Shutting down real time data dashboard – Open Data Nepal portal

Project | JUNE 7 2021

In August 2019, seeing the growth in demand and use of real-time (which is presented as it is acquired and difficult to handle) and fresh (which is consistently accessible, up-to-date and immediately usable) data, we launched the real-time data dashboard for air pollution, river watch & fruits and vegetables price at integrated the dashboard into Open Data Nepal portal.

It provides the flexibility to analyze it in real-time and trace the source to generate valuable insights. The main objective of the dashboard was to harvest the scattered real-time data generated by various governmental sources of Nepal into a central hub and set an example regarding how raw real-time data can be disseminated by adapting the open data standards.

Some of the key objectives was; to provide data in structured, usable and machine-readable formats for efficient use, to develop an interactive user-friendly dashboard of the fresh and real-time data related to air quality, river watch, and prices of fruits & vegetables, to set an example of efficient data dissemination, to increase the capacity of researchers and journalists to make better use of available open data for storytelling and analysis etc.

Over the years, we were able to harvest and maintain the quality of a huge amount of datasets; at the same time witnessed its use by the researcher and developers. Some of the examples include its use by the participants of Nepal Solveathon 2019 and DataDive Kathmandu. We at Open Knowledge Nepal also tested how it can be effectively used by developing the Air Quality Nepal Twitter Bot.

Unfortunately, after coming close to its 2 years of successful incubation, we are sad to announce that we are shutting down all three (air pollution, river watch & fruits and vegetables price) real-time data dashboards as part of the Open Data Nepal portal enhancement plan.

Maintaining a server and human resources on a voluntary level to keep the dashboard up and running has been difficult for OKN. At the same time, as we predicted during the time of its development, the system architecture was not designed well enough to maintain the smooth automated operation because of its full dependence on the source website. Due to this, the system stopped fetching new real-time datasets since March 13, 2021, and the loading of the dashboard has been too slow. So, rather than having the non-functional dashboard running, we are shutting it down and currently brainstorming; how we can enhance the Open Data Nepal portal to fulfill the user requirement of real-time data. If you have some ideas, which you would like to share and discuss, please write to us at [data@oknp.org].

The archive raw datasets can be found here; air pollution datasets, fruits and vegetables price datasets. You can see the river watch data is missing at the moment; we plan to publish it soon.

We are also disallowing the normal user registration at the Open Data Nepal portal. While launching the portal in March 2018, our direct objective was to make Nepal’s data accessible online perpetually through crowdsourcing. For that, we integrated the register and contribute feature, so that anyone can register and publish the datasets. But reviewing that in 2021, we realize that the feature hasn’t been that effective in terms of contributions. We had more than 400+ registered contributions, but very few contributed the datasets. Also, the contribution which came via crowdsourced didn’t meet the quality standards and most of them lacked metadata, completeness, descriptive description, etc making the tasks of the reviewer difficult. So, from now onward only the valid authentic contributors with credentials can only push the datasets in the portal.

Way forward

We plan to revamp the current real-time dashboard and compile everything into the climate data dashboard, to track the impact and action of climate change happening in Nepal. We are still in the very early stage of brainstorming the concept of the climate data dashboard, and currently exploring the data sources and possibilities. So, as mentioned earlier, if you have some ideas, which you would like to share and discuss, please write to us at [data@oknp.org].