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Geography of Virginia,

Charles A. Grymes

Created by a professor at George Mason University, this website provides an extensive directory of websites related to everything from education to Virginia and the internet. The website provides some introductory articles, such as an excellent overview of energy in Virginia that includes graphs and history. Each section also includes a list of links. The Virginia Government section alone contains more than 100 links to further resources. While each external website is of excellent quality, it may take time to navigate from such a large body of links to the right resource.

Many Eyes from IBM,

IBM

Many Eyes is a collaborative, innovative resource for graphs, maps, charts, and other interactive resources. Users may browse data ranging from the status of smoking in Virginia restaurants (by county) to food safety or sports statistics. The website offers detailed information about different types of data visualizations (pie charts, histograms, maps, etc.) and ways to create such visualizations. Users may then input their own data into the website, complete with charts or maps. Many Eyes is an excellent tool for learning how to create and interpret many types of data sets.

Swivel Data Website,

Swivel.com

Swivel is an interactive website which allows user to explore, share, and upload "tasty data goodies." Data sets include such diverse information as the Life Expectancy in Virginia, Interest rate data from the Federal Reserve Board, and the number of people who read newspapers online. As with any source, users should evaluate the source of each data set for accuracy. Some are contributed by anonymous individuals, others come from sources such as the National Weather Service. Swivel is an excellent tool for locating and analyzing data sets for accuracy, relevance, and content.

Data.gov,

Executive Branch of the Federal Government

This website is part of President Obama's Open Government Initiative. It provides free, open access to quanitative datasets created by the Federal government. Some state/local governments have also added data, but as yet Virginia is not one of them. Data sets include categories such as geography and environment, education and transportation. This data provides excellent primary source material, and offers many opportunities to create and interpret maps, diagrams, tables, charts, graphs, and spreadsheets.

Gapminder,

Gapminder Foundation

Gapminder provides free access to statistics (usually gathered from the United Nations) presented in moving data visualization charts. These statistics aren’t boring—data sets flow over time and offer surprising insights into public health, trade, and other issues. Users can select states such as Virginia and compare them to hundreds of countries throughout the world, including China, the United Kingdom, and Mexico. Statistics track a variety of indicators, including income, insurance “uncoverage,” immigration, and “best teeth.” Users can watch a video tutorial, as well as videos applying the information to real-world scenarios. This website is particularly useful for anyone learning about graphs, public policy issues, and the relationship between Virginia and the rest of the world.

Dr. Dean Ornish on the world's killer diet,

Dean Ornish

This video serves as an excellent background source for information about the obesity epidemic in Virginia and elsewhere. Drawing from CDC and other public health research, Dr. Dean Ornish discusses the effect of diet on obesity, cardiovascular,…

Virginia Obesity Rates - CDC graph,

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

These graphs reflect growing trends in the "obesity epidemic" taking place in Virginia and other areas of the United States. The data was compiled by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a government department.

What are some…

Great Britain: About the House of Lords,

House of Lords

Prepared by the British government, this document provides an overview of the House of Lords, Parliament, and the Supreme Court system in Great Britain. The House of Lords is the second chamber of British Parliament, and its members are not elected…

How Should the Government Respond to Obesity?,

Tanya Wanchek

Exploring different government policies on obesity, a well-recognized public health problem in the Commonwealth and in states across the country, encourages one to think through the advantages and disadvantages of public policy.  Furthermore, it…

U.S. Census Educational Resources,

U.S. Census Bureau

This website from the U.S. Census Bureau has a series of educational materials related to use of the U.S. Census, including maps, community involvement, and data (in pdf format). There are also lesson plans for each section (in ASCII format) that offer guides on how to use these materials in the classroom. State Facts also offers a page on Virginia with more unusual data, such as the number of amusement parks. This website offers a window into how the Census works, and gives ideas on how that data might be used in government decision-making processes.