supporting the monitoring of the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. Argentina is using DevInfo to assist public officials with child protection issues. For more examples of DevInfo use on every continent, please click here.

Beyond data monitoring and dissemination, the versatile DevInfo database system can be used in a variety of ways. For example, in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia, DevInfo played a major role in equipping decision-makers with data for reconstruction. Aceh Info, a recovery database built containing both MDG and Tsunami Recovery Impact Assessment and Monitoring Systems indicators, provided stakeholders with easy access to relevant data for recovery decision-making.

Given its user-friendly interface, its endorsement by the United Nations as the chosen software for monitoring MDG progress, and its royalty-free status, DevInfo has become the database system of preference for a growing number of development organizations across the globe. For more information on how DevInfo can help your organization with monitoring, evaluation, advocacy, or data presentation, please contact or visit our website at

PISA explained….

Hi all,

We have been watching these great talks produced by RSA that take video of a whiteboard, a voice and an illustrator and put it out on You Tube.

The OECD PISA project on measuring student success around the world has one now and we here at Wikiprogress are very jealous.  What a great way to get your ideas across.

Have a listen and you will find that you actually retain what is said.

On that note, here is one of RSA’s most popular films on “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates us”.

Happy viewing!


10 Best Places to See Sexy Data and more

“Every minute, 35 hours of footage is added to You Tube globally”
“Between the dawn of civilisation and 2003 we only created 5 exabytes of data. Now, we create that every 2 days. By 2020, it will increase 50 times” –Think Quarterly

Google has just come out with a new journal called “Think Quarterly”. It is a publication meant for their stakeholders so it is not being written or marketed for the public.
The first edition is on data.

Included in the publication are interviews about the data deluge by Google’s Director of Research, Hans Rosling, Google Chief Economist Hal Varian, Laurence Guy, CEO of Vodaphone among many more.

Ok, 10 best places to see sexy data according to Google:


Turning Statistics into Knowledge – seminar report by Trevor Fletcher

For the last three days I’ve been attending the seminar on “Innovative Approaches to Turn Statistics into Knowledge” held in the wonderful city of Cape Town. The seminar, co-hosted by Statistics South Africa, the OECD and World Bank, has provided a platform for international organisations, statistical agencies, research institutes and companies to showcase their software for visualising data to make it more easily understandable and interesting to a wider audience and we’ve seen some very, very interesting new developments. And as well as seeing the new tools, I learned several new terms for my vocabulary that I shall definitely use at my next cocktail party. These include “informavore”, “informationally obese”, “Homo Statisticus” to quote but a few…

The seminar opened with a session devoted to the use of maps to visualise data that featured, for instance, the combination of Geographic Information System techniques with Neural Network Prediction in an Automated Valuation Model: you heard it here first! There were also other impressive uses of dynamic mapping interfaces such as using the web-based mapping revolutionary era to turn African statistics into knowledge.

Next up was the session on “How to get the most of data with Discovery and Analysis software”. Some highlights were the OECD Development Centre’s presentation (and I’m not being biased here, promise!) on “How IT tools can help support the global partnership for development” that had some very snappy animations, and “Making statistics matter – improved access to Pacific regional information” that showed a very innovative system for users to enter their own data very simply into a very lively web-based graphics tool.

The session on storytelling covered a very broad range of topics which featured a “Children’s HIV and AIDS Scorecard” from South African research institute the Yezingane Network, a presentation of a very comprehensive storytelling software package from NcomVA of Sweden and a personal favourite of mine, the “Statistical Self Portrait” from Statistics Korea.

There were other excellent presentations too numerous to mention that demonstrated that data storytelling software is very much a growth industry.

And to reinforce this fact, the seminar was treated to a premier of the BBC programme “The Joy of Stats” featuring Hans Rosling (who presented his Gapminder software at previous seminars) showing some cutting-edge tools for presenting statistics that fitted perfectly on the agenda of our seminar. So thanks to Hans and the BBC!