For questions or comments, see also the StatPlanet Forum.
Custom maps / GIS:
Installation / system requirements:
Usage and distribution of StatPlanet:
Custom maps / GIS:
Yes, if you download StatPlanet Map Maker, a Flash template is included for inserting your own maps (in the directory 'Custom_Map'). This requires Adobe Flash CS3 or higher. Maps need to be in a vector format, for example the Adobe Illustrator format (.AI). Software such as ArcGIS or MAPublisher can be used to export ESRI shapefiles in the Adobe Illustrator format. See also importing ESRI shapefiles below.
The following are useful websites for finding free shapefiles (regional / administrative boundaries maps).
Note that you need to download the boundary files in the ".SHP" format.
- Map Library - Public domain maps for most countries in the world.
- UN SALB - Second Administrative Level Boundaries data set project. These maps are free but copyright rests with the UN. The maps are validated by the National Mapping Agencies (NMA) of each UN Member State.
- MapCruzin - A great source for all kinds of shapefiles.
- US Census Bureau - USA County and District Cartographic Boundary Files.
See also this list of StatPlanet country map downloads.
The data comes from many different sources, which are listed here.
The data in StatPlanet is updated regularly. However, for many indicators the most recent data available from the source website is two to four years old (due to the time taken to compile the data from the different sources). For the latest data, you may wish to check the sources of the data which are indicated in StatPlanet for each data category (see also below on how to add your own data).
Yes, you can create interactive maps of your own data by downloading StatPlanet Map Maker. See also StatPlanet Lite for importing your own maps, or download StatPlanet Graph Maker for any other kinds of data you wish to visualize.
StatPlanet Plus will soon provide support for XML - see for example StatPlanet World Bank. For large amounts of data, CSV is often the better choice because the file sizes are much smaller. For a given data set, XML files are often between 5 and 15 times larger than the equivalent amount of data stored as a CSV file. For small data files (e.g. 20 kb) this is not a big issue, but for larger files (e.g. 1000 kb), the difference in download time could be minutes rather than seconds. StatPlanet has support for ZIP compression, which can significantly reduce the size of both XML and CSV files - often making the difference between them negligible. However, this is only an option if XML is delivered as a file and not 'live' from a database.
Data stored in the XML format is much larger because each data element needs to be described or 'tagged'. This requires many characters - often more characters than the data element itself. For example, each data element may be described as follows (in this example, assigning the value of 21.5 to a specific indicator, country and year):
In a CSV file, the country, indicator and year only need to be indicated once for a set of data elements. The data elements themselves are seperated with a comma.
Any format readable by Excel can be imported, such as XLS, XLSX, CSV, TXT and HTML. The import macro will automatically recognize the structure of your data file and switch columns to rows or vice versa if necessary.
StatPlanet - Map Maker can be used to automatically import country-based data from a wide variety of data sources. The data editor can recognizes commonly used spellings of country names. You can also easily add new spellings to the list of recognized country names in the data editor.
Graph Maker can be used to automatically import any kind of data. Once you have added your data headers / variables in the data editor, it can automatically import data by looking for these headers / variables in the data file. See also:
- Can I have/import more than 256 columns of data?
If you have a map with more than 256 regions or districts, you need more than 256 columns of data. This is possible with Excel 2007 or later when the column limit was increased to over 16000 columns.
An Excel 2007 version of the StatPlanet Data Editor comes included with StatPlanet Plus.
You can also edit the data.csv file directly in Excel 2007.
Below are instructions for converting an existing StatPlanet Data Editor to the Excel 2007 format (an Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook or .xlsm file):
- Create a new document and go to File -> Save as, and type in the name StatPlanet_data_editor. For 'Save as type' select 'Macro-Enabled Workbook (.xlsm)', and click on Save. (Note: you need to save it in the same directory as the old Data Editor.
- Copy and paste the sheets from the original Data Editor to your new one:
- Go the original Data Editor.
- Right-click on the sheet name (in the bottom left of the Excel workbook), and select 'Move or Copy'.
- For 'To book:' select the new Data Editor workbook (note: it should be open in Excel).
- Check the box 'Create a copy' and click on OK.
- Repeat this for all the sheets.
- You will also need to copy the Visual Basic code:
- If you have no 'Developer' tab (the right-most tab), click on the round Windows button in the top-left corner, and select 'Excel Options'. Then check the box 'Show Developer tab in the Ribbon' (it is in the 'Popular' section), and click on OK.
- Click on the Developer tab, and then click on the left-most button 'Visual Basic'.
- Insert a new Module and UserForm in the new Data Editor (Right click on 'VBAProject StatPlanet_data_editor' shown on the left, and select Insert).
- Copy and paste the contents from the old Module and UserForm (called ProgressBar) into the new one.
