Making Nepal’s Data Accessible Online Perpetually through Crowdsourcing

Shubham Ghimire

Shubham Ghimire

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Sat Mar 17 2018

Open Knowledge Nepal recently launched the beta version of Open Data Nepal – a crowdsourced open data portal with comprehensive features to make data related to Nepal accessible online perpetually in a central hub. The main objective is to make data available in machine-readable formats with open licenses so that anyone can use, reuse and redistribute these data following the open data philosophy.

Data nowadays is a very important factor in major decisions making process and the openness of data is one of the key characteristics to make government transparent, accountable and responsible. As the demand side of the data is increasing constantly but lack of a central data catalog makes the task of searching and using data more difficult. After working in Nepal for all these years, we realized that the main hindrance for the people willing to use data is that all the government data are shared in unstructured formats like PDFs, scanned images without any accessing information and are hard to find on the internet. On many occasions, we have frequently asked journalists, researchers, developers, entrepreneurs, and students the problems they are facing while accessing and using the data of Nepal. Most of the points they have highlighted are similar as these data are scattered around the websites, shared in unstructured and non-machine readable formats, licensing condition are not included and the main thing is those data are not permanently available.

As one of the open data pioneers in Nepal, we wanted to address the problems efficiently by building a centralized platform where all the government data are available in machine-readable formats with open licenses and metadata. So, we launched the Open Data Nepal as a solution which can be used by researchers, data activists, students, developers and common citizens can benefit from it. They can use the portal to search, use, publish and analyze data without any restrictions.

It will encourage people to make innovative products and services by using these data and the chances of arising new data-driven entrepreneurial business and startups with innovative services will increases which will improve the welfare of individual consumers and citizens. These days government are seeking opportunities to engage with private sectors, civil societies and citizens for effective planning, decision making to achieve sustainable development through the use of data. The Open Data Nepal will be a great chance for collaboration as it complies with all the significant situation. Opening up a huge amount of data will help to improve transparency and accountability in government. Another benefit of crowdsourcing and openness is many minded principles as fixing is faster with open data. Many eyes make all bugs shallow, your data may be used and analyzed by someone else and if there are any mistakes it can be fixed faster.

The Open Data Nepal have a different kind of comprehensive features like:

Explore: Searching and finding dataset will be easy as there are many filtering techniques like categories, organizations, tags, formats, licenses.

Download: Datasets can be downloaded in machine-readable formats like CSV, TSV, JSON, XML.

Visualization: You can generate visualizations like a bar chart, line chart of every dataset so that the finding facts in the data will be easier. You can embed these visualizations on your websites.

Metadata: Metadata, meta description and data dictionary will help for a better understanding of the data.

Publish: You can publish your dataset easily by providing information and suitable open license.

Data API: Automatically generated APIs to allow for more sophisticated online querying and interaction with datasets.

As Martin Luther King said “I have a dream”, we also have a dream to see Nepal achieving sustainable development through the use of open data.

Open Knowledge Nepal is a non-profit civic tech organization working on the field of open data since 2013. For any kinds of suggestion, contribution and feedback please contact us at data@oknp.org or visit www.opendatanepal.com