For questions or comments, see also the Forum.
Custom maps / GIS:
Yes, StatPlanet comes with a Flash template for creating your own maps. 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 shapefile maps below.
Yes, StatPlanet Lite and StatPlanet Plus have support for loading GIS / ESRI shapefiles. You would need to use the 'Shapefile_Map' version included with both StatPlanet Lite and StatPlanet Plus. For more details on loading a map into StatPlanet, please see the Quick Start Developer Guide. See also: finding free shapefile maps.
Please see the free shapefile map downloads section. It includes a list of country maps available for download, as well as links to websites where shapefiles can be freely downloaded.
Cities, countries, regional aggregations etc. can be added to StatPlanet and will appear in the graphs and country/region list. In StatPlanet Plus, they can also be added as ‘map points’ (for example, a “city point” placed in a country map). The procedure is as follows:
- Open the StatPlanet Data Editor and in the worksheet "Import" go all the way to the last country or map region at the end of row 2.
- Insert the name(s) of your map point(s) in this row and press the button Save data. Data can be added in this column in the same way as with any other map area. You will need to add some data for this map point in order for it to appear in the map. (Note: once you have pressed Save data, the map point name should also have been added in the worksheet “Data”. If you cannot see the map point in StatPlanet, please check the worksheet “Data” to confirm it has also been added here).
StatPlanet Plus only:
- When you next open StatPlanet, one or more map points (in the form of a circle) will appear in the top left corner of the map, representing each of the new map areas added. Right click anywhere inside StatPlanet and in the popup select ‘Move text labels or map points’. Click on the map point and then click anywhere on the screen to move it to this new location. Similarly, the text label for a map point can be dragged and dropped to a new location.
- To copy the map point coordinates, right click again and select ‘copy map point coordinates’.
- Open the StatPlanet Data Editor and go the sheet ‘Settings’. Scroll down to ‘Special options’ and next to M-DOT-COORD paste the coordinates you just copied. In this section you can also set the size of the circle representing the map point. Click on Save Settings to save.
Yes you can export the map as a vector image in the PDF format. This enables you to print the map in high resolution as well as edit the map outside of StatPlanet.
To export as a PDF you can use the free pdf-creator software. Once this is installed, it should appear as a printer. The next step is to open the desktop version of StatPlanet (StatPlanet.exe). Once you are viewing the map you wish to export, select File -> Print -> PDFCreator. You should see an option to save the PDF file onto your PC. When opening the PDF file, you will notice you can zoom in to your map without loss of quality. The map can also be edited using software such as Adobe Illustrator.
StatPlanet runs in Flash-Player which means that all on-screen drawing is vector-based. Hence, not only maps but also graphs, charts and other interface elements can be exported in vector format through the method described above.
Since StatPlanet can be used to read shapefile maps, this method can be used to convert shapefile maps into various vector formats. For example, Inkscape can be used to convert the exported vector PDF into the SVG vector format, and Adobe Illustrator can convert the vector PDF into the AI or SWF vector formats. Once a shapefile map has been converted into vector format it can be imported into and edited using Adobe Flash Professional, to create customized maps for StatPlanet.
The data comes from many different sources, which are listed here.
Yes, you can create and publish interactive maps using your own data by downloading StatPlanet.
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.
Yes you can change the name of the data file. An example is included in the folder 'web' - file 'StatPlanet_options.html'. The name of the settings file can also be changed. The example code in 'StatPlanet.html' is as follows:
flashvars.data = "data.csv"; flashvars.settings = "settings.csv";
The name of the data file can also be dynamically generated, e.g. via PHP. In addition you can specify a sub-directory where the file can be found, e.g. "mysubdirectory/mydatafile.csv". StatPlanet and StatTrends also accept a data file in the form of a ZIP file, to reduce the file size, for example "mydatafile.zip".
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 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.
StatTrends 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.
StatPlanet and StatTrends support any kind of date or time format. However, the import macro currently only recognizes years (e.g. in the format "2010"). To import data which uses a different date or time-based format such as months, you could use the following workaround:
1. In your data file, replace your date or time-units with years temporarily, just to import them in the correct order (for example, January - December could be replaced with 2001 - 2012)
2. Once the data has been imported, change the years back to their original date or time-units.
The alternative is to insert the data manually, or import it one date-unit at a time. Hence, the workaround above is generally the most efficient option.
