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High-Value Data Sets Across Commerce Bureaus

We need broader input to curate a real list of valuable and usable data, both from government experts and others outside the government.

  • Which other data sets – including outside the Department of Commerce – should we and the public be focused upon?
  • How are others using this data?
  • What could these data sets be used for?

Feel free to reach out to with any ideas or questions.

High-Value Data Sets Across Commerce Bureaus

Census data sets are powerful for developers and organizations that want to analyze a geography and understand its corresponding demographics, such as the income level, employment status, languages spoken, and educational attainment of a population. Census data sets would be particularly useful to nonprofits that want to target services by income or other household characteristics.             

Decennial Census (API) - Every ten years, as mandated by the Constitution, the U.S. Census counts every resident in the United States. The data collected by the decennial census determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and the USG uses these statistics to distribute billions in federal funds to states and communities. The Census API provides population data by sex, age, and race, as well as housing data by occupancy, vacancy status, and tenure, at all levels of geographic resolution.

American Community Survey (API, bulk download) - The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing survey that provides vital information on a yearly basis about our nation and its people. Through the ACS, we know more about jobs and occupations, educational attainment, veterans, whether people own or rent their home, and other topics. 1 year data, 3 year data, 5 Year data (2005-2009, 2010-201)

Making Income Data Available as a Service (API) - The MIDAAS API is designed to encourage a broader understanding of income inequality and returns incomes of different percentiles for the overall population over various geographies. In addition, you can make calls for different subsets of the population based on race, sex, and age groups.

CitySDK (API) - The CitySDK is a JavaScript library that provides a wrapper to various APIs and a set of resources to make them easier to access and use. The API is designed to provide developers with geographic shapes (e.g. counties, Census tracts) and their associated data.

Current Population Survey (bulk download) - The Current Population Survey (CPS) is one of the oldest, largest, and most well-recognized surveys in the United States. In addition to being the primary source of monthly labor force statistics, the CPS is used to collect data for a variety of other studies that keep the nation informed of the economic and social well-being of its people.

Census Geocoder (API) - The Census Geocoder is an address lookup tool that converts an address to an lat/long coordinate and returns information about the address range and the census geography the address is within. The geocoder is available as a web interface and as an API.

Health Insurance Statistics - This API combines data sets from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement, Survey of Income and Program Participation, American Community Survey and Small Area Health Insurance Estimates to provide a comprehensive view of how health care coverage over time and by region is changing in the US.

Survey of Income and Program Participation (bulk download) - The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) is a source of data on the interaction between tax, transfer, and other government and private policies. SIPP collects information for assistance received either directly as money or indirectly as in-kind benefits and SIPP data provide the most extensive information available on how the nation's economic well-being changes over time.

Data sets from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are relevant for organizations and users interested in weather patterns, as well as climate change and energy efficiency-related product development. Also relevant for energy efficiency research is a brand new open data set from the National Institute of Standards and Technology's NetZero residential test facility.

National Weather Service (API) - NOAA's National Weather Service provides weather forecasts, watch & warnings, advisories, and storm prediction that provides the public, government agencies, and commercial enterprises with data from the National Weather Service's digital forecast database.

NOAA Climate Data Online (API) - Climate Data Online provides free access to National Climatic Data Center's archive of global historical weather and climate data in addition to station history information. These data include daily, monthly, seasonal, and yearly measurements of temperature, precipitation, wind, and degree days as well as radar data and 30-year Climate Normals. API methods support retrieval of data for a specified time range, annual, monthly, daily, or hourly.

NOAA Severe Weather Data Inventory (API, bulk download) - The Severe Weather Data Inventory is a data set of severe weather records for the U.S that integrates records from a variety of NOAA sources. The API is able to specify a data set and date range, and filter results using a variety of parameters.

Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Monthly Imagery Composites (bulk download) - VIIRS, a scanning radiometer, collects visible and infrared imagery and radiometric measurements of the land, atmosphere, cryosphere, and oceans. VIIRS data is used to measure cloud and aerosol properties, ocean color, sea and land surface temperature, ice motion and temperature, fires, and the proportion of the Earth's surface that reflects light and radiation.

Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (bulk) - The Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility is a unique laboratory at the National Institute of Standards equipped with solar panels and other energy efficient appliances, as well as robots that live there whose behavior mirrors that of a four-person family. The NetZero Test Facility has recently given more energy back to the grid than it consumes and the corresponding data set includes over 400 variables from the home, including temperature in all areas inside and outside the home, energy usage, and energy production by the solar panel system, at minute-level granularity.

The below data sets from the International Trade Administration are instrumental for businesses interested in exporting products overseas or understanding market forces abroad. Actors that would most benefit from ITA data sets include small and medium manufacturing businesses or business who are considering international expansion.

Consolidated Screening List for Export Controls (API) - The Consolidated Screening List API consolidates eleven export screening lists of the Departments of Commerce, State and the Treasury into a single data feed. This allows companies to determine if a transaction they are about to engage in is subject to a potential ban or regulation.

De Minimus Threshold (API) - The De Minimus threshold API can be used by U.S. companies interested in exporting their products to new foreign markets by seeing what taxes they might be subject to in different countries. Using information from this API, U.S. companies can optimize their export strategies, as well as determine the appropriate price to charge.

Market Research Library (API) - The Market Research Library API provides metadata for country and industry reports that are produced by ITA's trade experts, who are stationed around the world and publish these authoritative reports in conjunction with Foreign Service officers from the State Department.

Organizations and companies performing new product development can access USPTO APIs to determine if patents already exist for particular products or by researchers to determine where R&D dollars should be spent. USPTO APIs are particularly powerful for organizations involved in patent medicine research or innovative product development of any kind.

Patent Application Information Retrieval API - Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) Bulk Data (PBD) lets customers retrieve and download multiple records of USPTO patent application or patent filing status at no cost. Fueled by the PBD API, the PAIR Bulk Data interface allows users to browse PAIR data, formulating queries, and requesting bulk downloads.

Patent Trial and Appeal Board API - The PTAB API allows users to easily browse USPTO Patent Trial and Appeal Board public documents, search for specific content, and request a bulk download of PTAB content.

BEA Data Application Programming Interface (API) - Organizations and research institutes with an interest in economic trends in the United States should consider accessing the Bureau of Economic Analysis API, which provides programmatic access to published economic statistics, including national and regional GDP, income, subsidies, taxes, compensation of employees, and per capita GDP. The BEA API aggregates information from the Census to provide a statistical overview of the US economy and is a great tool for students in economics and organizations working to track trends in poverty and per capita GDP.


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