The OurWorldInData-Grapher


# The open-source tool to store and visualize data online

As every other tool developed and used at OurWorldInData this tool is also completely open source and is free to use on any other web publication. The Grapher is completely open source on GitHub.

The OurWorldInData-Grapher is the chart building tool which is used on our web-publication

Essentially these are two tools in one:

  1. A first tool allows the author to upload panel data into one central SQL database and tn the process of uploading the data, the author can store all the relevant information about the data source so that the authors get credited and the definitions, units, and other relevant information get stored with the data.
  2. A second tool then allows to pull any of the data from this database and visualize it in an interactive chart in many, many different ways.

We have so far developed the capabilities to visualize data in the following ways:

  • scatter plot,
  • line chart,
  • slope chart,
  • stacked area chart,
  • bar chart (horizontal and vertical; single- and multi-bar charts)
  • choropleth maps (world maps and maps of all countries and continents)

With this tool it will is possible for the reader to pull the information for additional countries from the database and add them to the visualization. The reader can then build her own charts or maps and save it as a .svg vector image or as a .png image. These visualizations work for all countries, many different data types and are highly customizable.
The OurWorldInData-Grapher was developed by the web developers Zdenek Hynek and Jaiden Mispy with the support from Max Roser. Since February 2016 Jaiden Mispy is the developer of the Grapher.


Zdenek Hynek shows in this short video the basic work flow to store data and create a chart:

The Grapher makes use of the beautiful reusable visualizations made available by two libraries that have been built on top of D3: The library datamaps.js for maps and the NVD3.js library for line charts, bar charts and some other types of charts. The backend is written in PHP using the Laravel Framework. The frontend is written using Backbone.js. You find more information and the source code on the Grapher page at GitHub.

Line chart
Here is the empirical evidence on child mortality visualised – to show an example of what a line chart visualsiation done with the OurWorldInData-Grapher looks like.

A slope chart

A stacked area chart with change country function

You can click on Change Country to see the data for a different country.

Choropleth World Maps

World maps with numerical (ratio) data

Political Regime Map

World map with categorical data that is coded as numerical data and then displayed with category names

Scatter plot – with time axis