The import macro imports only one category at a time. However, this category can include multiple indicators, for multiple years, as in this example file structured for import.
For importing multiple categories of data, the easiest option is to split your data set into different categories as in the above example, with one category per Excel sheet or Excel document. Then each Excel sheet or Excel document is imported one at a time. The categories are named 'new category' by default, so you would just need to rename the categories after import.
For more information about the data structure, see also the Quick Start Developer Guide.
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").
StatPlanet and StatTrends do not support the 'percentage' format in Excel. Therefore, to display percentages, you would need to save numbers in the regular number format rather than the Excel percentage format. An easy way to convert a number formatted as percentage to a regular number in the StatPlanet Data Editor is as follows:
- Select the numbers you wish to convert.
- Right-click and select 'Format Cells'.
- Select the 'General' format or alternatively the 'Number' format and click OK (the display of numbers will change from e.g. 1% to 0.01).
- In an empty cell, insert the number '100'. Then copy this cell.
- Select the numbers you wish to convert and click on 'Paste Special'. Then select 'Multiply'. This will multiply all the numbers by 100.
- Remove the cell with the number '100'.
- For the indicator(s) which display percentages, go to the 'UNIT' column and insert the symbol: %
Installation / system requirements:
StatSilk software requires no installation. Moreover, 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.
A modern PC is not required to run StatPlanet or StatTrends, and it also runs on many Android-based mobiles and smartphones. 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.
StatPlanet and StatTrends also run on most recent Android-based mobile phones and tablets. See also the section below for more information on running it on an iPad or iPhone.
You can also use the Adobe Flash Player system requirements as a guideline.
StatSilk software runs on a Mac as long as the Adobe Flash Player is installed. The desktop version provided with StatPlanet and StatTrends is Windows only, but on a Mac you can still run the software inside your web-browser by opening 'StatPlanet.html' or 'StatTrends.html' in the folder 'web'. Data can be imported using Excel for Mac. However, but not all versions of Excel for Mac have support for macros which are required to automatically import data. Macros are supported in Excel 2004 for Mac and again since Excel 2011. If macros are not supported, data can still be inserted manually as described in the Developer's Guide. Please note that the data.csv file needs to be saved as a "Windows Comma Separated (.csv)".
StatSilk software is Flash based which is not supported on iPads. However, there are a number of apps for running Flash contents such as iSwifter, available from the appstore. Please note that this app is not free (recently selling for around 5 USD with a limited free testing period) and that we in no way endorse using this application. Although it has been tested to run successfully with iSwifter please purchase the app at your own risk. Another popular iPad app for running Flash contents is Photon Flash Player Browser. This app has not yet been tested with StatSilk software.
A free iPad app of StatPlanet has been developed and should be available in the AppStore soon. A version for the iPhone may follow in the near future.
Yes, Microsoft has integrated Adobe's Flash Player natively into Internet Explorer 10 (StatPlanet/StatTrends are Flash-based). Previously, for the 'metro-style' version of Internet Explorer, websites running Flash-based applications needed to be approved and whitelisted by Microsoft. However, this is now no longer the case - please see the Microsoft news release for more details. Therefore, StatSilk software will run on any website in both the traditional desktop and metro editions of Internet Explorer 10, except if the website is 'blacklisted' by Microsoft.
Updating to the latest version while keeping your data and settings can be done by following these steps:
- Make a copy of your original StatPlanet Data Editor (i.e. edit->copy, edit->paste in the same folder to get the filename 'StatPlanet Data Editor copy').
- Download the latest version of the software and extract the files onto your computer.
- Go to the folder matching the version you are updating (i.e. if you are updating StatPlanet USA, open the USA folder). Open the StatPlanet Data Editor, and select the sheet 'Tools' in the bottom-right corner.
- Ensure that macros are enabled and click the button 'Copy data & settings into this file'.
- Select the file 'StatPlanet Data Editor copy' (from which you wish to copy over the data and/or settings) and follow the on-screen instructions.
StatPlanet is available in the following languages:
- Bahasa Indonesia (courtesy of the Government of Indonesia)
- Danish (courtesy of Peter Erbs-Maibing, Research Centre for Prevention and Health, Denmark)
- Portuguese Brazilian (courtesy of the Instituto Centro de Vida)
- Russian (courtesy of Andrey Loschilov)
- Turkish (courtesy of Emre Koyuncu) - as of v 3.1
These translations are included in the StatPlanet Data Editor. Please see the User Guide for information on switching language and modifying or adding a translation.
