This weekend at the World Bank annual meetings the World Bank launched their new Mapping for Results platform. The initiative visualizes the location of World Bank projects to better monitor project and impact on people; to enhance transparency and social accountability; and to enable citizens and other stakeholders to provide direct feedback. All 79 IDA countries, the lowest income nations, are included with the geographic locations of projects, financing, and sector identification such as water, transportation, governance, etc. There are also indicator data including maternal health, infant mortality, malnutrition, poverty, and population. The tool is meant to openly share and visualize the operations of World Bank financed activities down to as local a level as possible and compare these with actual need and monitor the effects over time.
Country managements, Project leads, Academics, Governments, other Multi-national Organizations, and most importantly citizens and communities can for the first time actively investigate and understand where the World Bank is working in order to provide feedback and guidance.
Dynamic Visualization of Development Data
The Mapping for Results platform is built on GeoIQ, which was vital to combine together the indicator data from MeasureDHS that was supplied as collections of shapefiles that we uploaded. Geocoded project data in spreadsheets were updated and verified by the WBI team to ensure that the locations were accurate and attributed correctly. We also integrated with the World Bank’s Project API with GeoIQ Connect in order to bring in detailed project financing and logistics data.
Using the GeoIQ platform we were able to provide country-specific visualizations that combine all of these complex data together into succinct investigations that anyone can explore. Users are initially presented with an overview of World Bank activities by major sector compared with a major indicator such as Poverty or Maternal Hlealth. Users can filter by sector to see only Water projects, or combinations such as Health and Transportation projects as well as their respective funding for each project within these sectors. Clicking on any element such as the pie chart or table highlights the individual locations on the GeoIQ map to clearly indicate the relative coverage – or density – of project locations. Are there adequate health projects in low health areas, or agriculture projects in areas of high malnutrition?
Users can quickly navigate across the 6 World Bank regions and 79+ countries through a drop-down navigation menu in order to compare or contrast operations between countries. And one of the most vital aspects of the entire platform is that all of the data is freely an openly available for download. Users can choose Spreadsheet or Shapefiles from the quick menu, but because GeoIQ is powering the Mapping for Results site, the data is also available in KML, OGC services and numerous other formats that may be useful to organizations and people.
Road to a Platform
We have been working with the World Bank Institute Innovations Team to first investigate various means to explore and visualize the World Bank project operations based on local indicators and needs. Through last summer a team of researchers geocoded multitudes of project reports to generate the more than 16,000 activity locations to the appropriate accuracy – from national projects down to individual school buildings, bridges and road segments. We partnered with Blue Raster to gather the subnational indicator data and boundaries – both efforts that required continual evaluation of methodology, precision, and data cleanup.
We original investigated the Democratic Republic of Congo, which highlighted a number of issues that arise when attempting to gather and analyze national, subnational, and local information from a number of sources in a country that was changing it’s name and boundaries. GeoIQ allowed the team to quickly and collaboratively gather data, create analyses and visualizations to then present back to the team. We then expanded to the 4 countries of Haiti, Philippines, Bolivia, and Kenya to work with the country leads in gathering data and building consensus on important data and useful investigation tools. Each phase explored new data, concerns on geographic names, boundaries, intuitive interfaces, and appropriate explanations. While in the end we aimed to provide a simple yet exciting tool that anyone could use we wanted to ensure we were considering the various stakeholders and communities that would use the Mapping for Results platform.
Looking to the future, this is just the beginning of where the World Bank sees open and transparent sharing of aid data and evaluating effectiveness. They are partnering with other organizations in order to share and aggregate aid work to evaluate if aid is being evenly distributed between organizations or if it is only working in the same areas. More active feedback from the public to engage in dialogue, provide specific metrics and evaluations of projects individually and regionally will ultimately enable more effective and beneficial long-term aid.
You can also see coverage at Mashable.
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