FAO Frees Data

The open data trend continues to accelerate. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced today that it is granting free and open access to its central data repository.  According to FAO, the database, FAOSTAT, is “the world’s largest and most comprehensive statistical database on food, agriculture, and hunger.”

I spent a little time with FAOSTAT. It’s not a database that yields fascinating results casually, but it is also clear that it’s a massive repository of information. I think it’s going to be a treasure trove for a dedicated researcher.

On a bigger level, the sheer number of statistical databases coming online represent a really exciting trend. In addition to FAOSTAT, we also have aiddata.org for information on international aid, and devinfo.org with data on human development. In the next few years, we’re going to learn a whole lot about global development that we never had the tools to understand before.