Critical Data
A tiny bootstrap sample of resources

Community, Debate, Activism, Policy
The Radical Statistics Group
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
The Social Justice Wiki, at Columbia University
The Working Class Studies Association
Mapping American Social Movements

Left Turn, Clyde
Envisioning a Post-Capitalist Order
Critical Spatial Practice
Subtopia:  A Field Guide to Military Urbanism
The People's Geography Project

Treasure-Troves of Primary and Secondary Data Sources
Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research
ESDS Qualidata Achives, at the University of Essex

Counting that Counts
Iraq Body Count

Library Links
UBC Geographic Information Centre (GIC) Collection Search
Google Scholar
Lexis-Nexis Academic
Lexis-Nexis Statistical
Web of Science
Academic Search Premier
Legal Periodicals

Spatial Data Treasure-Trove
Briank Klinkenberg's GIS and Remote Sensing LinkBase
BC Economic Atlas

Core Surveys from Government Agencies, University Centers, and Nonprofit Foundations
Fred, Federal Reserve Economic Data
U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder
American Housing Survey
New York City Housing Vacancy Survey
Home Mortgage Disclosure Act
Survey of Income and Program Participation
Panel Study of Income Dynamics
National Longitudinal Surveys
County-to-County Migration Data, IRS
Statistics of Income Data, IRS
Consumer Expenditure Survey
Survey of Consumer Finances
Regional Economic Information System
National Opinion Research Center
National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership
Mexican Migration Project
Migration Information Source
Fiscal Austerity and Urban Innovation Project

Secondary-Secondary: Synthetic Alchemy
Mumford Center comparative data
Integrated Public Use Microdata Series
Integrated Canadian-American Public Use Microdata Series
Historical Census Browser
Historical Microdata Around the World
Prisoners of the Census
Justice Mapping Center

Primary-Synthetic Social Data
Project to Assess Nonviolent Direct Action
Documentation and Analysis of Protest Events in the Federal Republic of Germany (PRODAT)
Media Resonance on Global Justice Campaigns
Survey of Mass Demonstration Participants Against the War in Iraq
The Arms Transfer Database, at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Data sets developed by Gary King, including "The Supreme Court During Crisis: How War Affects Only Nonwar Cases,"
"Elections to the United States House of Representatives, 1898-1992," and the "Record of American Democracy Project"
The Kansas Events Data System

Flash a Mirror at the Panopticon
Online Network of Freedom of Information Advocates
They Rule
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse
The National Security Archive
The Policy Agendas Project
Open Secrets
Comparitech's Analysis of Facebook Advertising
Landmine Monitor
Fair Finance Watch

Recent Additions

Geography and Indigenous Studies Programs

Data Resources:  Elections, from Princeton University Library

Sam Roberts (2012).  "Police Demographics Unit Casts Shadows from Past."  New York Times, January 3.

Peter Dreier's Cry Wolf Project

DataPointed, Stephen Von Worley's Visualization Journals

The Instiute for Applied Autonomy

The Enron Corpus

Today's Front Pages, from the Newseum

Spatial Justice

Bill Rankin, Radical Cartography

The New York Times American Community Survey Explorer:  "Mapping America:  Every City, Every Block"

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Datagov Wiki

The Center for Global Non-Killing
That's a title that needs no explanation, right?  The existence of such a center fills the heart with hope.  The fact that such a center is so urgently needed fills the heart with anxiety.

Vancouver's Open Data Catalogue
Yes!  Finally, the politics of data in Vancouver are becoming just a bit more open.

Amazing resource from the folks at The Reinvestment Fund -- allows a wide range of interactive maps of a wide range of housing and demographic information relevant to crucial questions of geography, development, and policy.
A new initiative of the Obama Administration, designed to increase public access to information gathered and created by the Executive branch.

The Berkeley-Penn Urban and Environmental Modeler's Datakit
Blocks, tracts, places, counties, County Business Patterns, etc., etc., all free, in ready-to-use shapefiles, all rectified to a common projection.  Remarkable!

eAtlas, companion to the World Bank Atlas of Global Development

The War Card
380,000 word searchable
database of "orchestrated deception
on the path to war" by top officials
of the Bush Administration

Data Transfer

Aerial Photographs of Vancouver, June 23, 2006
A collection of aerial views from Lion's Gate Bridge to Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver, the downtown peninsula, North Vancouver towards Coquitlam, then back along Burrard Inlet to the Port of Vancouver.  Beware, this is a monstrous file, some 444MB. Apologies for the glare and window reflections in some of the shots.

