27 May

WorldBank on iPhone: Great initiative, but not quite there …

Last Tuesday, I wrote about the Open Data initiative of the World Bank, and mentioned the iPhone App that provides access to a great amount data. Isn’t it lovely to be able to access information on a large number of indicators, covering many countries and years? Always wondered how the fertility rates in Samoa developed over time, or are you finding yourself discussing country-differences in the government dept as a percentage of GDP? Now you can have the information in your pocket, and access it everywhere, every time. For free.

I have been playing with this app, and found it very easy to use. First, you have to select one of the many available indicators, one or several countries, and the time-span you wish to plot. The first picture below shows a (very small) part of the list of indicators. Unfortunately, on my iPhone I was only able to access the indicators starting with A to C. I suppose the others will be added soon.

The second image shows the screen in which the plot is set up: an indicator is selected, and some countries are added to the list. After saving these settings, a screen pops up with more plots you defined (third image). It is very nice to be able to save some of the data you want to be able to access quickly. Selecting one of these shows the graphic as line-plots (fourth image). You can even save the image of the graph to your photo-library, or send the image or it’s data to an e-mail address. Unfortunately, on my iPhone, the graph doesn’t show properly: the lines do not align to the x-axis. In addition: I do not think these particular lines representing fertility rates are all that accurate.

The idea of a WorldBank DataFinder app for the iPhone is very nice. I think the app is well designed: it is easy to set up a graphic, and you can store several graphics for easy reference later on. In its current version, some serious bugs are present, but these will be resolved easily, I reckon. In the end, this is going to be a great app, but some bugs need to be ironed out first.

I reviewed version 1.1 of the World Bank DataFinder app, on my iPhone 3g (OS version 3.1.3).

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