Open Data Event Urges NGOs to Increase Data Transparency
Jul 04 2012, Netherlands [NL], Projects
International and national development organisations need- and are ready to share more data on their work, to promote transparency, aid effectiveness and accountability. This was one of the conclusions of the Open Data for Development Camp, co-organised by IICD in Amsterdam.
The open data for development camp (ODDC) in Amsterdam was linked to a two-day event in Nairobi were experts and practicisioners in development cooperation gathered to talk together about data, open data standards, and possible spin-offs such as stronger coordination, better aid effectiveness, communication strategies (visualising data), transparency on the expense of public funds, but also towards people and organizations that are on the receiving end.
At the Amsterdam Open Data for Development event, One of the speakers, Simon Parrish of Aid Info, made a case for NGOs to be using an international standard (IATI) when publishing their data so that it becomes easier to compare and to visualise data. Following the example of the British Government agency DFID already uses this standard and even refuses to accept proposals if the data that organisations are publishing are not meeting the IATI requirements. Along this line, Dutch organisations are also increasingly reporting in the same way, as Dutch organisations Akvo and IICD showed.
In addition to the international data standard, the open data development camp in Amsterdam presented several great examples of how data can be visualized. Journalist Jasper de Kooning created the television show ‘The Netherlands from above’ showed how data, in example on the number of airplanes passing Dutch airspace per day, can be visualised by combining animation, satellite shots and helicopter shots. He warned to be careful with data manipulation. “It’s easy to manipulate data to fit your story, but it’s harder and more rewarding to look at the data itself and build a story around that.”
Final speaker was augmented reality specialist Remco Vroom from company TAB World Media who showed that one of the implications could be that for instance people in contaminated areas such as Fukushima can see real life radiation info while they are working and weather or not it’s safe to continue. More innovative ways of using data in augmented reality can be found on Remco Vroom’s blog.
Co-organiser IICD was represented by Liesbeth Hofs who made a commitment towards increased transparency and said that IICD is striving towards opening up their data by the end of 2012.