The Humanitarian Data Exchange
Raw data
Find, share and use humanitarian data all in one place.

Open source humanitarian data

Working on a project and interested if data or research is available? The Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) has a Google-like search engine providing access to humanitarian data.

Humanitarian data search explorer

Many of the other organizations included in the resource hub publish their data on HDX so this is often times an efficient entry point when searching for data. The site is easily navigable and has data in many different data formats, from tabular data to shape files, to raster graphics for map-based data. Whenever we need to create a map we typically start our search with HDX and use the shape files of administrative boundaries uploaded there.

Humanitarian data search overview

The HDX is easy to use because it uses the Humanitarian Exchange Language (HXL). HXL is a standard which allows users to upload their data on the HDX and then easily identify the type of data. Data can, for instance, be marked as containing country or city names, number of people in need etc. The HXL standard is friendly for software developers, it has libraries in Javascript, R and Python which can help streamline workflows, like tagging, uploading and analysing humanitarian data.

Based on the work of Ghadeer Abouda, a 2019 research fellow, the HDX may soon apply machine learning to assist with this HXL tagging process for organizations uploading their humanitarian data. This innovation has the potential to allow humanitarian data contributors to upload their data and be given suggestions for the most helpful HLX tags to use.

A helpful feature of the HDX is the data explorer. This feature allows the user to examine a snapshot of the data and filter it in the browser before downloading it. This will prevent an unnecessary download of a full data set prior to realizing it may not contain the specific information of interest.

Humanitarian data explorer

Investigate humanitarian data:

  • Raw data - Use the search feature to explore the data
The Displacement Tracking Matrix


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