Oh my goodness, so much data! It’s everywhere …
Yes, one of the changes Web 2.0 has fostered is open access to vast amounts of data. Just two examples are British and American government data sets that have been released from their digital prisons. But data itself is mute, it does not tell you anything. Luckily, this cornucopia of enfranchised data has made possible the development of many a neat, insightful, and sometimes simply cool application any of us is welcome to use. You have not used any of them yet? Well, then you are welcome to try one of my personal favourites: gapminder.org. Gapminder rose to fame not so much due to its neat interface to international population data, but due to the unique talent of its founder, Hans Rosling, for telling vivid, captivating stories by use of seemingly dull population statistics.
Do you envy Hans, do you also want to use data for telling riveting, educating, or maybe even just stories?
If the answer is yes, but you feel you do not have the skills for becoming a data narrator, do not despair! There is actually a free course available right now. It is offered by the Peer-2-Peer University and the Open-Knowledge Foundation, and the 4-week course has the fitting title Data Explorer Missions. It will teach you how “to tinker with, refine, and tell a story with data,” and all that for free!
The course starts to today, so do not ponder too long about whether to partake or not.