Data Is Plural

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

2018.11.28 edition

Global elevations, word associations, international labor treaties, livestock, and dog bites.

How high? The German Aerospace Center is publishing global elevation data derived from its TanDEM-X satellite mission. For five years, two satellites orbited Earth together in a formation that allowed their radars to “ ‘see’ the same land area, but from slightly different perspectives” and to calculate elevations based on those differences. Although the most detailed versions of the data are “subject to restrictions due to the potential for commercial exploitation, and thus requires a scientific proposal,” the least detailed version (which still clocks in at more than 90 gigabytes) can be downloaded for free. [h/t Matt Brealey]

Word associations. The Small World of Words project “is a large-scale scientific study that aims to build a mental dictionary or lexicon in the major languages of the world.” The experiment has asked hundreds of thousands of participants to list their immediate associations with various words (such as “telephone,” “journalist,” and “yoga”). In all, the project has collected more than 15 million responses. You can download the data, examine the project’s analysis pipeline, and explore the responses online. [h/t Lewis Mitchell]

International labor treaties. Bilateral labor agreements regulate the migration of workers between two countries, and the Bilateral Labor Agreements Dataset aims to catalog as many of these treaties as it can. So far the University of Chicago Law School professors and researchers running the initiative have identified 582 treaties signed between 1945 and 2015. “However, this list is almost certainly underinclusive,” they write. “Many BLAs are not deposited in the major international treaty databases and they often do not receive much, if any, publicity.” [h/t Adam Chilton]

Cattle, buffaloes, horses, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, and ducks. Last month, an international team of researchers published the third major version of their Gridded Livestock of the World dataset, which estimates the global distribution of cattle, buffaloes, horses, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens and ducks. The new dataset is based on 2010 statistics and provides estimates at “a spatial resolution of 0.083333 decimal degrees (approximately 10 km at the equator).”

Dog bites. New York City’s Department of Health publishes a dataset of 8,000+ reported instances of dogs biting humans, mostly from 2015 through 2017. The agency collects the reports “to determine if the biting dog is healthy ten days after the person was bitten in order to avoid having the person bitten receive unnecessary rabies shots.” [h/t Justin Baker]