2004 HMDA Worksheet
Tabulations of denial rates, racial-ethnic composition of mortgage applicant pool, and rate-spread loan shares for all Metropolitan Areas in the United States.

Philadelphia HMDA Loan Application Register and Transmittal Sheet Data
For Kristen Crossney.

Resources for Urban Affairs Association Presentation
For Dan Hammel.

List of Gentrified Neighborhoods
Tracts used in the classifications presented in Elvin K. Wyly and Daniel J. Hammel (2005), "Mapping Neoliberal American Urbanism."  In Rowland Atkinson and Gary Bridge, editors, Gentrification in a Global Context:  The New Urban Colonialism.  London and New York:  Routledge, pp. 18-38.

Image ©copyright 2006 Tyler Pearce
Other Resources

U.S. Federal Research and Legal Portals
U.S. Bureau of the Census
Thomas, at the U.S. Library of Congress
Edgar, at the Securities and Exchange Commission
U.S. Supreme Court
Public Resource
(see the profile of Carl Malamud, "a self-styled Robin Hood
of the information age," in John Markoff (2007).  "A Quest to Get More
Court Rulings Online, and Free."  New York Times, August 21, C6.  Malamud
is challenging the oligopoloy of corporate control of searchable laws and
court decisions, declaring that these are the "operating system of the nation...
The system only works if we can all openly read the primary sources.
It is crucial that the public domain data be available for anybody
to build on."  Markoff, p. C6.

Fair Housing and Fair Lending Resources
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Fair Housing and Housing Finance working paper series
Randall Scheessele's Subprime Lender List
Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council
FFIEC Home Mortgage Disclosure Act resources
Federal Reserve Board, National Information Center
National Community Reinvestment Coalition
National Consumer Law Center
The Woodstock Institute
Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies
PriceWaterhouseCoopers Fair Lending Compliance Consulting
The Financial Markets Center
New Jersey Preforeclosures
MBAA Residential Mortgage Data
Fannie Mae
The Fannie Mae Foundation
Freddie Mac

Mapping Tools
Andrew Beveridge's Social Explorer
U.S. Census Cartographic Boundary Files
Tools from the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science
Google Maps
Phillip Holmstrand's Batch Geocode Tools
Los Angeles Homeless Count Maps, from Cartifact
Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, UT-Austin

Miscellaneous Culture Jamming
Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping
Improv Everywhere
DefCon:  "We believe elected officials
put their hand on the bible and swear to
uphold the Constitution.  Not the other way around."
Get Your War On

Urban Resistance and Social Justice Mobilization
Class War Poster Campaigns in San Francisco, 1993-2001

Assorted Urban Teaching Resources
BBC World Urbanistion Animation
World Migration Map, from the Migration Policy Institute

