Data Is Plural

... is a weekly newsletter of useful/curious datasets.

2016.03.30 edition

Drone permits, black markets, Titanic passengers, food facts, and the “natural amenities scale.”

U.S. drone permits. Want to fly a drone in the United States for non-recreational purposes? You’ll need a “Section 333” exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration, which governs drone activity. The FAA publishes a list of approved exemptions, which Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone has converted into a PDF-formatted database. The Verge, in turn, has converted that PDF into an easy-to-use CSV. Related: Last week, the FAA updated its dataset of unmanned aircraft sightings. [h/t Dan Vergano]

Digital black markets. Researcher Gwern Branwen has assembled an archive of listings posted to “dark net markets". Silk Road is the best-known among the group, but the collection covers scores of other markets, including Amazon Dark and FreeBay. The materials gathered from each site are slightly different; many include product advertisements and seller profiles. Warning: Some of the archives contain pictures, which may include offensive or disturbing imagery. And it’s probably wise to heed Gwern’s caveats: The scrapes “are large, complicated, redundant, and highly error-prone. They cannot be taken at face-value.” [h/t Mike Sconzo]

Titanic passengers. Based in large part on Encyclopedia Titanica, researchers have compiled a structured dataset of 1,309 passengers on the RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage. (To get the data, download titanic3.csv on this page.) The dataset includes passengers’ names, ages, ticket fare, cabin number, and whether they survived.

Groceries, quantified. Open Food Facts is a crowdsourced database of food products’ nutrition data and ingredient lists. (E.g., this kilogram jar of Nutella contains 316 grams of fat.) The entire database can be downloaded in several formats.

America, the varyingly beautiful. In 1999, the USDA Economic Research Service published a “natural amenities scale,” which rated every county in the contiguous United States based on factors such as landscape variation and January sunniness. Last year, based on the dataset, a Washington Post reporter called Minnesota’s Red Lake County “the absolute worst place to live in America.” Now, he’s moving there. [h/t Jody Avirgan]