There are times when, as a consultant, you have to produce a demo or training database that has no relation to your client’s data. This can be due to security, confidentiality or timing of your data availability. I like to produce sample data that at least contains realistic values so that the people involved in the training have a frame of reference and do not get tripped up on the data.
Realistic datasets can be created by following these steps and utilizing the resources listed below.
Many times you know what schema you wish to generate, but need some interesting ideas on ways to enhance the data model. Database Answers.org has over 1500 data models listed out in database diagrams.
Getting Realistic People Names
Most databases at some point require people names such as employees, customers or sales reps. These can be difficult to get right and believable. There is a great resource, Random-Name-Nenerator.info that allows you to generate one hundred names at a time using various options, including; male, female, both and can even select common names or rare names.
These can be the hardest, but I found a site that lets you generate fantasy object names, Fantasy-Name-Generator.com. This generator will provide 10 random names, normally used for relics, artifacts and other special trinkets, based on both real and fictional artifact names. This adds a little bit of fun, however you can filter out any “non-professional” sounding names depending on your audience.
Business Names and Addresses
As with people names, getting realistic business names can be a challenge. Mirthandimages.com allows you to select how many names you need and hit the Randomize button. You also can select an industry group and then a set of names in that sector. North American Address Generator can provide a list of random addresses that you can add to the company name dataset. This provides random phone numbers also, however, I usually replace most of the numbers with an “x” just in case someone wants to dial them up.
Location names as you have access to maps and the ability to capture the longitude and latitude of the location in order to use these on maps. iTouchMap.com will let you select a point on a map and provide the Longitude and Latitude of that point. This is useful if you need to select points in a specific area. This is good for times when you need actual client sites, or points in a specific area.
If you are looking for a group of random locations, Random Point Generator , pictured below, is a great place where you can gather locations with being able to provide a number of options.
These are resources that I have used to generate realistic data for demo, training and learning databases. Share out any others you have used.