Brain scan: Making data dance | The Economist – This is an article and a companion greatest hits page about the work of Hans Rosling, who uses innovative approaches to visualizing data to inform people:
Instead of bar charts and histograms, Dr Rosling uses Lego bricks, IKEA boxes and data-visualisation software developed by his Gapminder Foundation to transform reams of economic and public-health data into gripping stories.
I checked out the software at Gapminder.org, which is in Web-usable form as well as a downloadable version using Adobe AIR technology, and it’s very impressive.
There’s a section of the site, Gapminder labs, where there’s a nascent version of Gapminder USA, which compares US States to each other.
I think it would be interesting to tie this tool to the great data that comes from Susannah Fox ( @susannahfox ) and the Pew Internet & American Life Project. I am always trying to put together trend data from her work, and it’s sometimes easy, sometimes not so easy (here’s my last version, which was easy). Trends are important in what I do because people want to know if the things she is studying are fads (the default assumption) or not in deciding whether to invest in them to improve health. I wonder what Susannah thinks about this idea…
I would definitely be interested in seeing / using this tool for some of the things that I’m interested in , like health information technology adoption by patients, and use/access of health information online by patients and their doctors/nurses/care teams.
Here’s one of the videos of Dr. Rosling (@HansRosling) in action, see what you think: