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Google Graphs World Development

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-31

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Google has produced a very interesting tool that plots world development indicators on a graph to compare against each other. Part of Google's Co-op program, the tool is called the Gapminder, a "non-profit venture" that collects information and makes it viewable in visual and animated ways using Flash technology.

For example, if you want to know if there is a significant relationship between number of physicians per 1000 in a given country and the life expectancy of its citizens, users of Gapminder can plot them against each other and watch the results. A list of countries, represented by circles appear, their populations represented by the size of the circle. Push "play" and visitors can watch Flash animation of the development from 1960 until 2004.

The answer to the physician/life expectancy questions seems to be, "yes, there seems to be a correlation." Botswana, with 0.4 physicians per 1000 people reports a dismal life expectancy of 35 years. Italy, on the other hand, with 10 times as many physicians, boasts a life expectancy of 80 years.

Categories that can be plotted on the X or Y axis and measured against each other:

1. Carbon dioxide emissions, tons per capita
2. Child mortality per 1000 born
3. Children and old per adult
4. Contraceptive use amongst adult women, %
5. Economic growth, %
6. Income per capita in international dollars
7. Internet users per 1000 people
8. Life expectancy, years
9. Military budget, % of total
10. Number of girls compared to boys in school, %
11. Phone users per 1000 people
12. Physicians per 1000 people
13. Population
14. Urban population
15. Women, % of labor force

Gapminder can also be subscribed to for updated information.

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About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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