Data Is Plural

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

2017.10.11 edition

Wildfires, political crowds, truck and bus safety, bay water, and chicken-dancing.

Wildfires.Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) is an interagency program whose goal is to consistently map the burn severity and extent of large fires across all lands of the United States”; the most recent release contains more than 20,000 fires from 1984 to 2015. You can explore the data online, or download it in bulk. For more recent data, see GeoMAC, which aims to map all current wildfires; NOAA’s Hazard Mapping System, which uses satellites to detect fire locations and smoke plumes; and NASA’s MODIS and VIIRS datasets, which provide satellite-based detections for the entire globe. Previously: National Fire Incident Reporting System, which also includes structure fires and vehicle fires (DIP 2016.07.20). [h/t Max Joseph]

Political crowd estimates. The Crowd Counting Consortium, launched earlier this year, is a volunteer effort to “[collect] publicly available data on political crowds reported in the United States, including marches, protests, strikes, demonstrations, riots, and other actions.” The team publishes monthly spreadsheets that list each crowd’s date, location, type, and cause (e.g., “Oppose removal of confederate statue”); high and low size estimates; the number of reported arrests and injuries; links to sources; and additional details. Related: The project’s main coordinators have been summarizing their findings on the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog. [h/t Amanda L. James]

Commercial vehicle safety. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration helps to regulate the United States’ large trucks and passenger buses. The datasets available through its Safety Measurement System include a census of all regulated carriers, the results of safety inspections, and reported crashes. The crash files list the number of injuries and fatalities; the weather, light, and road conditions; the involved vehicle’s VIN and license plate number; and more. [h/t Dan Brady]

San Francisco Bay water. The U.S. Geological Survey has been measuring water quality in the San Francisco Bay for nearly 50 years. The agency recently published 210,826 of these measurements, collected from dozens of monitoring stations between April 1969 and December 2015. (It’s “one of the longest records of water-quality measurements in a North American estuary,” according to a recent academic article describing the data.) Each row specifies the measurement’s date, station, depth, temperature, and salinity; many rows include levels of chlorophyll, oxygen, nitrate, ammonium, and other matter.

Humans in motion. Carnegie Mellon’s Motion Capture Database provides data files and videos representing humans performing various activities: shaking hands, drinking soda, exchanging “angry hand gestures,” doing cartwheels, mopping floors, laughing, chicken-dancing, and oh-so-much more. [h/t John Emerson]