Saturday, August 27, 2011

Data:UNData-world of information

The United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) introduced a web-based data access system to bring UN statistical databases within easy reach of users by having a single entry point.Objectives here are to provide free access to global statistics, to educate people about the value of statistics for evidence-based policy and decision-making. It also assist Statistical Offices across several countries in strengthening their data distribution and record-keeping capabilities. Database consists of variety of statistical resources
covering the following areas:
Areas of statistics include: Sources include:
Economic Education UN Statistics Division
Demographic Employment WHO
Health National Account UNESCO
Environment Human Development World Bank
UNdata provide two views for accessing and querying data:- record view and table presentation.Users can also sort through the various databases by looking at their metadata which is especially useful if you are looking for historical records.You can filter databases by topics. Each result has a "Download" link to download the data as .xls sheet or xml document, a "Preview"

link to preview database and an "Explore" link to access database.The UNdata wiki provides links to the sources' homepages and includes information about the methodology by which data sets are collected.
There are many ways to extract and use the UNdata. A Geospatial Librarian's World offers some tips on how to process data downloaded from UNdata. In many cases when users download data they get multiple records for each country; one record for each year for each data point. In order to bring this data into geographic information system, the data set needs to be re-arranged, so that there is only one record for each country with multiple columns for years.The first UNdata API project is a community effort to make this data mashable and reusable in a variety of ways.The service uses a straightforward REST API hosted on Google’s Java AppEngine and makes UNDATA sets easily queryable from any application.The second UNdata API project is made available via Microsoft's cloudcomputing service called Dallas.
UNData can be viewed here