The Guardian has a data beat. Certainly, a good idea, if not always as compelling as it might be, even to a data-head like me. Among their latest offerings, a competition to help improve data visualization of where aid monies go. (Arnab, this is one for you, yes?)
From the site:
Help us visualise the flow of aid around the world. How transparent is aid data? Millions of dollars are spent around the world by governments in helping developing nations but what does it achieve and how much of it can we see?
The Guardian Datastore and Google have teamed up to see who can help visualise the data which can show how governments are shaping the Internet in relation to international development.
We will help start you off by suggesting the data, all you have to do is develop the most imaginative way to help our readers to explore it.
In particular, we are interested in questions like:
• Should governments take censorship into account when they distribute foreign aid?
• What does the current flow of information online/offline looks like vs. flow of foreign aid geographically?
• What impact do sanctions have on the flow of information? How does that map against foreign aid?
• How is international development affected by the free flow of information?
Fascinating list of links at the end. Not mentioned is the GapMinder World site, with its engrossing animations on topics like aid, but a resource which also prompts wonder about when we’ll get a “rhetoric of data” that is equal the answers we need and the media tools we have. At a minimum we need to have a better understand of what we ask of the x and y axes. What we ask of our X and Y axes matter.
Animated Gap Minder World graph entitled “Stop Calling Them Developing Countries”