Yes, StatPlanet Plus supports non-Latin international character sets. Please note that right-to-left fonts (e.g. Arabic and Hebrew) are not yet supported.
To use them, please follow these steps:
1. Remove the files "data.csv" and "settings.csv" in the main directory and also in the directory 'web'.
2. In the StatPlanet Data Editor, go to the sheet "Settings". Under Startup options - Data format, select: TXT (tab-separated values). Then click on “Save settings”.
3. The international character sets can now be used in the desktop version of StatPlanet Plus. The web version does not include the international character set by default. This is only available in the purchased/licensed version on request.
The following character sets are available:
- Chinese (All character sets)
- Cyrillic (for Russian, Serbo-Croatian and Tajik, amongst others)
- Devanagari (for Hindi, Marathi and Nepali, amongst others)
- Japanese (All character sets)
- Korean (All character sets) - for the desktop version, Shapefile map edition, please download and use the Korean StatPlanet.exe file to display Korean characters.
- Latin I, Latin Extended A, Latin Extended B, Latin Extended Add'l
Wix does not allow Flash contents that loads external files, and therefore StatPlanet / StatTrends (which are Flash-based) cannot be embedded. This is based on the situation in March 2012, which may change in the future. Another web hosting service is therefore required. For more information please see embedding SWF files in Wix.
Yes, through the public folder feature. If you do not have a public folder, please see 'Creating a public folder' on this page. Then use the 'copy public link' feature to get the web-link to the file 'StatPlanet.html'. You can find this option either by right-clicking on the file in the public folder within the DropBox website, or on your PC, right-clicking and choosing Dropbox -> Copy public link.
To publish StatPlanet in a CMS-based blog or website, you need to upload all the StatPlanet files in the folder 'web' to the designated area on the website where you normally put external files and images. For example, in the directory 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 as described 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.
- Download and install the modules and CKEditor and CKEditor SWF (support for "CKEditor SWF module" would need to be enabled in the CKeditor Plugins settings).
- Add a basic page or other kind of content, and in the CKEditor click on the red 'Flash' icon.
- Below 'URL', insert the location where you placed the files as described above, followed by 'StatPlanet.swf'. For example: /files/statplanet/StatPlanet.swf
- Insert the Width and Height according to preference (e.g. width 765 / height 567).
- Select the Properties tab, and below 'Base' insert the location where you placed the files. For example: /files/statplanet. If you do not see the 'Base' option, make sure that the 'Text format' (shown below the body/contents area) is set to 'Full HTML'.
- Click on OK and save the page.
- 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.
Update for Excel 2010 - It appears that Skype (or possibly other applications) can cause an error in Excel 2010 which prevents the 'paste' functionality from working properly. This will cause an error when pressing the 'Save button'. For more information please see the Microsoft Support forum.
If you get an error message when you press 'Save' in the StatPlanet Data Editor, please 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, nor any of the original filenames and directories.
- Make sure the files are copied (extracted) to a place where you have permission to save data. If you copied the software into the 'Program Files' directory you may get a VB runtime error 1004. Copying it to your 'Documents' folder, or the desktop (for example) would resolve this issue.
The shapefile map may not load for various reasons:
- Map ID error: The DBF file (map.dbf) uses an ID containing special characters which are not supported. It needs to have an ID which is alphabetical (a-z or A-Z), numerical or alphanumeric. The solution is to create one yourself by editing the DBF file. As of Excel 2007, DBF support is no longer included, but Open Office Calc can be used as a free DBF file editor.
- Time-out error: The shapefile is too large leading to a time-out error. This might be an issue if your shapefile is over 10 mb and/or contains a large number of regions. See how to reduce the size of a map for significantly reducing the map size. As of StatPlanet Plus v 3.0, larger shapefile maps are supported.
- Unknown shapetype error:
- Use the free Quantum GIS software to open the shapefile (Layer -> Add Vector Layer -> Browse). Simplify the map if required (to reduce the file size). Then save the shapefile through (Layer -> Save As). If it still does not work, you may need to save it as WGS 84 (Coordinate reference system).
