Data Is Plural

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

2020.01.22 edition

China’s projects abroad, radio/TV broadcast areas, street sprawl, cannabis tests, and backyard ice rinks.

China’s projects abroad. The AidData research lab at the College of William & Mary has published several datasets on China’s international soft-power efforts, including the first-ever dataset of government-financed development projects abroad (covering 3,485 projects between 2000 and 2014) and a structured dataset of diplomacy efforts in 25 Asia/Pacific countries between 2000 and 2016. [h/t Nick Routley + Simon Kuestenmacher]

Broadcast geography. To construct her maps “visualizing the geography of FM radio” in the US, Erin Davis combined the Federal Communication Commission’s service contour data — the area where reception for a station “is generally protected from interference caused by other stations” — with the agency’s radio station licensing data and genre information from The FCC also provides service contour data for broadcast television. Previously: All FCC-issued licenses (DIP 2016.09.07). [h/t Giuseppe Sollazzo]

Street sprawl. Using 46 million kilometers of data from OpenStreetMap, Christopher Barrington-Leigh and Adam Millard-Ball have published “the first systematic and globally commensurable measures of street-network sprawl based on graph-theoretic and geographic concepts.” You can explore their findings via an interactive map and also download aggregate metrics for nearly 200 cities and more than 160 countries. [h/t Roberto Rocha]

Cannabis tests. Despite US adults increasingly gaining state-legal access to cannabis, “no universal standards for laboratory testing protocols currently exist,” write Nick Jikomes and Michael Zoorob, in a March 2018 article for Scientific Reports. “To investigate these concerns, we analyzed a publicly available seed-to-sale traceability dataset from Washington state containing measurements of the cannabinoid content of legal cannabis products from state-certified laboratories.” The dataset, obtained by the authors via public records requests, includes more than 200,000 test results over the course of three years.

Backyard ice rinks. RinkWatch “asks people who love outdoor skating to help environmental scientists monitor winter weather conditions” by reporting the conditions of their backyard ice rinks. The project’s downloadable data includes more than 30,000 “skateable” / “not skateable” observations of more than 1,200 rinks since 2012. As mentioned in: Last week’s New York Times article about outdoor skating trails in Quebec.