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GapMinder Quick Guide

Gapminder is an online tool for generating scatter plots of over 400 indicators ranging from Births and Deaths to Trade, Aid and Investment. Developed to show the world's most important trends, these indicators are used to create online graphs that display the development for over 200 countries and territories over the past 200 years on both linear and log scales. In addition to the visible display, the underlying data can be downloaded for further analysis or mapping in a GIS. Basic Use Begin at On the home page a set of pre-constructed graphs are available for viewing. Select one of interest or select the Gapminder World tab at the top of the page or Load Gapminder World button to launch Gapminder. Data, videos and support material downloads are also available from the homepage.
Pre-constructed graphs which will launch Gapminder World. Launches Gapminder World.

A Gapminder graph can display up to three indicators. In addition to the indicators on the X and Y-axis, the Bubble size (lower right-hand corner) can be used to display a third indicator using the size of the bubble; the default setting is Total Population. Select the Play button to start the animation Indicator trails to track specific countries can be set by either selecting a country in the Select box or by clicking on a country bubble on the graph. Hovering your mouse over a bubble will reveal the country name. By default, the circles themselves are color-coded to indicate geographical categories of a region or continent. The corresponding traditional map is in the upper -right of the interface. These categories can also be switched to income groups, landlocked status, or G77 and OECD countries. Any indicator can also be used to color-code the bubbles.
Gapminder Quick Guide

Telling a Story The power of Gapminder lies not only in its ability to graph a wide variety of indicators but also the story that the graph tells over time. View the video 200 years that changed the world under the videos tab. Gapminders team-led, Hans Rosling, uses the graph of Income per person vs. Life expectancy to tell a story of the world economic growth followed by improving health as well as a comparison between the United States and China from 1809 to 2007. Using trails on China and the U.S. you can see how the economic growth went in different directions in the 1800s for these two countries and it was not until the 1950s that China began to catch up with the U.S. in economic growth. Creating Your Own Graph and Story First consider a relationship you wish to explore like life expectancy and family size. Questions, such as, What has been the trend over the last 200 years? and Has the size of the family (children per woman) affected life expectancy? can be addressed. 1. Change the X-axis to Children per woman (total fertility). 2. Change the Y-axis to Life expectancy at birth (years). 3. Select Play. Stop play at anytime and manually drag time slider back-and-forth to examine a specific period of time. Also use the zoom tools in accessed in the lower right-hand corner of the graph. 4. Make observations about general trends over time. As family size decreases what happens to life expectancy? Is there a relationship between these two indicators? Although any to indicators can be graphed it is important to remember that not all indicators are related. 5. Select one or two countries to place a trail and observe how these indicators change over time. Can specific events in that countries' history be attributed to the overall trend. Consider events such as war, changing economic conditions or government policy and how they could affect the size of the family? Compare the trends of China and the U.S. What differences can you observe? Trails can be toggled on/off to the right of the Time Slider.

Zoom in and out tools. View data on/off Turn trails

Review the video What stops population growth for additional insights into this relationship discussed by Hans Rosling. Downloading Data In addition to the graphing capability of Gapminder, the data can be downloaded in spreadsheet and PDF formats. 1. To view and/or download the data used in the graph select the view data button next to the axis label. 2. Select the Download link and the desired file format to either open or save the file.
Gapminder Quick Guide 2