Set of scripts to aid in the download of the GDELT data files from gdelt.utdallas.edu
Python
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README.md
download_daily.py
download_historical.py

README.md

Note: 02/17/14

I am no longer associated with the GDELT project as noted here, so I will not continue to update this package. There is a fork of this project here that has some updates available.

GDELT Download

The GDELT data is spread across multiple files, with a new file added each day. Downloading each and every file is not a fun endeavor. These scripts were written in order to aid in the download of the GDELT data. The first script download_historical.py is aimed at downloading the historical data, and the previous daily updated. The second script, download_daily.py, is aimed at downloading the new files that are uploaded to the GDELT website each day. This script enables the user to either call the script each day to fetch the newest upload, or to run the process in the background to download the new updates, i.e., the events for the previous day, each day at 10:00am.

Each script implements a 30 second delay where appropriate in order to avoid swamping the server. Additionally, all of the functions in download_historical.py check to see whether the file already exists in the directory before downloading.

Dependencies

As of September 20, 2013 the requests library is required for all functions. This requirement was to help ease the transition from Python 2 to Python 3. The library is easy to install using pip or easy_install.

download_historical Usage

The script has three modes: daily, single, and range.

Note: If you wish to use the daily mode, the lxml library is necessary. You can install the library using pip install lxml. The script also makes use of argparse, which is included in the standard library from Python 2.7+. If you are using an older version, it is necessary to install argparse using pip or easy_install.

Daily:

The daily mode downloads the daily updates that are currently uploaded to the GDELT website.

Usage:

python download_historical.py daily -d ~/gdelt/ -U

Where -d is the flag for the directory to which the files should be written, and -U is the optional flag indicating whether each downloaded file should be unzipped.

Single:

The single mode downloads the updates for a single year.

Usage:

python download_historical.py single -y 1979 -d ~/gdelt/ -U

Where -y is the flag that indicates which year should be downloaded, -d is the flag for the directory to which the files should be written, and -U is the optional flag indicating whether each downloaded file should be unzipped.

Range:

The range mode downloads the updates for a range of years.

Usage:

python download_historical.py range -y 1979-2012 -d ~/gdelt/ -U

Where -y is the flag that indicates which years should be downloaded, -d is the flag for the directory to which the files should be written, and -U is the optional flag indicating whether each downloaded file should be unzipped.

download_daily Usage

The script has four modes: fetch, schedule, fetch_upload, and schedule_upload.

Note: If you wish to use the schedule mode, the schedule library is necessary. You can install using pip install schedule. Additionally, the upload commands require the boto library and a boto config file located in ~/.boto.

Note: Due to the use of boto, the upload commands are not compatible with Python 3. There is the botocore project, which is compatible with Python 3, but it doesn't seem stable enough for me to use currently. Feel free to change my mind, though.

Fetch:

The fetch mode downloads only the current date's update.

Usage:

python download_daily.py fetch -d ~/gdelt/ -U

Where -d is the flag for the directory to which the files should be written, and -U is the optional flag indicating whether each downloaded file should be unzipped.

Schedule:

The schedule mode sets the script to run in the background and request each day at 10:00am the previous date's upload from the server. In order to work, the script must be left running in a terminal tab. The use of a utility such as screen or tmux is recommended in order to allow the program to run unmonitored in the background.

Usage:

python download_daily.py schedule -d ~/gdelt/ -U

Where -d is the flag for the directory to which the files should be written, and -U is the optional flag indicating whether each downloaded file should be unzipped.

Schedule_upload:

The schedule_upload mode sets the script to run in the background and request each day at 10:00am the previous date's upload from the server. This new download is then uploaded to the indicated Amazon S3 bucket. This helps facilitate work using Amazon's Elastic Cloud Compute or Elastic MapReduce environments. Also, due to the uploads to S3, each file is unzipped by default and no option to change this is provided. If one wishes, however, it would be trivial to change this within the get_upload_daily_data function within the script. Finally, in order to work, the script must be left running in a terminal tab. The use of a utility such as screen or tmux is recommended in order to allow the program to run unmonitored in the background.

Usage:

python download_daily.py schedule_upload -d ~/gdelt/ --bucket gdelt --folder daily/

Where -d is the flag for the directory to which the files should be written, --bucket indicates the name of the S3 bucket, and --folder is the optional argument indicating a folder within the bucket.

Fetch_upload:

Does the same thing as schedule_upload but has to be called every day.