- Finally, you need to change one line of code in the Visual Basic code in Module1:
newFilename = Application.Substitute(newFilename, "xls", "csv")
needs to be changed to:
newFilename = Application.Substitute(newFilename, "xlsm", "csv")
(this is because the filename changed from ".xls" to ".xlsm").
Installation / system requirements:
StatPlanet requires no installation. No additional software is needed to run the offline version, but the online version requires the Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above). Flash Player is already installed on about 99 percent of Internet-enabled computers. To add your own data, Microsoft Excel is required for automatic importing of data, but any spreadsheet software can be used to add data manually.
You can download StatPlanet either as a ZIP file or as an EXE file. For help on extracting ZIP files see this video on extracting ZIP files.
A modern PC is not required to run StatPlanet. For a Windows PC, the minimum requirement is an Intel® Pentium® II 450MHz processor with 128 MB of RAM. The web-based version of StatPlanet requires the Adobe Flash Player (version 9) to run, which supports Windows, Macintosh and Linux platforms. The offline version of StatPlanet is currently only available for Windows.
You can also use the Adobe Flash Player system requirements as a guideline.
Language:StatPlanet Plus supports non-Latin character sets (e.g. Arabic, Chinese or Hebrew).
For more information, please contact
To publish StatPlanet in a CMS-based blog or website, you need to upload all the StatPlanet files to the designated area on the website where you normally put external files and images. For example, in the directory http://www.mywebsite.com/files. Create a sub-folder (e.g. 'statplanet') and place the files here.
You can then link to the StatPlanet file from any webpage, e.g. http://www.mywebsite.com/files/statplanet/StatPlanet.html
If you wish to embed StatPlanet inside your website, the solution depends on the CMS you are using. The steps for embedding StatPlanet in two of the most popular CMS's - Drupal and WordPress - are provided below. A similar approach may work for other CMS's if they have specific ways for dealing with Flash contents.
- Download and install the Drupal module Flash Node
- The option to add a Flash Node should now appear in your website menu. So add a Flash Node
- Where it asks you to 'Choose File', select the StatPlanet.swf file (which is the loader)
- In the Basic flash node options, insert the Width and Height (e.g. width 765 / height 567).
- In the Advanced flash node options, under Base, insert the location where you placed the StatPlanet files above. For example: /files/statplanet
(no need to put the full path)
- In Body, you can add text / images / contents as with any other Drupal page.
- Click on Submit and you should now see StatPlanet embedded in your website.
See some examples.
- Install the WordPress plugin Kimili Flash Embed.
- Place the Statplanet data and flash files into a directory underneath wp-content/uploads, e.g.
- In the header.php file, place a base tag within the <head></head> tags, with the full path pointing to the directory where your files are stored. This needs to be made conditional so that it is only inserted on pages with StatPlanet embedded, e.g.
if ($page_title == 'Statplanet page'): <base href="http://www.examplewebsite.com/wp-content/uploads/statplanet/" /> endif;
If you are embedding StatPlanet into posts, an alternative way to the above is to create a category for StatPlanet posts, and categorize the posts accordingly. The conditional statement in the header.php file could then be as follows:
if (in_category(5)): <base href="http://www.examplewebsite.com/wp-content/uploads/statplanet/" /> endif;
Go into the post or page where you want to embed statplanet, click on the HTML tab and you will see a button Kimili Flash embed. Insert the filename of the flash file e.g. StatPlanet.swf and then publish.
If you get an error message when you press 'Save' in the StatPlanet Data Editor, check the following:
- Have you unzipped / extracted the files? You will get this error message if you have opened the Data Editor without extracting the StatPlanet directories and files onto your computer.
- Make sure that the file 'data.csv' is not open when you press the 'Save' button.
- Make sure you have not renamed any of the Excel sheets in the StatPlanet Data Editor.
If you still have problems, download the Map Maker installer. If you get the message 'publisher cannot be verified', click on 'run'. Then select a location where you wish to install StatPlanet Map Maker. This installer will install StatPlanet with the correct directory structure.
See also: Troubleshooting
Usage of StatPlanet:
StatPlanet can be used for many different purposes. The aim of the software is to better visualize and communicate information to support evidence-based decision making. You may wish to have a look at some examples of StatPlanet usage.
StatPlanet can be freely used, distributed and placed on any website. You may also distribute StatPlanet via CD-ROM or other media. However, please include a reference to StatPlanet if it is used in a website, CD-ROM or publication, as follows:
Frank van Cappelle (2011) StatPlanet: Interactive Data Visualization and Mapping Software, http://www.sacmeq.org/statplanet
See also: StatPlanet License.
If you are using or would like to use StatPlanet, we would appreciate it if you
Yes, StatPlanet can be freely downloaded, copied and distributed to others via any medium (such as a CD or USB Flash drive) without requiring permission.
Please also read the StatPlanet License