Data Is Plural

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

2016.07.20 edition

Coups, technology questions, millions of fires, world heritage sites, and paperwork.

Coups d’état. Two political science professors at the University of Kentucky are compiling a dataset of coup attempts. So far, the dataset covers both successful and unsuccessful attempts from 1950 to late 2015. During those 65+ years, coup plotters have been foiled about half the time, with 236 victories and 238 failures. According to the dataset, Bolivia’s top leaders have faced 23 coup attempts, including 11 successful overthrows — more than any other country by either metric. [h/t Arthur Charpentier]

Tech support. StackOverflow is a Q&A site for programmers, and part of the larger StackExchange network of Q&A communities. StackExchange publishes periodic data dumps of the networks’ users, questions, answers, votes, and comments. On Monday, the company released “StackLite,” a smaller, easier-to-use slice of the data. (Even so, it contains metadata on more than 15 million questions.) If you don’t want to download anything, you can also explore and analyze the data online. [h/t David Robinson]

🔥 🔥 🔥 . The National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) is “the world’s largest, national, annual database of fire incident information,” containing about 1 million fires per year, including wildfires, structure fires, vehicle fires, and more. NFIRS data from 2013 (and prior years) are available online from FEMA. Looking for 2014’s data? The government asks you to request it via postal mail; or you could trust the copy a public safety analyst uploaded in March. (See the links at the bottom of that page.) The U.S. Fire Administration, which maintains NFIRS, publishes additional datasets, including a spreadsheet of 27,000+ fire departments and a database of on-duty firefighter fatalities. Also, the U.S. Geological Survey publishes data on current and historical wildfire perimeters. [h/t Nick Penzenstadler + Nadja Popovich]

World heritage sites. Today, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee will wrap up its 40th session, during which it has “inscribed” more than 20 new awe-inspiring places around the world. Online, the organization publishes spreadsheets and map files of 1,031 heritage sites it has previously inducted. For each site, the spreadsheet tracks its location, size, date inducted, category (“cultural,” “natural,” or “mixed”), and which selection criteria it met, and more. Through 2015, the countries with the largest number of heritage sites were Italy (51), China (48), and Spain (44).

Paperwork, work, work, work, work, work. Thanks to the Paperwork Reduction Act, federal agencies must get approval from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for any “information collection” (e.g., a form) that seeks 10 or more responses. You can search all information collections — under review, approved, or rejected — online, or download an XML file of all active collections.