StatPlanet is an interactive mapping application with over 3000 indicators of data of the Millenium Development Goals. It’s aim is to “better visualize and communicate information to support evidence-based decision making”. It first came it to the public eye after winning the World Bank Apps for Development competition. It was developed independently by Frank Van Cappelle (a PhD student at the University of Melbourne). Since it gained public attention, the application has been used thoughout the world. While it was intended for non-profit organizations to map and visualize their data, it is now used by a wide variety of international organizations, global companies, education systems, governmental organizations, and UN organizations—including everything from the World Bank, and NASA to Dell, and Harvard.
This application was designed to be especially user-friendly to facilitate exploration and analysis of the indicators. The user has the ability to customize and compare the maps and graphs in many aspects and can even upload their own information and create your own maps. This feature is exceptionally beneficial because it allows other independent researchers or organizations to use and analyze their own data. Another very beneficial aspect of StatPlanet is that it is available in a wide variety of languages (including in Bahasa Indonesia, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish), and can easily be copied and shared.
StatPlanet can be applied in the assessment and decision making in developmental projects. It’s extremely viable even in places with slow internet connectivity or no internet at all. It’s beneficial because it is very easy to use and visualize the data. Independent organizations can even upload their own data to assess and share. However, one problem with StatPlanet is that it obtains its data from such a wide variety of sources, that there is bound to be inconsistencies and incorrect findings. For example, one source listed was even Wikipedia! I feel that it would be more accurate if it obtained the data from just one source, or listed the source on the virtual map.
Overall StatPlanet is without a doubt an extremely useful tool that could be used to better implement development projects, or implement projects in the future.