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The internet contains an enormous amount of free data regarding all sorts of things from real time traffic info to flooding predictions and statistics regarding HIV/AIDS. The data is very useful if you know where to find it and how to utilize it.

Entire businesses have been built around public data like free parking spots in some cities or simulations of different climate change impacts.

We have collected a list of examples of data providers, but there are many more available.

Data provided by governments

Many countries collect data about the inhabitants, traffic and economy. All this data is often available to the public through reports, online data explores and APIs. We have collected some examples from Denmark and the USA but there are many more.

Denmark

Denmark is well known for the data it collects about the population throughout their entire lifespan.

Statistics Denmark

https://www.dst.dk/da/Statistik/statistikbanken/api

Contains statistics regarding the danish society in general. There is a lot of data on different subjects. Examples of subjects would be population numbers, education and knowledge, Living conditions, Education and knowledge, Labour income and wealth, National accounts and government finances, External economy and so on.

Shows population data from Statistics Denmark in the JSON Stat format

Shows paid parking areas in Aarhus, Denmark in JSON format

Public data sets for Danmark

http://www.opendata.dk/

Contains info regarding public available places etc. The portal holds a large range of different data like

  • parking spots,
  • public toilets,
  • map data,
  • real time traffic metrics,
  • bicycle counts,
  • state of walking paths

The formats depends on the source. Could be GeoJSON, CSV, Excel or an API

USA

Another example could be the USA which distributes a variety of data sources through their data portal.

Public data sets for the US

https://www.data.gov/

Public data is available in the US just like in Denmark. The website works in a similar manner, and the data is also available in different formats depending on the source. Some of it is readable my machines and some of it might be a little harder to integrate, but can provide good insights. Examples of data available:

  • Climate data like temperature changes and flooding
  • Population estimates
  • Food prices
  • Cost for raising children
  • Poverty rates
  • Housing data
  • Quarterly E-Commerce Report

Shows population data from the USA in a data table

World wide datasets

Some organisations specialize in collecting data across the entire world. These data are, for the most part, not updated as often as the regional datasets but still very useful if you want to get a more overall picture.

Shows estimated number of people living with HIV in 2016 on a map

WHO

http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.home

The WHO Data sets contain information about health-specific issues, and has a vast range of datasets pertaining information such as statistics regarding HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, maleria, child health, maternal and reproductive health et cetera.

The World Bank

https://databank.worldbank.org/data/databases

Has a massive amount of indicators like world development, education, gender, health nutrition and population and a lot more. It also has API access if you need to visualize the data.

Shows imports of goods and services (% of GDP) in Denmark, Germany, USA and China on a graph

Proprietary sources

Some organizations have created data hubs with data from hundreds of different sources. They provide various ways of visualizations and ways to engage with the data. different data sources can be used in combination leading to very interesting and useful reports. One well known actor is Google who provides data visualizations and an API

Shows fertility rate and life expectancy based on regions 

Google Public data

https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore

Explore and combine datasets from a large number of providers like the World Bank and WTO. The data is shown in graphs and can be specified to only show from certain countries. The portal provides different types of visualizations and makes it possible to share custom queries either as a link or embedded on a website.

The site doesn’t provide a feature for download of data.

We haven’t tried it ourselves but Googles Big Data Api should make the data available as machine readable code. The first terabyte of data processing is free.

A guide on how to utilize public data through the Big Query API is available here:

https://cloud.google.com/public-datasets/