Ever since doing Stockspace project it seems I am getting asked to do data-related work. This despite the fact that my personal interests diverge from such masters of insightful infographics as Martin Wattenberg, David McCandless or Jonathan Harris.
Suffice to say that I am more concerned with exploring data structures as spaces than I am with providing new understandings of the information contained within them. Manuel Lima’s Information Visualization Manifesto calls for a seriousness on the topic of data treatments, while my projects remain comfortably frivolous.
Recently I’ve been working on a project that has required researching data sources and adapting them to illustrate a bigger idea, which has led to much Googling in the absence of good data from the client. Sometimes you find the right thing immediately, but sometimes data is hard to find in a format that is freely available and easily parsable. Since I have found some good sources I thought I’d share them here…
- PVWATSS calculator from Renewable Resource Data Center (RReDC) provides theoretical calculations of yields (hour-by-hour, 365 days/yr) from photovoltaic solar panels for most international locations.
- World airport codes with geo name data, helpfully spidered by Wiebe Cazemier so you don’t have to.
- Unattributed FTP depository of geo-related CSV files, including postal and ZIP codes, world city info etc.
- Historical weather data from Weather Underground, providing year-by-year hourly information for most cities in the world. (See also this list of weather APIs.)
- Yahoo Finance offers downloads of historical stock price data (CSV) for just about any stock symbol out there. Sadly I have yet to find an open intraday stock data source, due to the proprietary nature of that kind of information.
- The Guardian’s Datablog is a recent venture, and I have yet to use any of the data sets they provide. But I like their approach, which is clearly aimed at democratizing data with a view to public agenda.
I would be interested in hearing tips about any great data sets out there, particularly interesting time series data.
Miska Knapek recently sent me a link to a source of weather sensor data from Helsinki, including measurements of wind direction at the top of Helsinki’s Olympic Tower in 5-minute intervals. He has already made some wind visualization videos and some fabricated wind data sculptures based on this data.