“A dashboard is a visual
display of the most important information needed to achieve one
or more objectives; consolidated and arranged on a single screen
so the information can be monitored at a glance.”
—Stephen Few, Information Dashboard Design
The world has a critical need to see itself as one
interconnected whole rather than disparate countries, cities, tribes,
cultures, religions or special interests. Without this unitary view
of intertwined fates, the parochial trumps the planetary, narrow
self-interest bests enlightened self-interest, greed beats generosity—
and the world is endangered through short-term and near-sighted
thinking and actions. The lessons of history lead to the conclusion
that humanity might not survive if these negative conditions win
Because of the interconnections of science, technology, economy,
culture, environment, problems and options— and the intertwined
fate of all life on board “Spaceship Earth,” there is a critical
need for a tool similar in purpose and function to a vehicle’s dashboard.
An Earth Dashboard is needed so that everyone from UN Representatives
and world leaders to students and the general public can get an
easy-to-understand fix on the condition of their ship, its resources,
problems, crew and passengers. Because we are now, more than ever,
one world, we need a one-screen dashboard type of display that shows
us the key indicators of our ship. Because of the size and complexity
of our ship, an Earth Dashboard also needs to be able to zoom in
from the whole Earth to the local and to do so in a way that shows
links between levels.
If the world had such a dashboard, and this dashboard was available
in a highly visible and credible public (and web) location where
all could get access and see it, the dashboard would function as
a critical source of global visualization. Those viewing the dashboard
will come away with an increased and more tangible sense of the
whole world, its interrelations, problems, and options. If this
dashboard is interactive and involves the viewer, its power and
impact will be even greater.
The UN Earth Dashboard and its web-based version will
be a place where people come from around the world to see what is
happening right now on the planet. This will be done through a series
of live, real time meters, gauges, trends, maps, maps in time series,
viability thermometers and alarms (among many other data visualization
techniques) that transform UN statistical data into exciting visualizations.
These historical data sets will be supplemented with live feeds
from web cams, satellite images and other sources.
EarthGame, Inc., the United Nations Department of Public Information,
and their collaborators, will design, build and maintain the large-scale
(10 meter by 2.5 meter) high definition UN Earth Dashboard video
wall for and at UN Headquarters in New York and on the web.
UN EARTH DASHBOARD
Making the world visible—Interactive data visualizations of
key global indicators: increasing transparency, understanding and