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Open Access and Open Data gaining momentum in Nepal


March 16, 2017

For the 5th time in a row, Open Knowledge Nepal team led the efforts of organizing International Open Data Day in Nepal. This year it was a collaborative effort of Kathmandu Living Labs and Open Knowledge Nepal. It was also the first official out of Kathmandu Valley event of Open Knowledge Nepal. Organizations like Code for Nepal, Gandaki College of Engineering and Science and Open Access Nepal were the partners for the event.

The aim of our ODD event was to serve as a platform for bringing together open knowledge enthusiasts from different backgrounds, and support a series of collaborative events for enhancing knowledge and awareness about free and open source software, open data, open content, and various open knowledge technologies in Nepal. The event was divided into 4 different major activities:  

  1. Presentation Session,
  2. Open Street Mapathon,
  3. Open Research Data Hackathon and
  4. Treasure Hunt

The check-in started around 10:30 AM (NPT), with the participants, slowly gathering at the venue. Around 40+ participants gathered and did registration on the paper, most of them were from engineering and computer science fields. The event was formally started by Mr. Ashok Raj Parajuli, Vice-Principal of Gandaki College of Engineering and Science at 11:20 AM (NPT) who gave a brief introduction of Open Data and why it is important for a country like Nepal. There was also a short orientation from Nikesh Balami, Open Knowledge Nepal on how Open Data Day was started and the history of Open Data Day celebration in Nepal. After having a brief orientation about major activities, the presentation session was started.

Mr. Ashok Raj Parajuli starting the event

Presentation Session

Gaurav Thapa from Kathmandu Living Labs presented on about Open Map Data and the concept of 2C (Secondary Cities) Pokhara. He also demonstrated the work done by Kathmandu Living Labs in Pokhara with the help of other organizations and welcomed the contributions and collaborative efforts from the participants. He also shared the "Prepare Pokhara" app - an app which uses the data of OpenStreetMap with different kinds of filtering techniques. By using that app, users can easily filter and navigate all kinds of important places and destination of Pokhara in Map.

Gaurav Thapa from Kathmandu Living Labs presenting about Open Map Data

After Gaurav’s presentation,  Kshitiz Khanal representing Open Knowledge Nepal presented on Open Access, Open Science, and Open Research. He started with a basic introduction of OPEN and highlighted the condition of Open Access in Nepal. He also demonstrated, how Nepal government and other different bodies of the Nepalese government are creating Open Access barriers for users. He shared about Open Science Taxonomy and talked a little about the Open Science and Research practices in Nepal. He motivated the participants to read research articles frequently so that we can make the best use of publicly funded research. His presentation can be accessed from here.

Kshitiz Khanal from Open Knowledge Nepal presenting about OA, OS and OR

There was a short break after the Presentation Session for the space to be divided for Open Research Data Hackathon and Mapathon. Participants interested in joining Hackathon moved towards the Lab and those who were interested in Research Data Hackathon stayed in the same room.

Open Research Data Hackathon

Open Research Data Hackathon was facilitated by the Open Knowledge Nepal team. Nikesh Balami from OKN started the hackathon by giving a short presentation about Data and demonstrating the different kinds of tools they can use during Hackathon. After an orientation, the group was divided. There were 4 groups, who worked and brainstorm on different kinds of ideas for the entire day.

There was two rounds of pitching where each group was given the opportunity to pitch their brainstormed idea in the first instance and also share how they were going to do that project, possible partners, challenges, and opportunity. The proposed idea of all 4 teams were entirely different from each other, while some worked with Election Data, some will be using Machine learning to extract research data from user search queries. Another team will be using data for disaster prediction and some in Blood data.

It will be interesting to see the progress of their projects in coming days.

Mapathon

Mapathon was facilitated by the team from Kathmandu Living Labs. Here, participants used satellite image to map Bardiya district of Nepal at OpenStreetMap. Participants were given the opportunity to play with Open Map and OpenStreetMap data.

The KLL team also led Treasure Hunt in-between the session to make Mapathon interesting and interactive. Participants went to the fields in the search of treasures which was hidden at different places by the KLL team. Participants used OpenStreetMap for this and enjoyed the activities so much. In fact, the Mapathon session was interactive and participant got hands-on training on how to contribute at OSM, did some contribution and also tried using it in their real life.

The whole event ended at 04:30 PM by thanking participants and supporters. After seeing the interest and enthusiasm shown by the participants, the promise of organizing this kind of International events outside of the main valley of Nepal was made by the representative of Open Knowledge Nepal and Kathmandu Living Labs. The event also highlighted that the CSO working in Nepal should take awareness and advocacy camping of Open Access and Open Data in the different local cities of Nepal so that there will equal knowledge distribution and We can make the best use of hidden talent who don't have the right reach to show it out. This year’s International Open Data Day 2017 was organized at four different places in Nepal. Two at Kathmandu, one by YoungInnovation Pvt. Ltd. and one by Accountability Lab. In Pokhara, it was organized by Open Knowledge Nepal and Kathmandu Living Labs. Kathmandu University Open Source Community (KUOSC) also organized ODD first time in Kavre. This clearly shows that the momentum of Open Data is increasing in Nepal, which we (Civil Society Organization) can take it as a plus point.

Group Selfie

Group Selfie :)

Event Page: https://oddnepal.github.io


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