- Other: If none of the above apply, there may be a problem with the shapefile itself. Most commonly, the number of map areas in the DBF file do not match the map areas in the shapefile (SHP) itself. StatPlanet is sensitive to such issues, so even though it may open successfully in a GIS application, it cannot be read by StatPlanet. Specialized GIS software may be needed to resolve such errors.
This issue can be resolved by replacing the file 'SHPreader.swf' with 'SHPreader2.swf' included with the shapefile version of StatPlanet. You may first wish to make a copy of the file 'SHPreader.swf', then remove the original 'SHPreader.swf' and rename the file 'SHPreader2.swf' to 'SHPreader.swf'. For the web-version, you would need to copy the 'SHPreader.swf' file also into the 'web' directory.
The most likely issue is that there is a problem in reading the data structure. Errors in the data structure can generally be avoided by using the Import macro in the StatPlanet Data Editor. To check whether the data structure is correct, please see: data file structure. If you are editing the data.csv file directly on a Mac, please note that the data.csv file needs to be saved as a "Windows Comma Separated (.csv)".
Shapefile version: map related issue
If you are using the 'shapefile version' of StatPlanet, the most common cause is that StatPlanet is unable to access the files map/map.dbf and map/map.shp. To verify if this is the case, try opening the following page in your web-browser:
www.mywebsite.com/statplanet-location/map/map.dbf (replacing the first part of the link with the location of StatPlanet on your website).
If you get a 'page not found' error, the problem is either:
(i) the map directory has not been copied to your web-server, or
(ii) access permission for the directory 'map' and/or the files 'map.dbf' and 'map.shp' is currently restricted.
If it is an access permission error, this can be resolved by navigating to the map folder through FTP and right-clicking on the folder/files and enabling access. The exact method depends on the software and operating system you are using to access your files.
StatPlanet files cannot be found, freezing on the loading screen
If it freezes on the loading screen, it could be that the StatPlanet files cannot be located (which could be the case when for example hosting StatPlanet within a CMS or SharePoint environment). The location of the StatPlanet files on the server can be specified in two ways. The first is to use the "base" tag in html (see also using the base tag), e.g.
<base href="/files/statplanet/" />
The text '/uploads/statplanet' would need to be replaced with the directory on your web server where the StatPlanet files are actually located.
Web-server issue in loading the data.csv file
If none of the above work, the web server may be unable to load the data.csv file. If this is the case, the solution would be to:
(i) Zip the data.csv file, creating a zip file called data.zip which contains the file data.csv
(ii) Upload the file data.zip to the web server into the same directory as the data.csv file
StatPlanet will automatically read data from the data.zip file, which may resolve the issue.
Usage and distribution of StatPlanet & StatTrends:
In terms of functionality the web and desktop versions are the same, except only the web version has the option to export maps and graphs as images. To publish StatPlanet Plus or StatTrends Plus on to a web domain you would need a license for the web version. All 'development side' aspects can still be done on the desktop with the web license, such as modifying/importing maps, importing data and customizing the software. The distinction between the two is only in terms of the end-user. If users access the software on the web, then the web license is needed. If users also need to be able to work with the software on their desktop, then the desktop license is (also) required.
Yes, StatPlanet and StatTrends can be freely downloaded, copied and distributed to others via any medium (such as a CD or USB Flash drive) without requiring permission.
However, please include a reference to statsilk.com if it is used in a website, CD-ROM or publication.
See also the license terms.
The software is not open source and the code cannot be purchased. However, the following components are open source and can be modified:
- The Flash template in the 'custom Flash map' version of StatPlanet can be edited. It can be used to create your own map designs, as well as add any other features, design elements and text you may wish to include in your maps.
- The 'shapefile' code is open source and can therefore be modified and extended. This code is used to draw the shapefile maps.
- The StatPlanet Data Editor is open source. It is used to automate the process of importing data, save the data file and save the settings file in a format which can be read by StatPlanet. It can therefore be modified to better suit the format and structure of your data when importing.
In addition, the StatPlanet or StatTrends logo in the bottom-right corner of the main application screen can be replaced with a custom logo from an external image file when a license is purchased.
If you require other modifications, please contact us for a paid customization or make a request in the Forum. Many suggestions for improvement have been incorporated into the next version of the software, but unfortunately it is not possible to incorporate all requests.