Google has built an interactive visualization, looking at (and mapping out) data about the global arms trade, using the open source WebGL Globe on Google’s Chrome Experiments site.
The visualization lets you look at numerous data points by country and year, by letting you spin around and zoom in and out of the globe.
“The tool was produced by Google’s Creative Lab team in collaboration with the Igarape Institute,” explains Google Ideas Deputy Director Scott Carpenter. “More than 1 million data points on imports and exports of small arms, light weapons and ammunition between 1992 and 2010 and across 250 states and territories across the world were provided by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) small arms database. The visualization reveals patterns and trends in imports and exports of arms and ammunition across the world, making it easy to explore how they relate to conflicts worldwide.”
The company also shared this video about the arms trade from the INFO Summit last month, which was hosted by Google Ideas:
Google says it is encouraging others to take advantage of the WebGL globe for other datasets, since it is open source. It will be interesting to see what others may produce, indeed.
If you need some help in the WebGL development department, you might want to check out this recent developer hangout from Google.