Friday, October 30, 2015

Data for High School Students


I have had a request from a high school librarian who is looking for databases for her students. I have copied out the relevant part of her emails.

Since the demise of Estat, I am not really sure where to direct her.

“The past few days I have been flooded with requests for help from grade 12 IB biology students who are working on their “Internal Assessment” assignments. The internal assessment consists of a scientific investigation for which the student must find, use, and analyze external datasets. Most are experiencing a great degree of difficulty in locating data that is suitable, that is, related to their research question and at a level that they can easily understand and manipulate. The subject areas in which most students hope to work are marine biology and environmental systems. As there is also a similar assignment in the chemistry, physics, and math studies courses, I need to figure out the best way to access this kind of data for students at a high school academic level. Any suggestions at all would be greatly appreciated.”


Point them to the open data portals! The most comprehensive list can be found here

I have found the Gateway to Research Data search particularly useful for students in the sciences.

For Science Data the teacher should have a look at It is becoming the international registry for accessible data. Sites like Pangea, Bar Code of Life, as well as Geogratis, are all listed there.

Canadian Disaster Database: Historical information on disasters affecting Canadians over the past century.

CANSIM’s environmental tables

Drought Watch (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada): Drought Watch provides timely information (maps) of the impacts of climatic variability on water supply and agriculture.

GeoGratis: Gateway to millions of geospatial data products, including a search tool to discover geospatial data (maps, satellite images, publications and other geospatial data), organizations, and geospatial-related services.

National Air Pollution Surveillance Program (NAPS) - Environment Canada: The National Air Pollution Surveillance (NAPS) Network is a cooperative program of the federal, provincial, territorial and some regional governments providing accurate and long-term air quality data.

National Climate Data and Information Archive: The National Climate Data and Information Archive contains official climate and weather observations for Canada.

National Energy Use Database (NEUD): NEUD is an initiative to help NRCan improve its knowledge of energy consumption and energy efficiency at the end-use level in Canada. The NEUD's most important role is to secure the development of a reliable, Canada-wide information base on energy consumption for all energy-consuming sectors.

National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI): Publicly-accessible inventory of pollutants released, disposed of and recycled by facilities in Canada.

Water Survey of Canada: The Water Survey of Canada (WSC) is the national authority responsible for the collection, interpretation and dissemination of standardized water resource data and information in Canada. In partnership with the provinces, territories and other agencies, WSC operates over 2500 active hydrometric gauges across the country.

Climate Data Online (CDO) (NOAA): Climate Data Online (CDO) is the web access application for the National Climatic Data Center's (NCDC) archive of weather and climate data.

UNEP Environmental Data Explorer: This online database holds more than 500 different variables, as national, sub-regional, regional and global statistics or as geospatial data sets (maps), covering themes like Freshwater, Population, Forests, Emissions, Climate, Disasters, Health and GDP. Display them on-the-fly as maps, graphs, data tables or download the data in different formats. Environment

World Bank, World Development Indicators: Filter series: Environment: Environment for Agricultural production | Biodiversity & protected areas | Density & urbanization | Emissions | Energy production & use | Freshwater | Land use | Natural resources contribution to GDP