This site was not made possible by the financial support of large multinational corporations seeking to distract attention from their misdeeds by making contributions to pseudo-liberal media products or charitable causes.  Instead, this site is brought to you by the generous support of all the taxpayers who have supported the public, non-profit educational insitutions that have allowed me to pursue free, independent inquiry wherever it takes me.
I Am Not Making This Up Department, Division 17:  Responding to the controversy over the massive investment that Wall Street hedge funds are making in several companies spearheading the proliferation of surveillance cameras throughout hundreds of cities in China, Peter Siris drew comparisons to New York City's extensive surveillance system.  "Is New York a police state?" he asked.  Siris is the managing director of two hedge funds that are named (I am not making this up) Guerrilla Capital and Hua-Mei 21st Century.  Both funds have been early and aggressive investors, providing funding for an increasingly sophisticated infrastructure of cameras, facial recognition algorithms, and software that makes it possible "for security cameras to count the number of people in crosswalks and alert the police [if] a crowd forms at an unusual hour, a possible sign of an unsanctioned protest."  Keith Bradsher (2007).  "Wall Street Sees an Opportunity in China's Surveillance Boom."  New York Times, September 11, A1, A12, quotes from p. A12.
Marginal elasticity of bogosity under conditions of asymmetric intelligence:  "Economics is the only academic discipline that in recent decades has moved in the direction that America and much of the world has moved, to the right."  George Will (2007).  "The Democratic Economist."  Washington Post, October 4, A25.
"The supply of moral outrage is limited.  When we aim it at the wrong targets, we squander a valuable resource." Robert Frank (2007).  "Invisible Handcuffs."  Book Review of Robert Reich, Supercapitalism:  the Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (New York:  Knopf).  New York Times, October 21.
"Most people like to believe something is or is not true.  Great scientists tolerate ambiguity very well.  They believe the theory enough to go ahead; they doubt it enough to notice the errors and faults so they can step forward and create the new replacement theory. If you believe too much you'll never notice the flaws; if you doubt too much you won't get started. It requires a lovely balance."  Richard W. Hamming (1986).  "You and Your Research."  Presentationg at the Morrise Research and Engineering Center, Morristown, NJ.  Transcription by J.F. Kaiser.  Available at
The efforts of some cyber-sleuths, insurgent independent journalists and bloggers "are the latest sign that a new generation of individuals see 'information gathering as a participatory contact sport,' said Jonathan Zittrain, a law professor at the Harvard Law School and a co-founder of its Berkman Center for Internet and Society.  'I think that is a positive sign.'"  Quoted in Miguel Helft (2008).  "Internet-Age Detective on the Trail of Gymnasts:  Cyber-Sleuth Uncovers Information on Disputed Birth Dates of Chinese Athletes."  New York Times, August 29, C14.
According to the theory of relativity, you already read this disclaimer -- just in a different place.
CopyLeft 2018 Elvin K. Wyly
Except where otherwise noted, this site is
licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada License.

Sixty million observations!  Eighty eight million! 

The paragraph above is a lie.  When words hurt, sentences kill.  And those do.  My first sentence above erased eight hundred forty one thousand, three hundred seventeen individual stories.  The second sentence disappeared five hundred sixty-one thousand, one hundred thirteen.

How could I be so callous, so care-less?

What can these huge numbers mean, when the complexity of individuals, all those multifaceted lives, are distilled down into ... each ... one?  One.  Each one an observation.  Capable of being observed.

Now I think I understand why Markus Doel (2001) was so angry with the number one.  It puts everything on the same level, and that feels violent, when we realize how many different sides there are to our own personal, individual identities.  Think of trying to summarize as as "one" "observation."  One?  Louis Wirth (1938) taught us that the segmented self is the essence of personal identity in the overwhelming informational ecosystem of the city:  we show different sides of ourselves when we interact with different people, in different circumstances.  Indeed, we act so differently that perhaps it would be more honest just to say that we really are different 'selves' in different situations.  Michael Curry (1997) brilliantly updates the idea for today's "digital invidual" -- the passwords, avatars, and cookie-and-GPS-trails each of us leaves for others exploring the strange landscapes of the social web.

.  Torsten Hagerstrand and Allan Pred understand this, and so does Julie Graham (1993), Ananya Roy (2011), Michael Curry (1997), and Elizabeth Lee (2012).

So does Auguste Comte, and Louis Wirth, and Peter Gould, and Julie Graham, they're speaking now through Michael Curry (1997), and Ananya Roy (2011), Elizabeth Lee (2012), and so many others, each
Quick links to current addictions
Recent Bedtime data-documentation-what-does-this-variable-mean? Reading...
Global Digital Activism Dataset

"The data-antagonistic Harper government has so muzzled federal scientists that an editorial in the prestigious Nature magazine demanded that it was "time for the Canadian government to set its scientists free."
Andrew Nikiforuk (2012).  "Understanding Harper's Evangelical Mission."  The Tyee, March 26.

"...he had already trained himself to tune out the daily ratings updates, which arrive on computers and BlackBerries throughout Rockefeller Center every weekday at four.  'Obviously, the numbers are bad right now,' he said.  But television ratings are notoriously noisy, distorted by imperfect monitoring and by the imperfect science of statistical extrapolation, so he was on guard against drawing lessons from a strong Thursday, or a weak Monday.  'Looking at day-to-day ratings tickles the worst instincts human beings have on causal inference,' he said, sounding as if he were a rat, describing his own lab.  'It creates cargo cult.  It creates rain dances.  It's like, Oh my God, the number's good today.  What did we do yesterday?  Well, we danced, and it rained.  So let's dance!'"
MSNBC host Chris Hayes, describing the ratings analysis for his new show All In With Chris Hayes, cited in Kelefa Sanneh (2013).  "Twenty-Four Hour Party People."  The New Yorker, September 2, 48-57, quote from p. 51.

