Building and Loading a Data Model

In this assignment you will temporarily step away from building the applications and develop a data model from a file of un-normalized data and then build a script to load data in to that model.

The data is a simplified extraction of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites registry. The un-normalized data is provided as both a spreadsheet and a CSV file:

CSV Version

XLS Version

The columns in the data are as follows:


You have to have the CSV data available to run the batch script. If you are using PythonAnywhere to do your homework, you can use the wget command to pull in the data (see below).

Getting Started

We will do this assignment in a new Django project called batch so as not to disturb your other work.

cd ~/django_project/
django-admin startproject batch

Make new application under your django_projects/batch called unesco.

cd ~/django_projects/batch
python3 startapp unesco

You need to copy the CSV file into the unesco folder. If the wget command is available you can use it to download the file:

cd unesco

Also make a folder called scripts and add an file to it. The file is needed in order to store Python objects in the scripts folder.

cd ~/django_projects/batch
mkdir scripts
touch scripts/

Make a copy of the from this folder into your scripts folder:

Then in install django extensions if you have not already done so:

workon django3                     # If necessary
pip3 install django_extensions

Add the following line to your batch/batch/

    'django_extensions', # Add
    'unesco.apps.UnescoConfig',  # Add

At this point you should run:

python3 check

And make sure that your basic Django environment is configured properly.

Design a Data Model

You are to design a database model that represents this flat data across multiple tables using "third-normal form" - which basically means that columns that have vertical duplication, such as region:

category    states                 region                      iso

Cultural    Afghanistan            Asia and the Pacific        af
Cultural    Afghanistan            Asia and the Pacific        af
Cultural    Albania                Europe and North America    al
Cultural    Albania                Europe and North America    al
Cultural    Algeria                Arab States                 dz
Mixed       Algeria                Arab States                 dz
Cultural    Algeria                Arab States                 dz
Cultural    Algeria                Arab States                 dz

You will make a Django model that describes the tables, one-to-many relationships, and foreign keys sufficient to represent this data efficiently with no vertical duplication. Numbers and dates do not have to have their own tables.

Draw the data model using <a href="" target="_blank">Crow's-Foot Notation. You can use paper, or a layout tool - one way or another your diagram should have five boxes and four lines - and the each of lines should be properly labelled as a "many" or a "one" end.

Name the first model Site, use singular names for all of the table/model names. Use the exact name of the column for the model field names and foreign key names. Here is a subset of the unesco/

from django.db import models

class Category(models.Model) :
    name = models.CharField(max_length=128)

    def __str__(self) :

class State(models.Model) :


class Site(models.Model):
    name = models.CharField(max_length=128)
    year = models.IntegerField(null=True)
    category = models.ForeignKey(Category, on_delete=models.CASCADE)


    def __str__(self) :

All of the columns from the CSV data must be represented somewhere in the data model. There should be five models in your design, and four One-To-Many relationships and no Many-to-Many relationships.

Also add the models to unesco/ so you can view them in the administrator interface:

from django.contrib import admin

# Register your models here.

from unesco.models import Site, Category, ...

Once you have your model built, run makemigrations and migrate to create the database.

cd ~/django_projects/batch
python3 makemigrations
python3 migrate

You can repeat the process of editing the file and re-running the migrations steps until you get them right.

Loading Data Into Your Database

Django has a special runscript capability that allows you to write a a Python program to read and write the database using your Django models.

There is a simple example of how to write such a script in the dj4e-samples respoistory:

Many-to-Many / Data Model

Many-to-Many / Script

See the file load.csv and for and example of how you look through a file, insert model data and make foreign key connections. A key technique is in this bit of code:

p, created = Person.objects.get_or_create(email=row[0])

This code insures that there is a row in the Person table for the email address that was just read row[0]. The email address may or may not already be in the table from a previous line in the file. One way or another, by the end of this line of code p contains a reference to a Person stored in the database that can be used to fullfill a foreign key later in the code.

Note that the "p, created" is an example of Python function returning two values using a tuple.

m = Membership(role=r,person=p, course=c)

The line to make the Membership row is the last thing that is done so all the foreign key connections can be made.

Notice that the code empties the three tables out every time and freshly reloads all the data so the process can be run over and over.

Dealing with Empty Columns

Your data will be more complex than the sample, You will need to deal with situations where an integer column like the year will be empty. First, add null=True to numeric columns that can be empty in your Then before inserting the Site record, check the year to see if it is a valid integer and if it is not a valid integer set it to None which will become NULL (or empty) in the data base when inserted:

    y = int(row[3])
    y = None


site = Site(name=row[0], description=row[1], year=y, ... )

You will need to do this for each of the numeric fields that might be missing.

Running the Script

Place the CSV file in the unesco folder and then run the script from the project folder (i.e. where the file resides):

cd ~/django_projects/batch
workon django3                             # if necessary
python3 runscript many_load

It needs to be run this way so that lines like:

from unesco.models import Site, Iso, ....

work properly.

Checking Your Data By Hand

You can also hand-check your data by running a few queries on your data before turning it in to make sure the data makes it into the right tables:

$ sqlite3 db.sqlite3
SQLite version 3.24.0 2018-06-04 14:10:15
Enter ".help" for usage hints.
sqlite> SELECT count(id) FROM unesco_states;
sqlite> SELECT count(id) FROM unesco_site;
sqlite> SELECT count(id) FROM unesco_states where name="India";
sqlite> SELECT count(id) FROM unesco_site WHERE name="Hawaii Volcanoes National Park" AND year=1987 AND area_hectares = 87940.0;
sqlite> SELECT COUNT(*) FROM unesco_site JOIN unesco_iso ON WHERE"Maritime Greenwich" AND = "gb";

Upload to the Autograder

When the data passes your manual tests, you can download db.sqlite3 from PythonAnywhere and then upload it to the autograder.

(Errors) If the autograder complains about the size of your db.sqlite3 file

This section is only if you encounter errors.

The autograder has a maximum size limit on the database you upload. If your database exceeds this size you have two options - the easy one is to use the VACUUM command to remove extra space in the database. In a shell do the following:

$ cd ~/django_projects/batch
$ ls -l db.sqlite3 
-rw-r--r-- 1 dj4e registered_users 1153024 Nov 10 10:32 db.sqlite3
$ sqlite3 db.sqlite3 "VACUUM;"
$ ls -l db.sqlite3                                                                             
-rw-r--r-- 1 dj4e registered_users 1082368 Nov 10 13:14 db.sqlite3

This might get your file small enough to be uploaded to the autograder.

If your file is still too big for the autograder, you will need to clear your database and then reload the data.

$ cd ~/django_projects/batch
$ rm db.sqlite3
$ python3 migrate

Run your load script and upload db.sqlite3 to the autograder. At this point it should be the correct size.