Data Is Plural

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

2020.06.24 edition

New policing bills, Indigenous lands, The Gay Guides, coronavirus-era child care, and Ancient Rome.

New policing bills. The National Conference of State Legislatures has built a database of state-level policing bills and executive orders introduced since May 25, the day George Floyd was killed. The database covers proposed bills on “oversight and data, training, standards and certification, use of force, technology, policing alternatives and collaboration, […] and other timely issues.” So far, it contains brief descriptions, author information, statuses, and last-activity dates for more than 250 pieces of legislation in 25 states and DC. Although the database does not provide downloads, its HTML output is highly structured. Related: Last week, The Marshall Project’s Weihua Li, Humera Lodhi, and Damini Sharma analyzed the database and put the bills in context.

Indigenous lands. maps the historical geographic extents of Indigenous territories in North America, Australia, New Zealand, parts of South America, and elsewhere. The project’s datasets cover 1,400+ territories, 900+ languages, and 800+ related treaties, drawn from a wide range of resources. It was launched in 2015 by programmer Victor Temprano and is now run by a not-for-profit organization with a board of directors. Related: Earlier this year, High Country News published Land-Grab Universities, a “two-year inquiry into the origin of wealth that undergirds the nation’s system of higher education,” accompanied by a detailed methodology and dataset spanning nearly 11 million acres of expropriated Indigenous land.

The Gay Guides. Mapping the Gay Guides “aims to understand often ignored queer geographies using the Damron Address Books, an early but longstanding travel guide aimed at gay men since the early 1960s.” The project — launched earlier this year and led by historians Amanda Regan and Eric Gonzaba — includes an interactive map, downloadable dataset, methodology, and ethics statement. It already covers more than 22,000 entries in more than 30 states, with plans for further expansion. [h/t Giuseppe Sollazzo]

Coronavirus-era child care. Economist and parenting book–author Emily Oster has been collecting and publishing “preliminary, unscientific data on child care centers which were open in the pandemic.” The dataset currently includes more than 900 centers, their locations, age ranges served, whether they were open the whole time or just part of it, the number of students and staff, and the number of COVID-19 cases in students and staff. [h/t Laura Libby]

These datasets lead to Rome. The Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilizations at Harvard University “makes freely available on the internet the best available materials for […] mapping and spatial analysis of the Roman and medieval worlds.” The project’s datasets include economic indicators, climate records, ports and harbors, shipwrecks, roads, and more. [h/t Pier Rolla]