Matthew Zook's "Floating Sheep"
"Cyberspace. Places. Users. SMUSH! Wow!"
Wow, indeed...!

Federal Reserve Economic Data
recently applauded as "the most amazing economics website in the world."

Brookings EITC Interactive
for tax-return income and Earned-Income Tax Credit (EITC) analysis
"Hurtig has run for Parliament, founded a political party and published articles, pamphlets, and half a dozen books about what makes us Canadian.  His crowning achievement is the creation of a modern encyclopedia written by Canadians about Canadians. ... Now, at 82, an age when one might expect he'd be spending his days walking the dog on the seawall, Hurtige rides to battle again:  this time, the foe is the prime minister, subject of The Arrogant Autocrat:  Stephen Harper's Takeover of Canada."  Harper has exploited a dysfunctional electoral system in order to foist upon Canada 'an extreme American-style, neo-conservative agenda' that distorts and betrays the 'Progressive Conservative' party that the big-C Conservatives took over, Hurtig argues, in a cogent analysis of various tactics used to systematically dismantle democratic processes and progressive principles.  "What kind of democracy, Hurtig wonders, embraces the suppression and politicized state control of information essential to good governance?  He cites Harper's overt hostility to environmental concerns and the price of his over-emphasis on oilsands development; the systematic muzzling of scientists; what he calls 'datacide,' the emasculation of agencies gathering reliable baseline statistics as a way of undermining fact-based opposition to ideologically motivated policy; rapidly growing income inequality and a shrinking middle class; neglect of the poorest and most vulnerable Canadians."
--All direct quotes are taken from Stephen Hume (2015).  "Mel Hurtig Rides into Battle Again."  Vancouver Sun, June 8, p. A6.
Post-election update:  Trudeau's first official act restores the census.  Data...!
The Trumpian Assault on Science, Data, and Logic Has Begun
"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no Federal funds may be used to design, build, maintain, utilize, or provide access to a Federal database of geospatial information on community racial disparities or disparities in access to affordable housing."
Translation:  if we eliminate the data, racial discrimination does not exist!  Paul Gosar has introduced a motion to kill the Obama Administration's HUD rule, "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing," which was the culmination of a long struggle to finally give some force to antidiscrimination laws fought for by the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.  Who is Paul Gosar, you ask?  He represents Arizona's Fourth Congressional District, a vast territory of gated communities, rural sagebrush, tourist attractions and small towns between the northern suburbs of Phoenix up to the Grand Canyon, Lake Meade, and the border with Nevada southeast of Las Vegas.  To give you a bit of data on precisely what kind of motherfucker idiot Gosar is, consider that his Congressional website boasts that he has a career "A" rating by the National Rifle Association, and current "100%" ratings from nasty right-wing outfits like Americans for Prosperity, the Christian Coalition of America, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Eagle Forum, the Family Research Council, and Gun Owners of America.

The Trump Panic Project
Do you value data, evidence, integrity?  Do you pay attention to what's happening in any of the domains of market, society, policy, regulation, or law in any area where the United States federal government plays a role?  Download everything you can before January 20, 2017.  Donald J. Trump is building a cabinet of military generals and conspiracy theorists whose main common interest seems to be outright hostility to the federal departments they will be "leading."  Imagine the enormous data infrastructure of U.S. federal agencies, and now imagine the kinds of policy directives on public information likely to come from a President whose main form of communication involves hostile 3:00 AM tweets.  Imagine the kind of public accountability and data availability we're likely to see from Department heads appointed by a racist misogynist "reality" television celebrity who paid $25 million to settle a lawsuit over the fraudulent, predatory practices of an institution named, with an orange but apparently straight face, "Trump University."

Download Data Now!

-- Dispatch from an undisclosed location in South America with a pretty good internet connection, building the collection of HMDA (Home Mortgage Disclosure Act) and IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) data archives.

