DataViva is a data visualization platform focused on Big Data. Its mission is to support decision-making processes and scientific research through the use of large data sets, strengthening a data-driven culture in the public and private spheres. The platform is developed under open source technologies, allowing replication, validation and contribution from the scientific community.
The construction of DataViva was a response from the Government of Minas Gerais to the challenge of promoting the sophistication of the state's economy. This challenge is based on an old, but still current diagnosis of the state's economy: Minas Gerais has a primary-export profile, where the bulk of its exported production is composed by of primary products, in other words, those arising from extractive activities – such as mining – or agriculture. One of the main problems that may come from the high degree of the dependence of these products on the export agenda of the state is the fact that, as they are commodities, their prices are negotiated on the international market, which in turn depends on the direction of the global economy, leading to overexposure of the state's economy to external economic oscillations. In addition, it is desirable that the state's economy can produce goods of a high technological nature and added value, because the economic activities linked to such production have greater capacity to generate income, both because they are intensive in knowledge, demanding more qualified professionals – and who receive higher wages – and because the presence of these activities in a given region stimulates the production of similar products, increasing the diversification and dynamism of the economy.
The promotion of the development of the economy of Minas Gerais, however, ran into the constant lack of updated information on the state of its economy. The DataViva emerged as a solution to this problem by aggregating in the same platform, several data sources about the economy of Minas Gerais, providing interactive visualizations and standardized databases. Additionally, DataViva incorporated the "product space" methodology as a way of comprehendingthe relationships between the different economic activities in the state. The methodology, originally proposed by researchers from Havard, allows identifying the sectors that are more technologically sophisticated, based on indicators of economic complexity. These sectors could be priority targets in the development strategy of the state insofar as, by stimulating these sectors, various other sectors and economic activities they connect would benefit as well. The project, funded by FAPEMIG, was carried out by the Government of Minas Gerais in collaboration with researchers from Harvard and MIT, with the active participation of several other public and private institutions in its development. Throughout its construction, it was observed that DataViva could be used to understand the economic dynamics from the other states of the federation and the platform adopted a national perspective. Furthermore, it was noticed that not only public managers could benefit from access to data, but entrepreneurs and other professionals as well. The platform thus opened up to a wider audience, reaching the mark of more than 5,000 active users per day. The scalability of the solution brought new challenges to the project. As the volume of data grew on the one hand and the number of users on the other, DataViva had to adjust itself in order to meet the growing needs of storage and processing, which in turn resulted in higher costs for cloud infrastructure, development and maintenance. It was necessary to use data optimization techniques in order to provide a responsive, fast and powerful enough platform to generate over 1 billion possibilities for interactive visualizations. Throughout its history, DataViva sought, more than providing access to information, to add value to data through its technical components. This happened through the elaboration of scientific publications, articles in magazines and blogs in order to systematize the knowledge generated from the analysis of a massive volume of data. At the same time, efforts were made to disseminate these findings through participation in the news, congresses,seminars and other events in order to interact this knowledge produced with the other agents of society, validating, adjusting and refining it in order to promote a renewed economic development strategy. Currently, DataViva's data repository has more than 1000 GB stored in the cloud. The project is funded by FAPEMIG and executed by CEDEPLAR.