Active matter comprises individual units that convert energy into mechanical motion. In many examples, such as bacterial systems and biofilament assays, constituent units are elongated and can give rise to local nematic orientational order. Such "active nematics" systems have attracted much attention from both theorists and experimentalists. However, despite intense research efforts, data-driven quantitative modeling has not been achieved, a situation mainly due to the lack of systematic experimental data and to the large number of parameters of current models. Here, we introduce an active nematics system made of swarming filamentous bacteria. We simultaneously measure orientation and velocity fields and show that the complex spatiotemporal dynamics of our system can be quantitatively reproduced by a type of microscopic model for active suspensions whose important parameters are all estimated from comprehensive experimental data. This provides unprecedented access to key effective parameters and mechanisms governing active nematics. Our approach is applicable to different types of dense suspensions and shows a path toward more quantitative active matter research.