Practical cases: aggregated data APIs that contribute to social improvement

Practical cases: aggregated data APIs that contribute to social improvement

The advantages of aggregated data APIs can be harnessed for a number of projects, some with a very powerful impact on society in fields such as medicine, climate change and security.

24 Sep. 2019

The last two decades have seen the arrival of a new ally to bring about improvements in our society. The availability of massive databases on economics, sociology, demographics, medicine and in many other categories means that researchers and academics have large sources with which to try out their models.

These models are rigorously tested and their analysis can give rise to new guidelines so that governments, agencies, private companies and organizations of all kinds can take decisions to enhance people's quality of life. We highlight some examples in this article.


The OECD is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, formed by the 35 governments that generate 80% of the world's GDP, also known as “the rich countries' club”.

In addition to meeting to analyze the role of economics and societies, this organization carries out thorough statistical analyses that support agreements on the bases for future developments. Fortunately, these data are available in the form of public repositories and are also accessible through its powerful API.

Among the hundreds of categories available in this API, there is one – the Better Life Index –that is particularly relevant and compares well-being among countries based on 11 essential areas designated by the OECD governments. The Better Life Index can be downloaded in its entirety from the OECD website.

Other indices with APIs available from the OECD are:

●      GERD: spending on research and development as a percentage of GDP.

●      Indicators of international cooperation.

●      Measurements of wealth distribution.

●      Levels of gender equality in education.

And hundreds more.

2. NHS

The British public healthcare system has an official website called NHS Choices, which offers information on the state of the system to organizations associated to a subscription platform.

As part of its open data platform, the British government also has a section on methods for processing its healthcare information, containing accessible data models on medical data, classification of diseases. Above all it has methods with large databases on:

●      Diagnostic images

●      Oncological treatment results

●      Waiting times

●      Domestic violence

●      Maternal services

●      Etc.

This aggregated data can be used to conduct various types of research into society and how to improve healthcare in the future for a large group of people.

3. Microsoft Cognitive Services

This platform from the technology giant offers access to the complex Microsoft Academic Graph system, also known as MAG. This is a largescale heterogeneous platform of organizations in the area of academic activities, arranged by field of study, author, institution, article, place of research, and more.

Combined with other APIs from Microsoft and the Bing team, and particularly with data from computer vision and linguistic analysis, it constitutes a powerful aggregated data tool.

4. World Bank, Climate Change

Another very well-known international organization, the World Bank, has an aggregate knowledge platform accessible through publicly available APIs. Derived from 15 different filtering models, it reflects the reality of a broad spectrum of environmental data identified by scientists as relevant.

The system has a wide variety of methods that can return data either individually or in an aggregate way. They are organized by country and year, and also by other geographic elements such as hydrographic basins, for example.

The data from the World Bank are closely linked to the Data for Climate Action initiative organized by the United Nations and in which BBVA Data & Analytics also participates. This is an open innovation project that is committed to big data and the contributions that can be made by the private sector.

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