Data Is Plural

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

2019.01.02 edition

Local incarceration trends, pedestrian counts, nighttime brightness, ocean noises, and a highly-measured beach.

Local incarceration, 1970–2015. The Vera Institute of Justice’s recently-expanded Incarceration Trends project combines data from a range of government reports — such as the Census of Jails and the National Corrections Reporting Program — into a single, longitudinal, well-documented dataset. For each county and year, the dataset tallies the number of people admitted to jails and prisons, the average daily incarcerated jail and prison population, and other related details. Many of the counts are also broken down by race, ethnicity, and sex. Bonus: The institute’s interactive map of the data. [h/t Chris Henrichson + Sam Petulla]

Hourly pedestrians. Melbourne, Australia, has placed dozens of pedestrian-counting sensors across the city, and publishes a dataset of the hourly observations going back to 2009. Now you know: Among the 2.5 million entries so far, the highest count has been the 12,289 pedestrians at the Bourke Street pedestrian bridge between 6pm and 7pm on Friday, October 26, 2018. Bonus: Melbourne’s interactive map of the data. Related: Pedestrian counts from the Brooklyn Bridge and Somerville, Massachusetts.

Nighttime brightness in Niger and Nigeria. A pair of researchers have used satellite imagery to quantify nighttime lights in five urban areas in Niger and Nigeria — Agadez, Katsina, Maradi, Niamey, and Zinder. Describing their findings in a recent issue of Scientific Data, the researchers write, “Our data showed 1) urban illumination fluctuated seasonally, 2) corresponding population fluctuations were sufficient to drive seasonal measles outbreaks, and 3) overlooking these fluctuations during vaccination activities resulted in below-target coverage levels, incapable of halting transmission of the virus.”

Ocean noises. The UK Marine Noise Registry tracks “human activities in UK seas that produce loud, low to medium frequency (10Hz – 10kHz) impulsive noise” — including pile-driving, explosives, military sonar, and “acoustic deterrent devices.” For each of the UK’s oil and gas licensing blocks, the registry’s published data counts the number of days that a given type of impulsive noise was generated. Related: Owen Boswarva has built an interactive map of the data. [h/t Giuseppe Sollazzo]

A highly-measured beach. The Narrabeen-Collaroy Beach Survey Program has been measuring a major stretch of the Sydney shore every month since April 1976. You can explore the data online and (free registration required) download it. [h/t Robbi Bishop-Taylor + Mitchell Harley]