World Bank’s Open Data Initiative

April 20, 2010 The World Bank Group said today it will offer free access to more than 2,000 financial, business, health, economic and human development statistics that had mostly been available only to paying subscribers.

“It’s important to make the data and knowledge of the World Bank available to everyone,” World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick said. “Statistics tell the story of people in developing and emerging countries and can play an important part in helping to overcome poverty.”

Hans Rosling, Gapminder Foundation co-founder and vigorous advocate of open data at the World Bank, said, “It’s the right thing to do, because it will foster innovation. That is the most important thing.” He said he hoped the move would inspire more tools for visualizing data and set an example for other international institutions.

“The real power of open data is the enormous opportunity to turn data into knowledge and useful applications to enhance transparency and ultimately accountability of all actors in development,” added Aleem Walji, manager of the World Bank Institute’s new Innovation Practice. “Free and open access to data will empower citizens to get more directly involved in the development process.”

Info aesthetics on this: The World Bank Data: Open Data Access can be Beautiful

The Worldbank, an international financial institution that provides leveraged loans to developing countries for capital programs has just released data.worldbank.org, a website that provides free, open and easy access to statistics and indicators about development. While the idea is not particularly novel (think of UNDataGoogle Public Datadata.gov and many others) the World Bank Data website seems unique by the combination of offering free datasets and indicators as well as a compelling visual interface for open data exploration. Many indicators are also available to developers to create new data applications and visualizations through an Application Programming Interface (API).

And on FlowingData: World data released ‘is a dream come true’

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