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World eXplorer World eXplorer


Before loading World eXplorer Flash application  (recommend that you first read text below!)



NOTE: New World eXplorer version 6.4 is now available from web location:



World eXplorer (Flash application) facilitates methods for exploring national statistics (countries of the world) that can uncover hidden structures and relations and at the same time let the analyst present and share findings through Storytelling . The combination of World eXplorer (explore, gain insight and knowledge) and its Storytelling represents the professional tool for an integrated data analysis, collaboration and publication process facilitating storytelling aimed at producing statistical news content and can also (through our Publisher) be deployed into your blog or web site using Flash. World eXplorer is based on our object-oriented GAV component toolkit and framework, specially adapted for Adobe’s Flash and Flex. Multivariate spatio-temporal data can be imported using various types of your own Excel formats or imported direct to the from the World dataBank. A collection of well-known interactive data visualization methods from Information and Geographical visualization are adapted and customized to the behaviour and requirement of supporting large multi-dimensional and spatio-temporal statistical data (see more below).

world expl data interface


Figure: The World eXplorer opens with a pre-selection of World dataBank indicators for 1960-2014 - see further below. 

Your own multivariate spatio-temporal data can be imported using various types of Excel formats or direct from the World dataBank through an API interface in eXplorer Data Management. This data interface will always give you direct access to the latest national data  http://databank.worldbank.org/data/home.aspx


Starting World eXplorer

World eXplorer data menu

When you start World eXplorer two preloaded stories will appear in "Storytelling menu" at the top right corner: "ageing population in 2015" and "Statistics from World Data Databank 1960-2014". Select the second default startup story "Statistics from World Databank 1960-2014"   (see figure below). A selection of 10 numerical indicators during 1960-2014 are preloaded through with this story into World eXplorer (see figure to the right). The Story also have two categorical indicators: Continent (EU, Asia etc.) and the Human Development Indicator (HDI). You can select any of these preloaded indicators. (when you click on the colour legend you can see all available indicators). The actual story is presented in the Story Table.

Three linked and coordinated views covering the following visualization methods (choropleth map representing the indicator "age group 65+" , the extended scatter plot shows four indicators "age group 0-14" (Y-axis), "age group 65+ (Y-axis), "age group 65+" (colour) and dot size is related to indicator "total population". The fish eye bar chart uses our focus&context method to highlight about 15 countries (bars in focus) representing countries with highest rate elderly people in 2014 (Japan, Sweden, Niger,..) while the remaining 270 countries (context) are displayed as thin bars. The bars are coloured according to the active colour legend ("age group 65+") and applied in all three views. The Story controls how eXplorer will be initiated including selected visualization methods, colour legend, selected countries, time step, etc. 

World eXplorer

Figure: When you start World eXplorer, three linked and coordinated views with already preloaded data 1960-2014 will appear together with a Story table. When you click on a country in the map - the scatter plot and bar chart will show the same country. Notice the fish eye scrolling in the bar chart. Read more about the storytelling.





categorical dataThe HDI Level is a categorical data item and can only be applied to the colour legend. Will affect the colour scale in all visualizations.

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. A country scores higher HDI when the lifespan is higher, the education level is higher, the GDP per capita is higher, the fertility rate is lower, and the inflation rate is lower. HDI was developed by the United Nations as a metric to assess the social and economic development levels of countries. Four principal areas of examination are used to rank countries: mean years of schooling, expected years of schooling, life expectancy at birth and gross national income per capita. 

Below is the associate EXCEL spreadsheet for the data:


world data


Import your own World Data direct from the World dataBank

The simplest way to access a huge selection of data is to use the World eXplorer World dataBank API. As with pre-loaded data, this is also accessed from the Data Management dialog. Click the special icon associated to begin loading the contents of the dataBank.

Word dataBank API interface - load latest available indicators direct from the database

World Databank accessThe simplest way to access interesting national statistical data is to use the World eXplorer World dataBank API (Direct API interface to the World dataBank).

1) Click the Data Management in the top menu .

2) Click the World dataBank icon (see figure below) and eXplorer connects you direct to the World Bank Data Chooser panel through the Internet.

3) Select a "Topic" (left column),

4) You can choose from a large selection of available indicators (middle column -see figure below for topic "Health"). Each indicator is associated with a descriptive text (see example in figure below for "Mortality rate adult")

5) Begin selecting indicators - choose new topic and more indicators. The right column shows your selection of indicators.

6) Press Load Data and a series of requests to the dataBank, which depending on the amount of data and indicators can take several minutes

7) After the data finished loading, the selected indicators will appear in the World dataBank tab in the Available Indicators area of Data Management.

8) From here you select indicators in the same way as pre-loaded data and can mix and match in any way you like. Just make sure you look at the years available for each indicator, so that they can be compared in the graph.


world data bank

Figure: World Bank Data Chooser Panel. Example of the data panel in World eXplorer showing available "topics" and indicators for selected topic "Health". The right panel shows selected indicators by the user to be explored.








World eXplorer Data Panel

After selecting the indicators from the World dataBank you press the "Load data" button and the chosen indicators for selected years are transferred from the World dataBank into the eXplorer Data Management and will show up in the corresponding panel.

You can now start analysing these latest statistics from the World dataBank. No programming is necessary!















Import your own data with EXCEL

World eXplorer EXCEL Data format

The eXplorer family of applications can load excel files directly, given that the data is structured according to one of the available formats. This allows you to quickly get a visualization of your own data, with a minimum of pre-processing. The visualization will however be subject to some limitations, as most meta data will not be present. 

For World eXplorer application to show a world map properly, data has to be identified using the correct set of national codes. World eXplorer use the ISO standards for country codes, where the 3 letter code is used.

Data format Excel World

Download example EXCEL Data Format for single time:

excel sample single time World.xlsx

Download example EXCEL Data Format for multiple time steps:

excel sample single time World.xlsx

Import "Load Excel File" the EXCEL file in the Data Management Panel (see picture above).


Available Visualization Methods in eXplorer

Interactive controls integrated into the visualization methods enable the user to enter a visual dialog with the data using a well-known information visualization seeking rule: “analyze first, show the important, zoom, filter and analyze further, details-on-demand”.

The eXplorer visualization provides the foundation for using multiple linked and coordinated views applied together with combinations of brushes. The World eXplorer figure above demonstrates this concept to simultaneously present, explore, and analyze different aspects of multivariate data. The views are used adjacent to each other and include map, scatter plot, bar chart with fish eye view, time graph, parallel coordinates, distribution plot, data table etc.

Interesting subsets of the data are interactively selected and brushed, and the relations are investigated in all the linked views. A data-of-interest method is used in all linked views to visually separate interesting data features from the rest of the data.  To accomplish this eXplorer also uses focus & context defined within information visualization such as the fish eye technique in bar graphs and table lens but also dynamic filter queries in parallel coordinates.


explorer flash tools

Figure: Available visualization methods in World eXplorer. NOTE: The Flow Map view is a separate Program Flowmap eXplorer.



Storytelling, in our context, is about telling a story on the subject of statistics data and related analytics reasoning about how gained knowledge was achieved. Storytelling within this participative web context, could more engagingly draw the user into exciting reflections and sometimes change a perspective altogether. The story is placed in the hands of those who need it, e.g. policy and decision makers, teachers but also the informed citizens. This dynamic visual storytelling is a way of telling stories through interactive web-enabled visualization with integrated snapshots highlighting important discoveries. Stories enable a leap in understanding by the audience so as to grasp how statistical indicators may influence our society. Discoveries that more engagingly draw us into reflections about the gained knowledge on how life is lived - and can be improved - from region to region and in addition let the reader dynamically participate in this web enabled process. 

storytelling loopFigure: Storytelling embedded in World eXplorer


Interactive Figure embedded into this Web Site - Click on the snapshots numbers below or interact direct with the objects:


Interactive Figure: This Vislet was produced with World eXplorer. The Vislet has 3 time-linked views showing indicators related to countries of the world “ageing population in world” during 1960–2014; map, scatter plot (age 65+ vs. age 0–14) and time chart; comparing 4 countries Niger,Qatar,  Sweden, Germany and Japan. The user learns interactively that Japan maintains highest elderly rate (Niger), while Niger has the lowest. The users can also interact  and  change  indicators  to  discover  reasons  behind  this  trend  and  gain knowledge. This Vislet can also be visualized in this blog:



Available on-line documentation at:


Available World eXplorer Flash application at:


Summary of features and functionalities

  • Web  compliant explorative, collaborative and publishable visualization optimized using Adobe© ActionScript for Flash 10;
  • Drag-and Drop views by selecting a view by "grabbing" it and dragging it to a different location in the layout;
  • Discern trends or patterns - derive insight and understandingcommunicate knowledge effectively through Storytelling and Snapshots – publish for action;
  • Explorative tools that Identify what’s meaningful in the data in ways that your eyes can see and brain can understand and keep focused on what’s important;
  • Support large spatial-temporal and multidimensional regional data using our innovative data cube architecture;
  • Import your data in EXCEL or use the direct API to World Databank with more than 500 indicators;
  • Innovative interactive methods from Information and Geographical  Visualization including choropleth map, scatter plot, time graph, dynamic histogram, table lens, parallel coordinates, scatter matrix, distribution plot;
  • Data is simultaneously explored through multiple-linked and coordinated views;
  • Map layer  architecture - overlay several types of maps such as coloured statistical regions, country boundaries, background maps e.g. Google, pie chart – control transparency level for each layer;
  • Interactive colour legend;
  • Mechanism for Storytelling and Snapshots for creating dynamic Web documents;
  • Visual inquiry and conditioned statistics filter mechanisms that help detecting outliers;
  • Interactive time animation simultaneously in all views;
  • Screen space usage is optimized for visualization– no unnecessary visible GUI panels;
  • Modular multiple-view design – move and scale the individual views and allocate more space to the visual representation that is most important;
  • Support for categorical data and visual classification of, for example, classifications the world continents.  http://ncva.itn.liu.se/explorer/categorical-data?l=en


Special educational article:

PLEASE:  Give me your feedback if you find these eXplorer web sides useful in your research or education! professor mikael.jern@liu.se

Page manager: mikael.jern@liu.se
Last updated: 2017-01-07