We know by now that data is essential to the modern business. Everyone collects it, and most have some sort of analysis plan or software in place. But what a lot of companies still haven’t gotten the hang of is using outside data sources to boost their strategic decision-making. This requires a BI software that can combine your internal data with third-party sources, to analyze it and gain new insights.

There are many free, external data sources posted around the Internet that can, if used well, completely transform our understanding of our market, audience, and the way we do business. Some are perfect complements to your own data, and others are just interesting to play around with. Problem is that wading through the huge number of great datasets can be super time-consuming. So here are a few examples of sources you can leverage for your business. If you have your own favorite data sources we haven’t mentioned, tell us in the comments below!


CIA Factbook Dataset

United States


United Kingdom

New Zealand




City of New York

City of London

Washington D.C.

City of Berlin

City of Toronto


NOAA Climate Data Center

World Bank Development Research – Energy and Environment

Economic and Financial:

World Bank Development Research – Finance & Private Sector

World Bank Development Research – Trade Research

World Bank Development Research – Macroeconomics

USA Bureau of Labor Statistics Public Data API

Medical and Scientific:

USA Medicare

Gene Expression Omnibus

Yahoo Labs Webscope – A reference library of interesting and scientifically useful datasets for non-commercial use by academics and other scientists. You must be a faculty member, research employee, or student at an accredited university to get your hands on this.

Google N-Grams


United States Department of Transportation

USA Federal Aviation Administration


NationMaster – Data comparisons between countries on everything from crime statistics to birth rates to health information.

Amazon Datasets – Amazon Web Services provides this centralized repository of public data sets that can be integrated into AWS cloud-based applications.

Datamob – In their words: “Good things happen when governments make data available in developer-friendly formats. We’re tracking them here.”

Freebase – A collaborative knowledge base that consists of metadata (composed mainly by its community members). Basically it’s online collection of data from many, many sources.

Network Repository – Just as the name suggests, this has a whole lot of datasets about different kinds of networks, from online social networks to biological networks.

Google Public Data Directory

SIngle Stack versus Data Visualization Tools