Thursday, July 19, 2007

Video of impressive statistics visualisation - Hans Rosling using Trandalyzer

If you want to make sense of statistics for people, this is how you do it, as shown in this very interesting and impressive video.

In it, Hans Rosling uses UN statistics to demonstrate that many common beliefs about the modern-day world, such as on the nature of the divide between first and third-world countries, are wrong.

But more than the content (and whether you would agree with it or not), what it's about is how he presents it. The software he uses, Trendalyzer, seems pretty impressive. I don't mean from a technical standpoint -- though no doubt it is -- but from what it is able to do. This is futuristic software, like science-fiction films try to portray.

Graphs are animated to show how the data changes over the years, highlighting the trends. They're morphed to show a different, but related perspective. Details are drilled down into, for example to go from showing data for a particular country to data for its consitutent states. It's all interactive, and it leads to a very impressive flow: one perspective raises certain questions, so he modifies the view to try and get insight into them.

What I think is important about this kind of software is that it allows you to really demonstrate points, directly from the data -- very much showing rather than telling.

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