Organizations such as the UN have placed massive amounts of data online. The UN Millennium Development Goals are a case in point. Unfortunately, the data is often presented as spreadsheets or behind query forms. These front-ends have the goal of making the data easy to access but often prevent data consumers from manipulating and presenting the data.

Here is an example of presenting UNMDG goals, in this case relating to water quality, in a highly visual, interactive format. The colour coding by country provides an at-a-glance view of performance towards overall goals. By clicking on each country, progress towards specific targets is shown.

Sample visualization showing progress toward UNMDG goals for water access
Sample visualization showing progress toward UNMDG goals for water access

This simple example could easily be extended to include more detailed data, drill-down into country-specific info, drill-across to related indicators, etc. For now, this visualization must be based on data extracts from the UN. If the data was more freely available through APIs or Creative Commons license, many more mashups and combinations would be possible – limited only by the imagintation of global citizens.

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