Data Is Plural

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

2017.07.19 edition

Solar eclipses, “the world’s densest” urban LiDAR dataset, UN General Debate speeches, global economic forecasts, and Old Faithful eruptions.

Solar eclipses. You’ve probably seen The Washington Post’s solar eclipse graphics from last Monday. The stellar maps are largely based on an online tool that uses data from NASA’s Five Millennium Canon of Solar Eclipses. The tool can (among other things) generate maps and KMZ files describing the paths of the 11,898 solar eclipses Earth will have experienced between and 2000 BCE and 3000 CE. Helpful: NASA’s key to understanding the data terminology.

Dublin in detail. Last week, a team at NYU announced “the world’s densest urban aerial laser scanning (LiDAR) dataset” — a 1.4-billion-point description of Dublin’s city center. They write: ”At over 300 points per square meter, this is more than 30 times denser than typical LiDAR data and is an order of magnitude denser than any other aerial LiDAR dataset.” The researchers collected the topographical data during a series of criss-crossing flyovers on March 26, 2015. They’ve also published a short, illustrative video. Previously: LiDAR datasets (DIP 2016.05.25) and 3D models (DIP 2017.04.05) of cities and countries around the world. [h/t Darrell Etherington]

UN General Debate speeches. Each September, the United Nations gathers for its annual General Assembly. Among the activities: the General Debate, a series of speeches delivered by the UN’s nearly 200 member states. The statements provide “an invaluable and, largely untapped, source of information on governments’ policy preferences across a wide range of issues over time,” write a trio of researchers who, earlier this year, published the UN General Debate Corpus — a dataset containing the transcripts of 7,701 speeches from 1970 to 2016. The researchers have also published an online tool for exploring and visualizing the dataset. Previously: UN General Assembly votes since 1946 (DIP 2016.07.13). [h/t Ronny Patz]

Global economic forecasts. The International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database contains the fund’s projections for future “national accounts, inflation, unemployment rates, balance of payments, fiscal indicators, trade for countries and country groups” and commodity prices. (They predict that farm-bred Norwegian salmon will cost $6.79/kg in 2022.) The database also contains historical observations for many of the economic indicators back to 1980. [h/t David Mihalyi]

Old Faithful et al. The National Park Service and Geyser Observation and Study Association have been using water-temperature sensors to track the eruption times of dozens of geysers in Yellowstone — Old Faithful, of course, but also Beehive, Little Squirt, and Narcissus. combines this data with historical logbooks and observations from “geyser gazers” to form what it describes as “the most comprehensive database of geyser eruption and observation data on the internet.”