Data Sources for Cool Data Science Projects: Part 1

startup-594127_960_720At The Data Incubator, we run a free eight week data science fellowship to help our Fellows land industry jobs. Our hiring partners love considering Fellows who don’t mind getting their hands dirty with data.  That’s why our Fellows work on cool capstone projects that showcase those skills.  One of the biggest obstacles to successful projects has been getting access to interesting data.  Here are a few cool public data sources you can use for your next project:

Economic Data:

  1. Publically Traded Market Data: Quandl is an amazing source of finance data. Google Finance and Yahoo Finance are additional good sources of data.  Corporate filings with the SEC are available on Edgar.
  2. Housing Price Data: You can use the Trulia API or the Zillow API. In the UK, you can find price paid in house sales and historical mean house price by region (use this tool to translate between postcode and lat/long).
  3. Lending data: You can find student loan defaults by university and the complete collection of peer-to-peer loans from Lending Club and Prosper, the two largest platforms in the space.
  4. Home mortgage data: There is data made available by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and there’s a lot of data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency available here.

Content Data:

  1. Review Content: You can get reviews of restaurants and physical venues from Foursquare and Yelp (see geodata).  Amazon has a large repository of Product Reviews.  Beer reviews from Beer Advocate can be found here.  Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews are available from Kaggle.
  2. Web Content: Looking for web content?  Wikipedia provides dumps of their articles.  Common Crawl has a large corpus of the internet available.  ArXiv maintains all their data available via Bulk Download from AWS S3.  Want to know which URLs are malicious?  There’s a dataset for that.  Music data is available from the Million Songs Database.  You can analyze the Q&A patterns on sites like Stack Exchange (including Stack Overflow).
  3. Media Data: There’s open annotated articles form the New York Times, Reuters Dataset, and GDELT project (a consolidation of many different news sources).  Google Books has published NGrams for books going back to past 1800.
  4. Communications Data: There’s access to public messages of the Apache Software Foundation and communications amongst former execs at Enron.

Government Data:

  1. Municipal Data: Crime Data is available for City of Chicago and Washington DC.  Restaurant Inspection Data is available for Chicago and New York City.
  2. Transportation Data: NYC Taxi Trips in 2013 are available courtesy of the Freedom of Information Act.  There’s bikesharing data from NYC, Washington DC, and SF.  There’s also Flight Delay Data from the FAA.
  3. Census Data: Japanese Census Data.  US Census data from 2010, 2000, 1990.  From census data, the government has also derived time use data.  EU Census Data.  Check out popular male / female baby names going back to the 19th Century from the Social Security Administration.
  4. World Bank: They have a lot of data available on their website.
  5. Election Data: Political contribution data for the last few US elections can be downloaded from the FEC here and here.  Polling data is available from Real Clear Politics.
  6. Food, Drugs, and Devices Data: The USDA provides location-based information about the food environment in their Food Atlas. The FDA also provides a number of high value public datasets.

While building your own project cannot replicate the experience of fellowship at The Data Incubator (our Fellows get amazing access to hiring managers and access to nonpublic data sources) we hope this will get you excited about working in data science.  And when you are ready, you can apply to be a Fellow!

Got any more data sources?  Let us know and we’ll add them to the list!

This post was also published by DataScience101. This, and all things Data Science, can be found here.

Part 2 is now up and can be found here.

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