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Contents

  1. General
    • Does UNdata replace the UN Common Database (CDB)?
    • Does UNdata replace the COMTRADE?
  2. Data search
    • How do I access the data?
    • How do I find a definition?
    • How do I search by keyword?
    • Why didn't I find any results?
    • How does "Table View" differ from "Record View"?
  3. Data download and table customization
    • Can you download more than 50,000 records at once?
    • Why is there no pivot feature on many of the tables?
    • Why is there no country/area code in the xml/csv files for download?
    • Is there any possibility of making a Web Service to consume data from databases?
  4. Data coverage and sources
    • What kind of statistics can I get from UNdata?
    • Where does the data come from, i.e. sources?

General

Does UNdata replace the UN Common Database (CDB)?

UNdata is replacing the UNCDB. The new system goes beyond the concept of the UNCDB, starting from the way the data is stored and searched to the data presentation. Furthermore, the UNCDB only includes a small selection of UNSD's extensive data collection, whereas UNdata will have broader data coverage from various international and national sources.

The UNCDB series are currently available through UNdata under the new name "Key indicators". Please note that the Key indicator's scope has already been reduced, as some of the series have been included from the original data provider.

The UNCDB will be discontinued this summer after the academic year finished in most schools around the globe.


Does UNdata replace the COMTRADE?

UNdata is not replacing COMTRADE. COMTRADE is a very comprehensive database for merchandise statistics containing around 1.5 billion trade records in 7 classifications up to 6 digit level of the classification. In addition, the COMTRADE interface offers many more features that are specific to this large trade statistics dataset, e.g. the search by partners and reporters to create mirror images.

UNdata contains only around 40 million trade records only in 2 digit HS 1992 classification and searchable only by reporters.

Data search

How do I access the data?

There are several ways to access the data:

1. Keyword search
The easiest way of accessing data is by keyword search. Please enter your search terms in the search bar on top of any page and click "Search". UNdata allows any combination of keywords to search across the institutional databases from different sources. The system recognizes countries, years, subject areas and databases and lists matching series drawn from the data warehouse.

2. Database explorer
All databases are listed in the "Explorer". The database explorer has been implemented as an alternative entry point to the keyword search. This does not only provide another approach to find data, but gives a good overview of the data availability by database and shows its hierarchical structure.

3. Advanced Search
You can also go to "More" and "Advanced Search" to make a refined search, which offers options for making searches more precise and getting more useful results. There is also an option to enable a "deep search", which will include the entire data series content in the search. This will probably return a bigger result set, but also takes more search time.


How do I find a definition?

The definitions can either be accessed alphabetically or by keyword search. To access definitions alphabetically, go to "Glossary" and select the first letter of the word you want. A list of words available for that letter will appear for you to make a selection. To access definitions using keywords, type one or more words in the search box then select "Glossary".


How do I search by keyword?

On the UNdata homepage, type one or more keywords in the search box and click "Search". UNdata searches across all the listed databases for series which match those keywords. The system recognizes countries, years and subject areas.


Why didn't I find any results?

There are a number of reasons why you may not have found any results, largely dependent on what you were searching for. Usually, searching again using different (e.g. e.g. try searching for "poultry" instead of "chicken") or more generic (e.g. "coal" instead of "lignite brown coal") search terms will yield some results.

You can also try browsing through the databases in the Explorer to try to find the topic that you are searching for.


How does "Table View" differ from "Record View"?

Record view is the simplest way of viewing data. In record view, all data records are presented in a flat structure, hence each piece of information is repeated in each row of the table.

In Table View, the UNdata system attempts to group logically related information - for example years, or countries - together, and present them in a tabular layout. This presents a more concise view of the data.

Data download and table customization

Can you download more than 50,000 records at once?

No, unfortunately, 50,000 is the maximum number of records that are downloadable at any one time.


Why is there no pivot feature on many of the tables?

We are planning to include a pivot feature on all databases in the near future.


Why is there no country/area code in the xml/csv files for download?

You can choose to include the country codes by selecting the respective column: Please click on "Select columns" in the list of links above the data table and include the fields you need. The download will include all visible columns and therefore also country codes.


Is there any Web Service to consume data from databases?

As of October 2013, you can access UNdata through an SDMX-based Web Service. See Using UNdata API for further information.

In addition, there are two third-party projects providing API access to UNdata:

  1. The first UNdata API project is a community effort hosted by: http://www.undata-api.org/. The aim is to make this data accessible and reusable in a variety or ways, so that users can combine UNdata with other data, and perform new analyses. The service uses a straightforward REST API hosted on Google's Java AppEngine and makes UNdata sets easily queryable from any application.
  2. The second UNdata API project is made available via Microsoft's cloudcomputing service called "Dallas": https://www.sqlazureservices.com. "Dallas" is a new service allowing developers and information workers to easily discover, purchase and manage free and premium data subscriptions in the Windows Azure platform. "Dallas" is an information marketplace that brings data, imagery, and real-time web services from leading data providers and authoritative public data sources together into a single location, under a unified provisioning and billing framework. Additionally, "Dallas" APIs allow developers and information workers to consume this premium content with virtually any platform, application or business workflow.
    More information about "Dallas" and the services provided is available on Jim O'Neil's Blog.

Data coverage and sources

What kind of statistics can I get from UNdata?

You can find official statistics produced by countries and compiled by United Nations data system, as well as estimates and projections. The domains covered are agriculture, crime, education, energy, industry, labour, national accounts, population and tourism. You can also find indicators such as Millennium Development Goals.


Where does the data come from, i.e. sources?

The statistics available through UNdata are produced by United Nations Statistics and Population Divisions as well as other United Nations agencies. In the future UNdata will give access to the National Statistical Offices statistics. You can see the list of sources going to "More" and then "Metadata".

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