Open Data Expeditions in Dang: International Open Data Day 2019

Events | MARCH 29 2019

On the occasion of the International Open Data Day 2019, Open Knowledge Nepal organized a day-long ‘Open Data Expedition in Dang’. The event was held at Hotel Doko, Ghorahi, Dang on 2nd March 2019.

The event started at 9 AM with participants gathering at the venue. All total 40 participants joined the expedition event. Out of 40 participants, 29 were male and 11 were female. The majority of the participants were the students of computer and agricultural science students and a few were from an engineering background. We opened an online form for participation and shared it via different social media. Google Development Group (GDG) Dang helped us to reach the targeted participants.

At first, the participants get a glimpse about the Open Data Day celebration and Data Expedition. Then the participants were divided into groups by playing a fun game. After that, we brief them about what really data expedition is and what work they are doing throughout the day in groups. We also demonstrated about what they can develop using data of their local areas like infographics, storytelling, analysis, visualizations etc. Each group assigned respective roles to each member of their group. The roles were Data Seeker, Developer, Note Keeper, and Presenter. Until lunch, the groups brainstormed and identified problems in their community, searched respective data related to those problems and finally came to a conclusion on how they are showing these data. Before lunch, each group talked about their ideas in short. We were amazed that most of these groups are focusing on tourism of Dang by making infographics of famous places around Dang. Some groups planned to make interactive visualizations of different agricultural products and livestock of Dang. After lunch, the groups divided into their respective projects. At the end each group showcases their final output through the presentation.

Impact and Lesson Learned

Overall, the program definitely created an open data momentum amongst the youth of Dang. At the end of the expedition, they were amazed by knowing the potential values of open data and how data-driven decision making can help to find better solutions. But more of these programs need to be organized to keep the momentum alive. Although it was only a single day program the participants left the venue with a lot of new learnings. We slightly felt that a 2 or 3 days long program should have been better so that first we can teach them about different aspects of open data in depth and then put them in groups to work in different ideas using data.

This was the first event of Open Knowledge Nepal in Dang, in fact, this was the first data event which was organized in the region. Overall the participants were very enthusiastic. But as per our expectation, the participants didn’t have much knowledge about how to work with data. So time to time we had to guide them during the development phase. They were clear about their idea and clearly know what they are gonna make and what will be the final product but they are facing difficulties in development phases. We found that they are not very capable of handling data related software. So we have to guide them from time to time. In the end, the project they made and present were very good and they have represented data very well in their projects.

We realized that a single day is a very short time for a data expedition. At this type of program we should provide them a basic level training on how to find, search, scrape, visualize data and after that, they will be capable of building anything using these data on their own. So we think maybe 2 or 3 days long program would be better in areas like Dang.

Many participants shared that this event is first of its kind and these types of events are barely organized in their city. Most of them requested OKN to organize the event related to Open Data frequently. We as an organization will look forward to organize similar kinds of event in Dang frequently so that the momentum which we have set in the one-day event can be capitalized properly.

All the photos of the event can be found at OKN Facebook page here.

Open Data Expedition in Dang was supported by the Data for Development in Nepal small grants program to mark open data day 2019.