Finding interesting open data sources can be the most difficult part of producing an infographic or data visualization.
Indeed, it involves multiple steps: finding reliable open data sources, getting the data in the right format, cleaning it up (often underestimated) and then coming up with the story you will eventually visualize.
We know that it’s a hardworking process, which is the reason why we prepared a useful open data sources list.
Your needs will vary from one project to another, but these items are a great starting point — and bookmark. So, in this post, you will find information about:
Keep reading and consider using our tips in your next researches!
What are open data sources?
Imagine that you’re doing some data researches to support and ensure that the content produced in your business is coherent with the brand. This type of data can be located in external sources around the world. It’s what we call open data: large datasets that are available to everyone connected to the internet.
Moreover, open data sources are important because they are a powerful material freely shared by government agencies and other trusted institutions, for instance. In terms of usability, you can optimize your data culture and find out new opportunities for innovation, produce great data visualization, and even improve your data literacy.
What are the 40 most reliable open data sources?
It’s widely known that a competitive business shouldn’t work only with internal data. Teams have to keep up with big data, especially in analysis processes that generate accurate insights for their projects.
Considering this, let’s take a look at our compiled open data sources below and find out which ones are relevant to your business!
Government and political data
If you want some information related to governmental, social, or political affairs, the open data sources could help.
This is the go-to resource for government-related data. It claims to have up to 400 thousand datasets, both raw data and geospatial, in a variety of formats. The only caveat in using the datasets is that you have to make sure you clean them since many have missing values and characters.
It is another good place to explore government-related data. One great thing about Socrata is that it provides some visualization tools that make exploring the data easier.
Some cities have their data portals set up to browse through city-related data. For example, at San Francisco Data you can browse through everything from crime statistics to parking lots available in the city.
It houses a ton of information about our lives around income, race, education, population, and business.
These are the places that house data from all kinds of sources. Sometimes it’s easier to find something here related to a specific category.
A really useful resource to explore APIs and mashups of different APIs.
It is a data marketplace that offers thousands of public and proprietary datasets for download and API access, in a wide range of categories, from historical Twitter and OK Cupid data to geolocation data, in different formats. You can even upload your data if you like.
7. Data Market
It is a good place to explore data related to economics, healthcare, food, agriculture, and the automotive industry.
It houses a lot of data from world development indicators, OECD, and human development indicators, mostly related to economics.
It is a great data scraping service that also houses data feeds.
It is a social data sharing service that allows you to upload your data and connect and follow others who are uploading their data.
Usually, the best place to get social data for an API is the site itself: Instagram, GetGlue, Foursquare — pretty much all social media sites have their APIs. Here are more details on the most popular ones.
Access to the Twitter API for historical uses is fairly limited, to 3200 tweets.
For more, check out PeopleBrowsr, which also offers historical access to the WordPress Automatic data feed.
They have their API and you can get it through Infochimps as well.
The Facebook Graph API is the best resource for Facebook.
15. Social Mention
It’s a great way to acquire real-time data, users, keyword usage, hashtags, and so on.
16. Google Trends
If you’d like to search what users around the world are searching on the internet, consider Google Trends especially to pinpoint timely campaigns.
Why on earth do we need this kind of open data? The reason is that weather influences all sorts of businesses and industries connected to agriculture, energy, life sciences, manufacturing, and so on.
It has detailed weather information and allows you to search historical data by zip code or city. It gives temperature, wind, precipitation, and hourly observations for that day.
It also has detailed weather stats on temperature, rain, and humidity of nearly 41 thousand cities.
Along the same lines, sports data are used to increase revenue and enhance fan experiences. Here we have some open sources.
19. Sports Reference
It provides every data and comprehensive information on teams, players coaches, and leaders by season when it comes to football, baseball, basketball, hockey, etc.
ESPN has recently come up with its own API. You must be a partner to get access to data.
Universities and research
Searching for the work of academics who specialize in a particular area is always a great place to find some interesting data.
If there is specific data that you would like to use, say, in a research paper, the best way to go is to contact the professor directly. That is how we got the data for our What are the Odds piece, which is one of the most-viewed infographics on the web.
One university that makes some of the datasets used in its courses publicly available is UCLA.
23. Google Scholar
One of the most useful tools for educational purposes, valuable to find good papers and researches about different kinds of issues.
It’s a great site that shares datasets from scientific papers so that you can browse it directly or download the material if you need it later.
Media is a great ally when we want reliable information, based on accurate data. Here you have some ways to do your research.
As one of the most important newspapers around the world, it has a great API and a really good explorer to access any article. The data is returned in JSON format.
It regularly posts visualizations and makes data available through a Google Docs format. The great thing about this is that the data has already been cleaned.
Very similar to the previous sites, this one also works well if you need news content, metadata, polling data, etc.
Are you looking for a better understanding of the markets, its expansion, and more?
This website provides an open data source related to consumption patterns, especially in developing countries.
Information about heath can benefit public health, of course, but also medical researches and development. It is a great source to improve employee health as well.
This is one of the most complete open data sources about mental illnesses, health financing, mortality rates, and other relevant topics.
That one works as an educational library with everything you can imagine about foodborne illness, dietary supplements, and other subjects, when it comes to the USA.
Here you find over 3 thousand datasets, all accessible to policymakers, entrepreneurs and researchers.
32. Broad Institute
This is an open data source that mixes health and scientific researches, focusing on types of cancer.
This site places more importance in chronic illnesses, heart diseases, cancers, birth defects, and more.
Here you have an overview about different issues, but considering health data, you should access information related to mortality and morbidity, life expectancy, the burden of disease, and infectious diseases — like daily updated research and data about the Coronavirus pandemic.
Economic and financial data are used to monitor all short and long-term changes in economic activity around the world. It provides us with valuable information to make decisions and invest in possible innovations to boost our business.
Here is one of the most complete open data sources used for economic purposes — logistics, global consumption, disbursement and management of global funds, etc. There are two advantages: it is frequently updated and offers visualization tools for some datasets.
36. Financial Times
The Financial Times has one of the most robust open data sources when it comes to the economy and global markets.
There is a free subscription to access a complete dataset about global markets and economies. This site shares a large number of archives, including books and periodicals.
Do you like to have insights on financial stability, global economic outlooks, or fiscal monitoring? So, take a look at this open data source.
The U.S. Department of Commerce offers a wide-ranging open data source too, highlighting international transactions, trades of goods and services, etc. And it’s frequently updated.
Generated by the Federal Reserve, this open data source has nearly 765 thousand datasets, including foreign exchange rates, consumer price indexes, and so on.
As you see, open data sources mean all sorts of materials that are available for everyone on the internet — you can access, reuse, and share them, for instance. If your team is running an exploratory analysis, our 40 tips should help a lot in the process.
Open data sources are the order of the day. The whole world has been gradually changing its ways to handle information, and organizations have to use the benefits of that to boost their businesses.
Are you ready to dive into the wonders of data visualization with our tips about reliable open data sources? Get in touch with us right away and see how we can help more with it!