Open Data, what is that? Open Data is data which anyone can use at their disposal. It can be used, reused, modified, made into something better, whatever you can imagine to do with it. It is part of the open source movement, something which people do in order to make the world a better and safer place. Everyone is welcome to contribute and add to the collective. Even governments have come forward and have opened their data sources, not to mention companies and individuals.
Here are the best open data sources anyone can use for free.
World Bank Open Data
This is the motherload of free and open data. When we say that, we mean THE motherload. You will likely find everything you need here. The system is really large and comprehensive, but also easy to use, as most open source software is. What this means for you, the user, is that you can enter a couple of criteria, like a topic, or a certain country, and you will have tons and tons of data about your subject.
They have their own API which can be integrated with your own software to help you access various data and make your site a bit more professional or interesting, depending on the type of site your are going for. This is probably the best source for data you can find online. You can, of course, download the data and export it to various popular formats, like CSV or .xlsx, the popular Office Open XML Workbook.
World Health Organization Open Data Repository
Thinking about those health articles you read about nutrition? What about checking a real source from actual professionals who spent entire years getting the necessary education to perform specific research tasks?
Well, the World Health Organization has done something wonderful in allowing people to access the various data from their member countries. There are almost 200 member countries, so that means a lot of data about all kinds of things, from natality rates to disease statistics. You can integrate their API or download the data, as should be expected from such an organization.
Google Public Data Explorer
Well, if someone would find a way, Google would. We essentially use Google every day (at least most of us), to find whatever it is we need. It is only normal that Google would launch a platform to search public and open data. It was launched in 2010.
Given that it’s a Google product, you can master it in a matter of minutes. Google makes things accessible for a reason. You can search data from various government organizations, customize it and make charts and visualisations. The best part about all of this is that the data is dynamic and will change, meaning that you can easily track those changes in your graphs. Exporting or sharing on your site is very easy.
There are more sources like the European Union Open Data Portal or The Registry of Open Data, also known as RODA. With these three tools, you can cover a lot of ground so get started!