Free Our Data: the blog

A Guardian Technology campaign for free public access to data about the UK and its citizens

Using Gapminder to compare the countries studied by OS: how did they choose?

See this screenshot on Flickr

Interesting to look at the countries which Ordnance Survey studied for its, er, study. Note that the study – which one would have hoped might be at least exhaustive, since it’s a one-off chance to really show things – excluded South Africa because it doesn’t have a comparable GDP per capita to the UK. Apparently comparable GDP was a specific measure used to decide who to examine.

Well, Gapminder offers the chance to analyse countries’ GDP per capita.

OK. So OS looked at Australia, Canada, France, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden, and the US – which, as Gapminder shows, do indeed have comparable GDP per capita. (This link may give you the graph – though you might have to click on the “map” link, and then go back to the “graph” link and play the runthrough.

But wait, what’s this? If you look at the graph, there are all sorts of other countries in there with comparable GDP/capita.

Even between New Zealand (the lowest) and Norway (the highest – didn’t expect that, eh?) there are loads of countries.

To wit: Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Cyprus; Japan, Hong Kong. Monaco, Isle of Man, New Caledonia; Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Sweden; Germany, Austria, Spain, Switzerland.

Anyone want to suggest any reasons for ignoring those? And what the business models are for their mapping agencies?

And it doesn’t make much sense if you compare GDP/capita against land area either.

Here’s the picture. Go analyse yourself – please. I’m too puzzled.

    The following posts may be related...(the database guesses):