Assignment 1

on 24|11|2014
Filled under: Assignment 1

1. United States Census Bureau

TIGER Products

TIGER = Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing

“TIGER products are spatial extracts from the Census Bureau’s MAF/TIGER database, containing features such as roads, railroads, rivers, as well as legal and statistical geographic areas. The Census Bureau offers several file types and an online mapping application.”

This website provides geographical statistical data, creates tools to visualize this data, creates reference and thematic maps to support censuses and surveys, conducts research on geographic and address topics, and more – for the United States. I believe that this is a reliable source of data, as it is provided by the U.S. Census Bureau itself.

2. UNdata – a data access system to UN databases

Launched by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), UNdata provides data sets via their internet service through a single entry point ( It offers free access to global statistics. The data library comprises of statistical data accumulated over the past 60 years, so quite a variety of statistical resources is available through UNdata.  The data provided is what I consider to be reliable and quite accurate, as the United Nations System has been collecting statistical information from member states (governmental sources). It is quite easy to navigate through the data library, as data is organized in series, and can also be found through keyword searches. Data is organized in themes such as Education, Employment, Energy, Environment, Health, Human Development, etc….


I have chosen to visualize CO2 Emissions worldwide in metric tons per capita in the year 2010 (visualized with Google Charts). I have found the information here through the UNdata website, with the original source being “The World Bank”.  As previously mentioned, the information is reliable in my opinion, as the same data is used by official governmental bodies, with an expected high level of accuracy. The limitations of the data, however, include the fact that there is no data for a few countries such as Russia, and the most up-to-date information provided is 4 years old. What I would like to add to this data is for it to be more specific in larger countries (information mapped according to state, etc…) for less generalized data. What I find quite interesting is the large contrast in CO2 Emissions between North America in comparison to South America. I am not surprised of the vast amounts of CO2 Emissions resulting from KSA. It is, however, interesting to compare KSA’s emissions to those of its neighboring countries.

The data set can be found here.

CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita)

3. Eurostat – European Commission

Eurotstat is the statistical office of the European Union, and it provides European based statistic to a quality level that allows comparisons between regions and countries.

Democratic societies do not function properly without a solid basis of reliable and objective statistics. On one hand, decision-makers at EU level, in Member States, in local government and in business need statistics to make those decisions. On the other hand, the public and media need statistics for an accurate picture of contemporary society and to evaluate the performance of politicians and others. Of course, national statistics are still important for national purposes in Member States whereas EU statistics are essential for decisions and evaluation at European level. ” []

Initially Eurostat was established to meet the requirements of the Coal and Steel Community. The European Community was eventually founded and became a Directorate-General (DG) of the European Commission. Eurostat’s main role, therefore is to provide other DGs, the Commission, and other European Institutions with data so they can define, implement, and analyze Community policies accordingly.
Given that the data provided is used by governments, businesses, the education sector, and journalists, I personally believe it is reliable source of data to refer to. The accuracy of the data must meet the requirements of official organizational bodies, so it is expected that the quality is up to par.


I have chosen to visualize the total unemployment rates in Europe in June of 2014 (visualized with Google Charts).

The data itself is represented as unemployed persons as a percentage of the labor force (based on International Labor Office definition). The labor force is the total number of people employed and unemployed, and the unemployed comprise of people ranging between the ages of 15 to 74 who are without work during the reference week, are available to start work within the next two weeks, have been actively seeking work in the past month or found a job to start within the next 3 months.

I have noticed that this was updated regularly, and organized according to month. I have visualized the data of June 2014, as it is the most up to date and complete information. The only limitations of this data are that the later months have some missing data, and that the data set does not represent the percentage of males and females in one table, which I would find interesting to explore. What I find interesting is that generally speaking, unemployment rates are notably higher in Southern countries of Europe in comparison to Northern countries.

The data set can be found here.

Harmonised unemployment rate

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