Using Data and GIS in Research

  • Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 at 10:00AM – 11:30AM
  • Type: Workshop
  • Series: Graduate Student Workshop Series
      Koerner Library Research Commons Series
      Humanities and Social Sciences Workshops
  • Location: RM216
  •  Koerner Building-Event Facilities & LabsClick here for map
  •  Point Grey Campus
  • Description: The session covers an overview of electronic statistical resources available to UBC researchers, both statistical databases and micro-level survey data for secondary analysis from Statistics Canada, academics, media outlets, and governments around the world. The session also includes a brief introduction to geographic information systems (GIS) and how it can be applied to academic research. GIS is advanced software used for spatial data analysis and visualization.

Click here to register:

The Library has upgraded its Scifinder Scholar subscription to the Academic Unlimited Access Program. This means that you have 24/7 access to Scifinder regardless of the number of users. Regards Kevin Lindstrom Science & Engineering Reference Librarian

courtesy of “Fantasy on high”.

STAT 335 students will see me for a library session on Fri, 9 September, 12pm in LSK 460. Here is the library course page for this class –

The Chicago Tribune (3/14, Ford) reports that “Monday is Pi Day,” in honor of “the number that expresses the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter” and “starts with 3.14159. Thus, March 14, or 3/14, for Pi Day.” The celebration started in San Francisco in 1989 and “has spread around the world, and math […]

Thanks to Koerner’s Government Publications Division for their recent update on Google Public Data Explorer, an experimental visualization tool which enables users to bring international economic and statistical data to life.

Faculty and students can work with this new tool to mash up publicly available statistical data using line graphs, bar graphs, maps and bubble charts. They can link to these visualizations, or embed them in their own webpages. Embedded charts and links are dynamic, updating automatically so you’re always viewing the latest available data. Data sources include Eurostat, the World Bank, the OECD, the US Bureau of the Census, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Read more about this tool at the Google Blog

We noted Google’s public data search feature in a November 2009 post and today we have an update for you.  Google Labs has just launched “an experimental visualization tool” called Google Public Data Explorer – designed to “help people comprehend data and statistics through rich visualizations.  With the Data Explorer, you can mash up data using line graphs, bar graphs, maps and bubble charts.”

Google data providers are the World Bank, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US Census Bureau, the OECD, the California Dept of Education, Eurostat, the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, so the Explorer has the potential to deliver high quality statistics on a vast array of socio-economic topics and for most geographic regions of the world.  Click here for more information about this resource from the Google Labs blog.

Intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) conduct surveys; publish  research findings; collect and disseminate high quality statistics;  produce reports, articles, newsletters, and much more.   In short,  IGOs can be a terrific resource for you when conducting your own research.  Examples:

Imagine you are looking for articles and data related to education and gender inequality.

  • You wouldn’t want to miss the World Bank’s “Key Issues” page on Girl’s Education.   This part of the Bank’s site offers links to its (freely downloadable) publications and statistics on the topic.
  • Also: check out UNICEF’s “Basic Education and Gender Equality” section.   Provides press releases, publications,  and podcasts.
  • The United Nations has established a special initiative to tackle girls education in particular – the  “Girls Education Initiative.”  Provides press releases, publications, video & audio programs, and links to findings from the GAP Report (Gender Achievements & Prospects in Education).
  • While these groups don’t have subject pages for this topic, they are all working on related projects, conducting research and publishing materials on gender and access to education: the International Labour Organization (ILO); UNESCO; and the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Another Example:  Imagine you are looking for facts & figures related to telecommunications/broadband access and usage around the world.

  • The OECD has a “Broadband Portal” that brings together all the organization’s statistics related to broadband – including number of subscribers per 100 inhabitants, penetration rates, cable modem coverage, DSL coverage, broadband pricing, speeds and more.   Also links to OECD telecommunication indicators and telecom reports.
  • The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has a wide array of free telecommunication  statistics
  • UNESCO maintains a portal for websites that provide statistics related to our “information society.”  Includes links to the OECD and ITU as noted above, and other useful sites such as country statistical agencies; related EU/Europa sites and sites from scholarly societies/institutes

For further information on IGOs and what they can add to your research efforts check out our guide to Intergovernmental Organizations. Features a Google Custom Search Engine that will allow you to search the sites for more than 30 high quality/reputable  IGOs from a single search box.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU)  is “the oldest international organization in the UN family….(providing leadership) for information and communication technology issues.”  The ITU has just launched its “History of ITU Portal” which contains ITU historical documents from radio, telegraph and telephone conferences.  Note, the process of digitization is currently underway and as of this date much of the proposed content has yet to be launched online.  Still, it’s worth noting for now and will be a terrific resource once the project is complete.   The site also provides a link to ITU statistics, which are freely available.

The FAO (Food & Agriculture Organization) has just launched a Gender and Land Rights Database which “puts the spotlight on one of the major stumbling blocks to rural development – widespread inequalities between men and women in their access to land….. (It)  offers up-to-date information on how men and women in 78 countries differ in their legal rights and access to land (and)  provides policymakers and other users with a better picture of the major social, economic, political and cultural factors which affect access to land and enforcement of women’s land rights.” has had some US public data embedded in its search results for a while now, but as of November 11 the World Bank’s public data has been added to Google search results.  According to the Official Google blog, “17 World Development Indicators  are now conveniently available to you in Google search….

Complete list of World Bank indicators currently available:

CO2 emissions per capita, Electricity consumption per capita, Energy use per capita, Exports as percentage of GDP, Fertility rate, GDP deflator change, GDP growth rate, GNI per capita in PPP dollars, Gross Domestic Product, Gross National Income in PPP dollars, Imports as percentage of GDP, Internet users as percentage of population, Life expectancy, Military expenditure as percentage of GDP, Mortality rate, under 5, Population, and Population growth rate.”

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