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  • Writer's pictureVahid

Free Sample Data Sources to Learn and Practice Power BI - Part 2

Updated: Jan 12

Your enthusiastic feedback to my previous post "Free Sample Data Sources to Learn and Practice Power BI - Part 1" made it clear that the shared resources have been pivotal for many in refining their Power BI skills. Riding on that wave of success, I'm decided to write the Part 2 of Free Sample Data Sources for Power BI users where I've unearthed a fresh collection of data sources to enrich your analytical repertoire. In this blog, you will find wide range of free and accessible datasets which cover different topics, such as complex global economic trends and intricate health statistics. They are a great resource for developing your skills in data storytelling and trend analysis using Power BI.


Nasdaq Data Link: Your Gateway to Financial Insight

Quandl, that is now known as Nasdaq Data Link, is an absolute goldmine for people looking to boost their Power BI proficiency with extensive financial and economic statistics. And what's really amazing? As a result of its special technology, it makes data handling easy, and since it works with popular tools, it should work well with Power BI. With direct access to over 250 completely reliable datasets via an API (I tested approximately 35 free ones, and they were all spot on), Nasdaq Data Link is a veritable gold mine for enthusiastic and willing individuals looking to improve their data analysis with sobering real-world facts.

To begin utilizing the vast array of free datasets from Nasdaq Data Link, start by creating an account and navigating to the data products page: https://data.nasdaq.com/search

Filter the selection to 'free' and choose a dataset to explore. On the dataset's page, there are multiple ways to access the data - through an API in formats like JSON, CSV, or XML, or directly via Python, R, or Excel. API access grants you up to 10,000 rows of data for immediate use. If you require more extensive data, scroll to 'Data Export (Bulk Download)' at the bottom of the page to download a CSV file with more data (For oil price dataset, the bulk file has 1,048,576 rows of data).

Some of the datasets I find most beneficial include:


Northwind Database via OData: Ideal for Hands-On Power BI Learning

The Northwind database is still one of the best options for anyone who wants to train with a traditional yet comprehensive dataset. It may be easily accessed for free via an OData connection. You can quickly connect to and begin examining this well-structured information, which includes a variety of business entities like orders, products, customers, and workers, by going to Northwind OData Service.

Northwind provides a range of real life business scenarios making it an excellent resource, for individuals looking to improve their skills, in data analysis and visualization using Power BI. Regardless of your level of expertise Northwind offers a playground for exploring and analyzing data.

To connect your Power BI to Northwind Database using Odata:

  1. Open Power BI Desktop and select the 'Home' tab.

  2. Click on 'Get Data' and choose 'OData feed' from the options.

  3. In the OData feed URL box, enter: https://services.odata.org/V4/Northwind/Northwind.svc/ and click 'OK'.

  4. Power BI will then connect to the Northwind dataset. From the Navigator pane, you can select the tables you're interested in.

  5. After selecting the tables, click 'Load'. Power BI will import the data, allowing you to start your analysis and visualization with this classic business dataset.

SAP Gateway ES5: Exploring Enterprise Data with Power BI

For those delving into enterprise data, the SAP Gateway Demo System offers a practical dataset for exploration. Accessible for free via the OData connection, the ES5 system provides a rich array of data at SAP Gateway OData Service. Registration is required, but once set up, you'll gain valuable experience working with a variety of business-oriented data structures typical of SAP environments. This resource is especially beneficial for Power BI users looking to expand their skills in handling complex, real-world enterprise data scenarios.

To access the SAP Gateway Demo System (ES5), you need to create an account and obtain credentials. Here's how you can do it:

  • Visit the SAP Gateway Demo System registration page. You can typically find this by searching for "SAP ES5 Gateway Demo System" or visiting the SAP Developers portal.

  • If you don’t already have an SAP account, you will need to sign up. This process usually involves providing some basic information like your name, email, and company details.

  • After registration, you'll receive an email to activate your account. Follow the instructions in the email to complete the activation process.

  • Once your account is activated, log in to the SAP Gateway Demo System using your credentials.

  • After logging in, you should be able to access various OData services provided by the SAP ES5 system like: https://sapes5.sapdevcenter.com/sap/opu/odata/IWBEP/GWSAMPLE_BASIC/. SAP typically provides detailed documentation on how to use these services.

  • With your username and password, you can connect to the SAP OData services from Power BI by selecting the OData feed option in the 'Get Data' section and entering the service URL and User name and Password.


