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Tool of the Day: Google Public Data Explorer

Last week, we talked about the Google Chart Wizard that allows you to create detailed charts and graphs. Google now has a new tool called the Public Data Explorer which combines the power of the Google Chart API with publicly available datasets. Here’s an example:

The Google Public Data Explorer uses datasets from organizations like the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Office of Management and Budget from the Executive Office of the President. As you can see in the above chart, data can be filtered and animated across whatever factors are available in the dataset, and even supports geo-location. Organizations can upload their own datasets using an open source XML-based metadata format called the Dataset Publishing Language (DSPL). Example datasets and full documentation about DSPL are located at Google Code.

Visualizations of public data like this can add great context to news stories, and the embedded charts and links update automatically to share the latest data available from the dataset. The Google Public Data Explorer is a Google Labs project, so it is still a work in progress. You can give your feedback at the Google Public Data Explorer Group if you have any feature suggestions.

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