Exploring the Google Public Data Explorer
Google has a strong history of creating experimental online tools. Most of these tools are first made available through their Google Labs site. One such tool is the Google Public Data Explorer. In short, the Google Public Data Explorer makes it easy to visualize large datasets. The datasets that are currently available include data from sources such as the Worldbank, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the California Department of Education, and many others. It is much more interesting than it sounds. I promise.
For example, say you want to create a visualization that shows the unemployment rate for states along the west coast of the continental United States (California, Oregon, and Washington) over time. It is possible to create a line or bar chart with the Public Data Explorer, but there are other, perhaps less familiar, choices as well. One example is the “bubble” chart. To see it in action, watch this video that I made.
If you have any interest in learning more about the Google Public Data Explorer, including how to create your own visualizations and share them with others, sign up for my Exploring the Google Public Data Explorer workshop that is being offered on March 16, 2011.