Recently, we discovered Our World in Data (OWID), an interactive data visualization tool created by a team of three researchers at the University of Oxford: an economist, a publisher and a web developer. OWID is a database of empirical information about our planet and its people, presented as visualizations and archived academic articles. The site’s tagline: “Our world is changing. Explore the ongoing history of human civilization at the broadest level, through research and data visualization.”
“The media focuses on events, Our World in Data focuses on slow but long-lasting developments. News channels that focus on events are not able to show how our world is changing since many of the long trends that transformed our world do not get covered in the news and surely never make the headlines.” — Max Roser, Publisher, Our World in Data
The creators describe OWID as “an online publication that shows how living conditions are changing.” Publisher Max Roser hopes that by making quantitative data available and easy to understand, he can provide an alternative to what he perceives as a growing pessimism about our world. The data, he says, proves that over the long term, living standards around the globe are actually improving.
OWID displays sixteen primary research topics, further categorized by sub-topics. Users can review entries on Population, Health, Food, Energy, Environment, Technology, Growth & Inequality, Work & Life, Public Sector, Global Connections, War & Peace, Politics, Violence & Rights, Education, Media and Culture. Each entry focuses on how this one aspect of global development is changing, what factors have been driving the change, how the researchers selected and used the data and what the data sources are.
Many of the visualizations are searchable and customizable. For example, the Future World Population Growth entry supplies population projections by country and region (in the form of graphs); world maps of population growth at its peak; interactive maps of current and projected population density; and a searchable chart that can display any country’s projected population to the year 2100.
How does this data viz tool help B2B market researchers?
As a B2B research source, OWID can provide quick and easy access to background data and historical trends and projections. These insights can supplement market researchers’ understanding of local lifestyle factors affecting decision-making and respondent experience. The background cultural knowledge may also be helpful when designing mobile surveys and questionnaires.
Lastly, for B2B researchers working with data designers and programmers, OWID provides an opportunity to experience different styles of interactive visualization tools.
Click here to view the website.