World Bank Data API Updates: 700 New Indicators Released

By Ian Ward on Sep 22 2010 . Posted in MapBox.

The World Bank's Data site and API (data.worldbank.or) now include triple the number of data indicators from when the site first launched, increasing to 1,200 indicators up from 339. The site also has several new features, including indicator graphing, widgets that allow you to create data displays and share them on your own site, and map improvements like shaded polygon maps and full screen view.

Indicator graphs

You can now view indicator data on a graph, in addition to existing table and map displays. These indicator graphs let you dynamically add and remove data points to graphs for different countries, regions, and income groups that you'd like to compare.

Graph any indicators across countries, regions, and income groups

Widgets let you take the data to go

Table, graph, and map displays are now available as widgets that you can embed on your own website. You can hand-pick indicator data from the site and display this data on your own website using the new widget capability.

Widgets let you embed any data display in other sites

Take any data display - graph, map, or chart - with you

If you need more custom displays that what the widgets offer, the API can help. The World Bank Data API is a RESTful service which offers both JSON and XML representations of data. To get a high level break down of how the API works check out the API Overview - this covers the basics about the API as well as supported call types, structure, and examples.

Shaded polygons and full screen maps

To help better show trends and improve user interaction with maps, the maps displays now offer shaded maps as an alternative to scaled dots. Variation in the shade gradient helps indicate differences in data across countries, and the new full screen mode on maps improves visibility and makes them easier to use.

Variation in shading like you see clearly shows differences between countries and regions

All data indicators can be mapped with scaled dots

Developer Resources and Community Space

There are also new additions to the 'For Developers' section, including a Development Best Practices guide that discusses topics such as how to handle caching and uptime when using the API. There are are also some new resources like the Application Showcase that shows examples of applications written to work with the API plus new API Documentation. We also blogged about our experience building on the World Bank's API.

Finally, the World Bank also created a community space, via a Google Group, where users can talk about the API and the data.

For more on what's next for the World Bank's Data API, check out a recent post from O'Reilly Radar.

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