Data Is Plural

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

2020.04.01 edition

Still more coronavirus data, but also visa fees, iPhone search warrants, and the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Subnational COVID-19 case counts. The New York Times is conducting “a round-the-clock effort to tally every known coronavirus case in the United States,” and has begun publishing a dataset of county-level cases and deaths. France publishes spreadsheets of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths by département and sex; on GitHub, there’s an active effort to collect and standardize this dataset and others from France. The German government has a dashboard showing official case counts in each of its Bundesländer and Landkreise; software engineer Jan-Philip Gehrcke has been pulling that data into standardized CSV files. Spain publishes daily case, hospitalization, death, and recovery counts for each comunidad autónoma, as a dashboard with downloadable data; investigative outlet Datadista has been compiling and standardizing that dataset and similar ones.

Official coronavirus interventions, continued. The Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker “aims to track and compare government responses to the coronavirus outbreak worldwide rigorously and consistently.” The project posts daily information concerning 11 kinds of responses, ranging from travel bans to investment in vaccines, and is based on data “collected from public sources by a team of dozens of Oxford University students and staff from every part of the world.” One of those public sources is UNESCO, which has been tracking countries’ school closure policies over time. In the US, the Kaiser Family Foundation is keeping tabs on the current mandates issued by state governors (rather than legislators or local governments).

Visa fees. The Global Visa Cost Dataset, published by the European University Institute’s Migration Policy Centre, “reports the cost [in 2019] of country-to-country visas for tourism, student, business, work, transit, family reunification and other motives worldwide.” The dataset’s authors describe their methodology and findings in a detailed working paper. There is, they write, “a fundamentally paradoxical situation: The richer a country, the less its citizens pay for visas to go abroad.”

iPhone search warrants. In light of ongoing debates over encryption, tech publication Motherboard “collected and analyzed over 500 iPhone search warrants and related documents filed throughout 2019 to build a database of cases in which law enforcement attempted to get information from an iPhone.” The database, published last month, includes court-docket information, the requesting agency, the suspected crimes, phone models, and more. [h/t Colin Prince]

Before Wikipedia. The National Library of Scotland has digitized the first eight editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, issued between 1768 and 1860. The effort, which captured approximately 167 million words across 143 volumes, was named a runner-up in the 2019 Digital Humanities Awards.