In the past, trade data was often made available in large spreadsheets or in databases that proved difficult to analyse and interpret for the average exporter. This new tool – Data Mapper® – enables trade and economic researchers to access different data sets and to view the data from several different perspectives. Users can select and compare data across countries, regions, and groups (such as developed/developing countries), using the world map or a pull-down menu. The Data Mapper tool displays the selected data in chart form, and the map and charts are interactive. For example, changing the time period by sliding along the time axis on a line chart causes the annual data displayed on the map and the map colors to change. The data can also be printed or exported to other applications in the form of a spreadsheet, or as chart or map images.
Our initial view of this tool was; “Wow! This is a great tool for the exporter”. And in fact it is, but it is not as easy to use as is suggested. In fact, our first thought was that it is actually very complicated for the first-time user. After spending some time with the tool, it becomes easier to use, but what the site really lacks is a ‘user manual’.
So what we at ExportHelp have tried to do is to provide a very basic user quide for this otherwise useful tool. Before you read through our user guide, we suggest that you have a look at Data Mapper and play around with it first. Perhaps you find it easier to use than we did. If you struggle, only then should you read through our user guide and try out our instructions on the Data Mapper tool. Hopefully you will find that it actually works quite well.
Why use Data Mapper?
There are several reasons why you should consider using the Data Mapper tool. These include:
- It provides you with access to valuable trade-related data available from both the IMF and the OECD, such as GDP, GDP growth, GDP per capita, imports, exports, population, exchange rates, etc.
- It enables you to view this data visually in either a map or bubble chart that is more meaningful than just browsing through a spreadsheet or comparing basic graphs
- It provides you with a historical time line on each of the datasets – from 1980 onwards
- The data is extrapolated forward for five years
- It allows you to target in on a single year and to see the data for just that year
- It allows you to see data per country
- It allows you to compare data across several countries at once
- The bubble chart allows you to compare different subjects within a dataset, such as comparing GDP with exports
- The bubble graph chart allows you to bring in a third dimension (either GDP or population) into you graph
- It allows you to export the data into a spreadsheet or to capture the line graph or bubble chart as an image and use it in a presentation