Congress API, Voter ID Laws, Art Sales, and Space Weather – The Markup

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Data is plural is a weekly newsletter of useful/curious datasets. This edition, dated September 14, 2022has been republished with permission from the author.

Congress gets an official API. The US legislative branch now has an official API, the Library of Congress announced last week. It provides structured data on legislators, bills, bill summaries, amendments, committee reports, appointee appointments, international treaties, and more. To use the service, you will need to register for a free API key. Read more: A bit of background from the Congressional Data Coalition. Related: Government Publishing Office Bulk Data on Invoices and Invoice Summaries (DIP 2020.08.26) and ProPublica’s Congress API. [h/t Jackie Kazil]

Voter identification laws. as part of his doctorate. research, Tom Barton has built a data set of voter ID requirements around the world. For each country and US state, the dataset shows the type of identification needed to vote (a photo ID, a non-photo ID, or just basic personal information), the number of pieces of identity that the voter must provide, etc. Related: A Detailed Review of US Voter ID Laws by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Previously: Recent US voting legislation tracked by the Voting Rights Lab (DIP 2022.07.20).

Local internet speeds. If you’ve tried to measure your internet speed, you may have used Ookla’s test service. The company releases a series of quarterly datasets that summarize test results, aggregated into geospatial tiles. (Tile sizes vary by latitude but measure approximately 2,000 feet by 2,000 feet at the equator.) For each tile, the datasets list the number of tests performed and devices tested, as well as the speed of average download, download speed and latency. As seen in: “Internet speeds in Europe are faster than ever, but not for everyone” (EDJNet) and associated dashboard. Previously: Measurement Lab Internet Speeds (DIP 2019.05.22). [h/t Federico Caruso]

Sale and ownership of works of art. The Getty Provenance Index contains more than 2.3 million historical records relating to the sale and ownership of works of art, searchable online by artist, owner, auction house, date and other characteristics. As part of an ongoing project to redesign the index, the Getty Research Institute has also released a subset of the records as open data. The largest of these datasets describes over one million sales in Europe from the 1600s to 1945. [h/t Richard E. Spear]

Space weather. NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center keeps tabs on a variety of phenomena, such as coronal mass ejections, geomagnetic storms and solar flares. The agency’s reports and datasets include three-day forecasts, sunspot forecasts, solar wind observations, and more. The agency also provides dashboards to several audiences, such as the aviation community, emergency management, and “space weather enthusiasts.” [h/t oblib]


Note: Unlike most of our content, this edition of Data Is Plural by Jeremy Singer-Vine is not available for republication under a Creative Commons license.

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