Thinking Digital Conference: Gapminder Professor calls for more transparency

THE creator of an online tool which could revolutionise the way students are fed information in schools has called on the Government to make national statistics more readily available to the public.

THE creator of an online tool which could revolutionise the way students are fed information in schools has called on the Government to make national statistics more readily available to the public.

In a live video link-up from Stockholm at the second day of the Thinking Digital conference in Gateshead Professor Hans Rosling demonstrated why animation could one day replace graphs as the mode of choice to display information.

The Professor is the man behind the Gapminder Foundation – a digital project that aims to make statistical data freely available and easier to understand.

The software, which has now been sold to Google, allows any data to be shown in an easy to digest, animated form, rather than traditional X and Y axis graphs.

In an impressive demonstration, Rosling used the software to show the 300+ delegates at The Sage 200 years of history in less than 30 seconds.

In under half a minute, moving bubbles representing different countries of the world portrayed how life expectancy has evolved from 1810 to the present day.

He said: "Students have ideas about the world that are about 40 years old. Animation is the right way of showing change over time.

"We learned to put time on the X axis at school but that doesn’t give real understanding in the brain.

Rosling also used his presentation to call for a move for more transparency from Governments to share statistics with the public, which he says would encourage more entrepreneurial innovation.

He said: "We found that statistical data was not available any more. Stats are paid for by the tax payers so they should allowed freely on the net so innovators can add value and make it useful in all of its forms.

"These interfaces should be free to the whole world. We need things in a unified form so that everyone doesn’t have to spend a lot of time converting ideas.

"It would promote innovation if the Government took all the stats and made them available in one unified block.

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