Data Is Plural

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

2021.02.03 edition

Private prisons, detailed elevations, even more mortality data, web trackers, and hockey.

Private prisons. Political scientist Anna Gunderson has assembled a longitudinal dataset of private prisons at the federal, state, and local level through 2016. Using decades of financial reports by the two largest operators, plus those by two other companies one later acquired, Gunderson’s dataset identifies each facility’s name, location, primary customer, capacity, security level, contract information, and more. Related: Last week, President Biden signed an executive order to phase out the federal use of such facilities.

Detailed elevations. Among its goals, OpenTopography wants to “democratize online access to high-resolution (meter to sub-meter scale), Earth science-oriented, topography data acquired with lidar and other technologies.” The project hosts hundreds of elevation datasets from around the world, available to visualize online and to download. Related: The US Geological Survey’s 3D Elevation Program aims “to provide the first-ever national baseline of consistent high-resolution topographic elevation data” by 2023, and already publishes a range of subnational datasets. [h/t Ricardo Pereira]

Even more mortality data. The World Mortality Dataset contains recent “all-cause mortality” counts for 79 countries, aggregated to weekly, monthly, or quarterly totals (depending on availability). Launched last week by researchers Ariel Karlinsky and Dmitry Kobak, the project draws on the Human Mortality Database, EuroStat, and data collected by the New York Times (DIP 2020.05.27); and expands upon it by gathering data from government websites and through direct inquiries. [h/t Dror Guldin]

Web trackers. DuckDuckGo’s Tracker Radar watches the web’s watchers. The regularly-updated dataset currently covers 36,000+ of the most common third-party domains, and provides “detailed information about their tracking behavior, including prevalence, ownership, fingerprinting behavior, cookie behavior, privacy policy,” and more. As seen in: Blacklight, The Markup’s “real-time website privacy inspector,” which uses the dataset. [h/t Surya Mattu]

Hockey. The National Hockey League has an undocumented API. Technologist Drew Hynes is making sense of the dozens of endpoints, which provide data on decades of player stats, game schedules, draft picks, and more. [h/t Jemma Issroff]