ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer

From the site:

Nonprofit Explorer includes nonprofit tax return data released by the IRS in April 2013 for tax returns processed by the IRS during 2012. This generally consists of filings for the 2011 fiscal year, but may include older records. The IRS data release includes only a subset of what can be found in the full Form 990s. Wherever possible, we’ve linked to PDFs of the full 990 for each organization, some going back ten years, collected at”

ProPublica also has an excellent guide for investigating nonprofits.


Google image search

Google image search allows you to search an image’s URL (or upload an image) to find where that image appears online and to find similar images.

Beware that similar images may be visually similar but not necessarily related, as in this example:

image search example

Photographers can use image search to see if their photo is being used on other websites. Social media editors can use it to make sure a user-submitted photo of a news event isn’t actually an old image, and anyone can use it to find out where an image originated. (Click on the links in that previous paragraph for examples and for information about Tineye and other ways to do reverse image searches.)

How to do it:

Go to and click the camera icon in the search box. Paste the URL of an image on the web, or upload an image from your computer.

A browser extension for Google Chrome or Firefox lets you do an image search from any image on the web by right-clicking on it.

iWitness: Explore social media content by time and place

Try iWitness here. Note: It works with Google Chrome and Safari, but not Firefox or Internet Explorer.

About iWitness, from the iWitness FAQ:

Q: What is iWitness?
A: iWitness is a free, web-based software tool that makes it easy for people to explore social media content by time and place.

Q: How does it work?
A: iWitness scans social media services for content that a user has attached a location to. Any content without a location attached to it does not show up in iWitness.

Q: What social media services does iWitness support?
A: The initial release of iWitness scans Twitter and Flickr. It can also show photos and videos posted to Twitter that are hosted on the following services:

Photos: Twitter, Instagram, Twitpic, Twitgoo, Lockerz
Videos: YouTube, Twitvid, Vimeo

Q: What about Facebook? I love Facebook!
A: We love Facebook too. But Facebook doesn’t let us access the location associated with a piece of content. We hope they will in the future. Fortunately, iWitness is an open-source tool, meaning anyone can modify it or extend it to support new services.

Q: What browsers does iWitness work on? Can I use it on my phone or tablet?
A: iWitness works with WebKit-based browsers such as Google Chrome or Safari. You can use it on an iPad, but it’s not designed to work on the small screens of mobile phones.

Q: Where does the source code live?
A: You can access the source code repository at

Q: Who created iWitness?
A: These folks:

Adaptive Path design team
Product Concept, Project Lead, and UX Design:
Jesse James Garrett
Visual Design: Vanessa Stepanenko
Project Manager: Eun-Joung Lee

New Context development team
John Andrews
Alex Burkhart
Mike Enriquez
Adam McCrea
Jerry Nümmi
Project Manager: Mike Doel

Political advertising data

Wanna know how much a candidate, party or PAC paid for that 30 second ad you saw on TV?

As of August 2012 the Federal Communications Commission TV Station Profiles & Public Inspection Files
includes “political files” for local television stations affiliated with the top four national networks (CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox) located in the top 50 DMAs (Designated Market Areas). The political file documents include detailed information about political advertising, including the cost of specific commercials.

Search by call sign (e.g., WXYZ), network affiliation (e.g., NBC), channel number (e.g., 26), or facility ID number (e.g., 123456).

ProPublica’s Free The Files project is extracting information from those FCC documents to make it possible to search and analyze the data.

Quick and dirty Census maps

Go to the American Factfinder website.

Click on “Topics” and choose people | age group | older population for this example, and then close the topics window.

Click on “Geographies” and choose an area. Choose Census Tracts | Florida | Palm Beach County for this example, and then “All Census Tracts within Palm Beach County” and click on “Add to your selections.” Close the geographies window.


Click on “Create a Map” (one of the “Actions” in blue text, above the table).

To map males older than 65 living alone, click on the number 112 in the estimate column, down there near the bottom (or alternately, the 333 for females living alone).

Click on “Show Map” and wait a few moments for the map to load and you get a color-coded map showing which Census tracts have the most older men living alone in PBC.

Another example showing percentage of households with incomes of $200,000 or more: