Caliper is an FAO service for the dissemination of statistical classifications. Caliper exploits well-established web technologies for the purpose of making statistical classifications available and understandable to the widest public possible.
Any statistical data relies on statistical classifications - sets of terms, also called "items", representing and defining the entities to which the data refer. For example, the dataset "Crops and livestock products" in FAOSTAT presents data using the Central Product Classification maintained by UNSD (among other classifications). In fact, classifications play a key role in all activities related to statistical data, including data collection, analysis, and dissemination. However, statistical classifications tend to remain something for insiders, as very few tools are available for their online navigation. Also, their inclusion in information systems is usually ad-hoc, each time requiring new solutions for their implementations.
Caliper aims at filling the gap between data producers and data users, by making statistical classifications easily searchable and comparable. Also, Caliper also addresses the needs of statisticians and software developers, by providing functionalities for querying classifications "live" and use them into information systems. Caliper is part of the wider effort of FAO towards Open Data. See also the FAO's pages on statistical Methods and Standards.
CREDITS: Caliper was originally developed thanks to a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). The University of Tor Vergata (Rome, Italy) provides technical and scientific support.