Big news today for data geeks and anyone with any interest in world development: The World Bank, which exhaustively compiles worldwide data on quality of life and economics, is throwing open all of its data to the public. Formerly, getting that data required an extremely expensive subscription. As a bonus, the data is presented in a fancy-dancy new visual interface. Here, for example, is almost everything the World Bank knows about China, summarized in a single page:
You can also create hundreds of custom maps and graphs, depicting myriad stats and studies.
Other NGO's and governments now routinely make their data available, but the World Bank's on the cutting edge of realizing that making data accessible and making it impactful aren't the same. To get the latter, you need infographics, and good ones. Here's the bank's president, Robert Zoellick, explaining the importance of the initiative:
This is actually the first phase of a year-long revamp. Later this year, the bank will reveal a new API, which lets even layman easily slice and dice all the data in far more detail.