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The Datasets We’re Looking At This Week

You’re reading Data Is Plural, a weekly newsletter of useful/curious datasets. Below you’ll find the Nov. 2, 2022, edition, reprinted with permission at FiveThirtyEight.

2022.11.02 edition

Nuclear stockpiles, decades of river widths, flood insurance changes, the weight of the web and Swiss apartment layouts.

Nuclear stockpiles. As of early 2022, a total of nine countries possessed approximately 12,700 nuclear warheads, according to estimates from the Federation of American Scientists. Although “the exact number of nuclear weapons in each country’s possession is a closely held national secret,” the researchers say that “publicly available information, careful analysis of historical records and occasional leaks” make the estimates possible, albeit “with significant uncertainty.” The report includes each country’s current warhead count and subtotals by status, as well as annual totals for each country since 1945. As seen in: Our World In Data. Previously: Nuclear capabilities (DIP 2016.02.24) and explosions (DIP 2016.03.23). [h/t u/jcceagle]

Decades of river widths. Dongmei Feng et al. have applied an algorithmic approach to calculating the widths of the world’s largest rivers over time. Their dataset contains more than 1 billion measurements of 2.7 million fluvial cross-sections (focusing on those wider than 90 meters), based on roughly 1.2 million satellite images captured between 1984 and 2020. Previously: Free-flowing rivers (DIP 2019.07.24) and U.S. hydrography (DIP 2022.10.12). [h/t Colin Gleason]

Flood insurance changes. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently revamped its method of pricing U.S. flood insurance, aiming for “rates that are actuarily sound, equitable, easier to understand and better reflect a property’s flood risk.” A series of datasets and dashboards from the agency summarizes the expected changes in premiums, which began taking effect last year. They count the number of policies for which monthly payments were projected to increase/decrease by a given amount, bucketed into ten-dollar increments, for each state, county and ZIP code. As seen in: “How have flood insurance premiums changed?” (USAFacts).

The weight of the web. Researchers at the HTTP Archive, a project of the Internet Archive, “periodically crawl the top sites on the web and record detailed information about fetched resources, used web platform APIs and features and execution traces of each page.” They make the raw data available via Google BigQuery, and also publish aggregate data tracking metrics such as loading speed and page weight (measured in kilobytes transferred). As seen in: “Why web pages can have a size problem” (Datawrapper).

Swiss apartment layouts. Swiss Dwellings “contains detailed data on over 42,500 apartments (250,000 rooms) in ~3,100 buildings including their geometries, room typology as well as their visual, acoustical, topological and daylight characteristics,” sourced from Archilyse AG, a company that analyzes building plans. The details include the placement of rooms, features (e.g., sinks and bathtubs), walls, windows, doors and more. [h/t Matthias Standfest + India in Pixels]

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Jeremy Singer-Vine is a data editor, reporter and computer programmer based in New York City.


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