There's Big Data, and then There's Big Historical Data of the Old-Fashioned Type.  Impressive!

"The building's morgue contained more than 1600 unbound editions of the Marshfield Sun, which provided the beginnings of a collection that today contains about 800 bound volumes of daily and weekly newspapers in what is now the city of Coos Bay.  The Marshfield Sun Printing Museum collection contains an original copy of all editions of every Coos Bay newspaper known to exist from 1869 to the present.  There are said to be other historical runs of daily American newspapers in private collections, but they are very rare, and the Marshfield Sun collection is possibly unique."

Lionel Youst (2016).  "Marshfield Sun Printing Museum Newspaper Repository."  Northwest History 106(4), 202-203.


"Observation is always selective.  It needs a chosen object, a definite task, an interest, a point of view, a problem."  Sir Karl Raimund Popper (1902-1994), Conjectures and Refutations (1953, published in 1963).  Cited in Una McGovern, ed. (2005).  Webster's New World Dictionary of Quotations.  Hoboken, NJ:  Wiley, p. 663.

"If we don't make you cry, we fail ... It's about emotion, which is bizarre for a tech company." -- Lorraine Twohill, a Vice President of Global Marketing at Google, describing the corporate behemoth's newfound enthusiasm for advertising as part of an effort to disarm antitrust regulators with "heartwarming stories."  Claire Cain Miller (2012).  "Google, Where Data is Religion, Plays to Feelings."  New York Times, January 1.
Resist the Violent, Racist Trumpian World of 'Alternative Facts'!
Official statement distributed to all members of the Association of American Geographers:

"February 21, 2017

The Honorable Mike Lee
U.S. Senate
361A Russell SOB
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable
Paul Gosar
U.S. House of Representatives
504 Cannon HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Senator Lee and Congressman Gosar,

The undersigned organizations are writing with regard to S. 103 and H.R. 482, legislation you recently introduced regarding Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations.

As you know, this bill provides that “… no Federal funds may be used to design, build, maintain, utilize, or provide access to a Federal database of geospatial information on community racial disparities or disparities in access to affordable housing,” in addition to nullifying the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation.

It is our belief that this legislation could foster racial discrimination and have far-reaching consequences on federally-sponsored research on racial disparities, as well as on federal human health programs; census issues; education programs, including services for children; federal housing programs; Department of Justice programs; and other critical programs. Our association members often conduct research or provide services – some of which is federally funded – using geospatial information related to racial and other disparities, and we fear that the enactment of this legislation could have a damaging effect on a wide range of Americans and their communities.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Please do not hesitate to contact John Wertman at the American Association of Geographers at or (202) 234-1450 if you have any questions about this issue or would like to set up a meeting with representatives from our organizations to discuss the policy implications of these restrictions to the use of and access to geospatial data and racial disparities information.


American Association of Geographers
American Anthropological Association
American Educational Research Association
American Geographical Society
American Geosciences Institute
American Psychological Association
American Sociological Association
Association of Research Libraries
Cartography and Geographic Information Society
Center for Global Policy Solutions
ChangeLab Solutions
Consortium of Social Science Associations
Economic Policy Institute Policy Center
Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice
Institute for the Study of "Race" & Social Justice
Midwest Political Science Association
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
National Collaborative for Health Equity
National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association
National States Geographic Information Council
North American Regional Science Council
Poverty and Race Research Action Council
Rural Sociological Society
Society for Research in Child Development
The City Project
University Consortium for Geographic Information Science"
Too many pickup trucks have gun racks.  More need fact racks.
Using Library Science to Map the Separation Crisis
Torn Apart / Separados

Fascinating!  Anat Caspi, at the University of Washington, has developed AccessMap, which is a sort of Google Maps customized to show city sidewalks and other features according to conditions for differently-abled people.
Robotic Renaissance?
"...the data led us to the conclusion that the subject should be a portrait, of a caucasian male, with facial hair, between thirty and forty years old, in dark clothing with a collar and wearing a hat, and facing to the right..."
Automating Rembrandt
Facts are stubborn, and sometimes dangerous, things.  Source:  Thomas H. Russell, ed. (1912).  The Sinking of the Titanic.  Chicago:  National Bible House / L. H. Walter, p. 72; copyright lapsed, material is in the public domain.