I went to the Datakind‘s New York Datadive last November and met the Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX), a group that ‘delivers data services, analysis, research and business information on the institutions that provide financial services to the world’s poor’. They wanted to see whether web-scraping could save them from manually gathering data. So fellow divers and I showed MIX the utility of web-scraping. Over the course of a day, about six people scraped data about microfinance institutions from a bunch of websites, saving MIX an estimated year of manual data entry.
Over the past few months, I worked further with MIX to study who has access to what sorts of financial services. DataKind just put up our blog post about the project. Read the post, or just look at the map and explore the data.