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Diving into data

Get your hands on some real data sets.

For a data wrangler there is nothing more interesting than a vast spreadsheet full of data. Once you know what to look for, you will discover all kinds of interesting things within the data. 

For now don't worry too much about what you are looking for - let's start by getting our hands on some data sets that may contain interesting things. Some data, such as GDP per capita, is easier to find than others. Try to find some of the less common data that describes your country. 
In this task you are working through the early stages in the data wrangler pipeline [link] "finding, retrieving and cleaning"
Good starting points to find country level data:
[Optional] Insert content on licensing / formats / etc. 
Your task:
Find a few data sources that contain information about your country. Post a comment below or write a blog post and share the link. Answer the following questions:
  • List some of the data sources you were able to find (include URLs so others can download the data as well)
  • Was there data you were looking for but couldn't find?
  • If you get stuck - describe your problem and someone else in the course may be able to help you get unstuck

Task Discussion

  • Lee Meng said:

    Nice to meet you guys, I'm a newbie here. :)

    I want to know more about my country, Taiwan, and I  have seen a nice picture describing some fact about Taiwan, the picture is posted on the site:


    And I was surprised that Taiwan has the highest density of convenience store per person in Asia, and perhaps in the world! 
    So I went into search, and found that in wikipedia, I got the Information I need:

    one convenience store per 2500 people in Taiwan, it's an amazing statics!

    on May 22, 2013, 10:06 p.m.
  • stevieflow said:

    I work on the International Aid Transparency Initiative - lots of open data files available at :

    It's possible to filter the data by publisher and country for example - data files for Lesotho are at:




    (NB - there could be other activities that are related to Lesotho that may be outside of this search - in regional files for example)



    on March 11, 2013, 8:37 a.m.
  • Pelle said:


    I am from the Netherlands. It's been told that the Dutch are the tallest people on earth... and I was wondering if I could find the data to prove it. As it turns out, quite a few blogs & articles have been written about this subject, but I couldn't find references to any researches or actual data. 

    Looking around I easily found the data of the dutch Central Bureau of Statistics, showing the averge heights of different age groups:

    "Reported health and lifestyle", Central Bureau of Statistics (in Dutch)

    But of course we then we still need to know how tall the rest of the world population is. 

    I found two ways to get to these results:

    The anthropometric database of the Technical University of Delft, that lets you find/compare all kinds of human body measurements

    But the easiest way to find human heights turned out to be wikipedia, that has a well documented page 

    on Feb. 21, 2013, 6:06 a.m.
  • Leonie McGlashan said:

    I'm interested in finding out about science education in Australia.

    These places may have the data I need:

    The Australian Bureau of Statistics

    The Australian Social Science Data Archive


    Having trouble getting into the data available due to slow wifi ...

    on Nov. 9, 2012, 5:16 a.m.
  • Billy Meinke said:

    A couple more helpful places to find open datasets about various countries/regions/topics:

    on Nov. 1, 2012, 5:26 p.m.
  • christinad said:

    My focus is on Indonesia.  After exploring the worldbank data source, looking primarily for information about education and environment, I became intrigued by the infrastructure data, and started to wonder how cell phone use here  - especially to access the Internet - compared with other developing countries.  In addition to having fun playing around with the graphs I could produce at, I found another interesting source of data here (  What interests -- and frustrates -- me most, though, and in Jakarta in particular, is the lack of green space and I was curious how the city compared to other major metropolitan areas around the world.  This was a pretty good study I thought.  But wow, this has got to be the tippy tip of the iceberg of data out there now, and deciding what to focus on and what questions to ask and what conclusions to draw is a really big challenge.  

    Below are some images captured too related to the cell phone/internet use data.


    on Oct. 28, 2012, 12:17 a.m.
  • Siva Karthikeyan Krishnan said:

    looking for ecommerce users in india came to know about the amazing numbers, its nice to know its keep on increasing

    on Oct. 12, 2012, 7:47 p.m.
  • Raul said:

    I was looking for information about taxes in Brazil. I found this site ( it displays the total tax paid by the Brazilians in a period. Another site I found was the (

    on Sept. 6, 2012, 1:19 p.m.
  • Jon Mason said:

    Well, in Australia there's a whole bunch of stuff going on that might be useful in depicting a unique characteristic. Lots of statistics freely available at the Australian Bureau of Statstics. But, only some of this data is currently easy to access via the wesbite - eg., the 5-yearly census data. A lot of other data is locked up in reports & needs to be downloaded in PDF or ZIP formats.

    Something unique? There are heaps of unique Australian animals listed here. Nowhere else on the planet, except in zoos

    on Aug. 9, 2012, 12:44 a.m.
  • Pinky said:

    Here's some data on aging in America:

    on July 18, 2012, 12:04 a.m.
  • Ines said:

    I have searched for data in my country, Spain, and have found data from the public sector, with many differences among regions (some of them don,t have any open data). compiles some info, beside each government site

    on July 17, 2012, 3:57 p.m.
  • Gbolahan said:

    I am interested in finding out the size of the informal economy in Nigeria for a ten year period. Official data sources are no help in this regard as this portion of the economy is rarely  ever mentioned.

    According to wikipedia Nigeria is middle income, mixed economy ranked 30th in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) as of 2011, wikipedia opines that this portion of the economy is near equivalent to 75% of the current economic size though with no relevant citations.

    Another google search brought up an interesting dated (2002) research work by Friedrich Schneider, he opines that in the year 1999/2000 the informal economy of Nigera was 57.9% of the total economy which is equivalent to USD 212.6 billion and his estimates where based on his calculation using World Bank Data.

    I moved on to search on World Bank sites to see if it reveals anything and it apppears all world bank sources seem to all so cite Friedrich Schneider works and so I moved back to focus more on his works.

    So may be now one thing that is unique about my country is that there is a clear lack of data work with as regard the informal economy

    With more focus now on Friedrich Schneider work's it apears that the attempts at capturing the size of the informal economy is usually based on models and not based on any form of direct measurement also it appears to lack of trending data for Nigeria's informal economy size.

    on May 25, 2012, 1:29 a.m.
  • Joris Pekel said:

    In the Netherlands there is a huge shortage of houses and people build rooms in rooms just to let more people live there for a large sum of money. I want to see how many people live on a square meter there and how this compares to other European countries and also compare worldwide. 

    World data found on worldbank

    European Data found on EuroStat

    on May 24, 2012, 8:46 a.m.