Our World in Data: Great source for Global Trends data

I've found Our World in Data, a platform that masterfully demystifies complicated global concerns like poverty, climate change, and health, in my search for extensive and educational datasets. This website is a great resource for anyone trying to understand and visualize global trends in Power BI because of its unique interactive data visualizations and concise scientific descriptions. For individuals looking for actual facts that relates to the advancement of society and the human condition, this is the perfect location.

You can choose to explore many topics on the website. Select an interesting topic to download the dataset in CSV format for:

The following datasets are some of my favorites:




Mockaroo: Custom Data Generation for Realistic Testing

In my quest to find useful data sources for Power BI practice, I discovered Mockaroo, a standout solution for generating custom test data. Initially developed to support software testing by simulating real-world data patterns, Mockaroo has grown into a comprehensive service for creating mock data in formats like JSON, CSV, SQL, and Excel. It’s the creation of Mark, a web app developer since 2002, who crafted Mockaroo using Ruby. This platform is particularly useful for those in need of tailored datasets to test and refine their Power BI skills, offering an easy and efficient way to mimic realistic data environments. Watch these video to find that how to use this useful website: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKMZcxOsC3u0Y-4CHg5SDpVjTcrvGttTt



UNdata: A Global Statistical Goldmine for Power BI Insights


I've found UNdata to be an exceptional resource. This platform introduced as part of the "Statistics as a Public Good" program, provides a wide range of international statistics. Managed by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, it's a treasure chest of over 60 million data points covering a vast range of topics from agriculture, Population, Crime and Price and production to education. UNdata is a go-to resource for anybody looking for global information, particularly for powerful Power BI visualizations.

You have the option to download data for each continent or country, as well as global data, in either CSV or JSON file formats. It also has an API capability that lets you import data straight into your file.

One of my favorite datasets on this platform is Tourism Industries: http://data.un.org/DocumentData.aspx?id=482


You can also find sample data on the following websites related to UNdata websites: https://unstats.un.org/unsd/mbs/app/DataSearchTable.aspx


Academic Torrents: Revolutionizing Data Sharing in Research

In my journey to find accessible data sources for practice, Academic Torrents caught my eye as a unique solution for handling large datasets in academia. The Institute for Reproducible Research introduced this platform, which uses BitTorrent technology for effective decentralized data exchange and storage. It's particularly useful for researchers and students who need to access or replicate hefty datasets without incurring high costs. Academic Torrents stands out by distributing the hosting load, significantly reducing the risk of data loss and operational expenses. It's a prime example of innovative data management, ensuring the availability of extensive research data for a wide range of academic and analytical pursuits, including enhancing Power BI skills.

There are over 127.15TB of research data available on this platform, and you can search them to find the data you need.

Please check this link first: https://academictorrents.com/docs/about.html

(In my thorough exploration of Academic Torrents, I've found it to be a safe platform for downloading datasets, especially for academic and research purposes. However, as it relies on peer-to-peer (P2P) technology like BitTorrent, it's wise to take certain precautions. Ensure the legitimacy and integrity of the files, adhere to legal and usage terms, maintain robust internet security (possibly using a VPN), and have your antivirus software updated for optimal safety. While the academic community widely trusts Academic Torrents, these measures add an extra layer of security and reliability to your experience.)


FiveThirtyEight: A Data Analysis Playground

I've been really impressed, with FiveThirtyEight. This website is a treasure trove for people who love data offering a mix of analyzing polls, sports, economics and more all using statistical techniques. FiveThirtyEight is exceptional at transforming data into captivating stories making it a great example of data driven journalism. Whats even better is that they generously share their datasets in CSV format which're perfect for practicing data visualization and analysis in Power BI. Whether you're interested, in politics, sports or economic trends FiveThirtyEights datasets provide an abundance of real world information to sharpen your skills.


IBM Watson Analytics: Legacy in Data Learning

Although IBM Watson Analytics was discontinued in 2019 its impact, on data analysis and business intelligence learning remains significant. This tool was known for its analytics, natural language processing and user friendly interface which made it accessible to a range of users. Whats particularly beneficial for Power BI enthusiasts are the sample datasets provided by IBM. These datasets covered business scenarios making them ideal for practicing and improving data visualization skills. Even though the service itself is no longer available the methodologies and datasets it left behind continue to be a resource for those entering the field of data analytics. They offer insights, into the application of analytics and AI in business.


Awesome Public Datasets

This GitHub repository offers many public data sourced with data collected form blogs, answers, and user contributions. Most datasets are free, but some are paid.



As I look for more free datasets and data sources to improve this blog post, I would appriciate your feedback. Please share any resources you are aware of that aren't covered in this or  Part 1 blog posts in the comments area below.

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