Open Data Day 2017 – Saturday 4th March

Open Data Day is an annual celebration of open data all over the world. For the seventh time in history, groups from around the world will create local events on the day where they will use open data in their communities. It is an opportunity to show the benefits of open data and encourage the adoption of open data policies in government, business and civil society.

The focus this year will be on four key areas that we believe open data can solve:

  • Open research data
  • Tracking public money flows
  • Open data for environment
  • Open data for human rights


Featured Image Credit: Open Knowledge International Blog

#GFI4SD – Post 2: Can Data Be Harnessed to Protect People, and How?

The final day of the three-day Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development raised this overarching question: “how can we protect individuals and communities caught up in shocks and disruptors?”

Data was broadly discussed throughout the various discussion and debates of the day. However, the issue of data had already been introduced the day before during the closing session entitled “Harnessing the data revolution to reach the missing millions”, which provided a forum for unpacking the data challenge underpinning the goal of leaving no one behind. Among other topics, a panelist highlighted how her institute created digital maps to visualise mobile internet activities in China, and how it analysed the gaps.

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#GFI4SD – Post 1: Can Data Ensure SDGs Truly ‘Leave No One Behind’?

The inaugural Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development 2017, organized by the UN SDG Action campaign and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), billing itself as “the world’s first playable policy conference”, kicked off in Bonn, Germany, on 1st March. Over 3 days, the conference features High level plenary sessions, presentations, discussion and debates, policy simulations and participatory games based on interactive and immersive technology.

A central theme of the conference is ‘leave no one behind’, a soaring rhetoric that, in its broadest sense, means ensuring that targets and indicators will not be considered met unless they have been met for every person around the globe. In responding to this goal, the conference presents several sessions and discussion centering around what tools the global community and SDG actors need to ensure they have innovative approaches to accomplish their mission.

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Spatial Big Data, Impact, Sharing and Ethics

The term ‘born digital data’ was coined by Taylor and Schroeder in 2015 to denote “data that are digital from the start rather than starting out in non-digital form”. ‘Born digital data’ can be ‘consciously volunteered data’ or ‘data in the wild’ (pp. 504-505).

In my post published on February 22, 2017, I already wrote about ‘consciously volunteered data’ that are ‘born digital data’, namely crowdsourced data. Crowdsourcing has been proved to be particularly useful for humanitarian response (Meier, 2015). One of the first, and most emblematic, example of the power of crowdsourcing is the digital humanitarian response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, in which the Ushahidi crisis-mapping platform played a critical role.

The Haitian humanitarian crisis that followed the 2010 earthquake also highlighted the fact that real time data could now feature in humanitarian responses. In their 2011 Haitian study, Bengtsson and his colleagues demonstrate that data could, in principle, be obtained for continuous and extended periods and in near real time, and that data were readily available.

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Big Data: Blessing or Curse? Part 1

Source: Vishal Krishna/ (27 June 2016)

Due to their various applications, Big Data are very often demonized. Being a technological product, Big Data are however neutral. It depends on us, on the use that we choose to apply on them that eventually defines the outcome of the practice. The aspect of Big Data that is undeniable, is the power that they convey (Mayer-Schönberger & Cukier, 2013). This power can be used both for good and for evil.

Continue reading Big Data: Blessing or Curse? Part 1