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Creativity and mobile solutions can help combat road accidents

Open Data Namibia - May 10, 2018 in namibia, Open Data Day, open data day 2018, Open Mapping

This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2018. On Saturday 3 March, groups from around the world organised over 400 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 45 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by Hivos, SPARC, Mapbox, the Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The event in this blog was supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Open Mapping theme. The 4th Open Data Day celebration in Namibia was held on 2nd – 5th March 2018, under the theme Better Public Transportation and Safer Roads. The initiative had been organized by the Namibia Open Data Community in collaboration with Namibia University of Science & Technology (NUST). The event was attended by over 80 people and brought about diverse stakeholders, from all walks of life; including lawmakers and academicians. The event was structured as follows:

Opening day

The event started with a stakeholder meeting and official opening, which aimed at getting the various stakeholders to discuss how opportunities public data present and how this can be exploited to reduce/end road accidents in Namibia and beyond. The keynote address was delivered by Honourable Stanley Mutumba Simataa, Minister of Information Communication Technology (ICT), in which he states the benefits of open data: “On the broader societal level, giving citizens access to data to freely use and /or share will promote innovation, induce the development of more businesses and help entrepreneurs develop products and services not yet imagined… In Namibia open data can unleash Opportunities – Opportunities that will allow access to information, promote accountability, enhance transparency and of course enable the citizenry to hold government to account.” In his welcoming remarks Prof Tjama Tjivukua, Vice Chancellor (NUST) highlighted that: “These prototypes or solutions are absolutely necessary in a big country with a small population and fairly good roads, relatively speaking, but the highest deaths per capita in the world. Namibia is the “capital of death by road”.”

Hackathon

The hackathon began: about 40 developers attended, forming 5 teams. The teams worked on diverse solutions, ranging from solutions that keep drivers focus on the road to solutions leveraging on AR (augmented reality) to provide a gamified experience to users. Making use of datasets provided by Gondwana Collection: Namibia Safari and Lodges and MVA Fund. The teams continued to work on their respective solutions throughout the night and the following day. After 24-hours of coding, the teams had an opportunity to go out test their solutions with real users. Thus, get useful feedback, which they used to improve their solutions.

Pitches and results

After two full days of hacking, the 5 teams had an opportunity to pitch their solutions to a full mobile lab at Namibia Business Innovation Institute. The pitches were judged primary on three criteria; viability, creativity and ability to solve a problem. The team which scooped the first prize was G2SA, consisting of Gatsen Tjirare, Albertus Coetzee, Saimie Kevanhu, Nathan Dasneves and Gabriel Kamenye were awarded N$ 7 000 because their project had met the requirements and utilized the data given to them to come forth with a solution which is feasible and user-friendly. The runners up were Cheap High Qualities Software received N$ 2 500. The prizes were sponsored by Developer Circles from Facebook and Green Enterprise Solutions.

The winning solution

An augmented reality application that augments the map of Namibia with digital information regarding road safety and additional information for tourists or travellers, based on a dataset provided by Gondwana. Additionally, a driver assistant that acts a sensor to detect road signs and distance of cars ahead, which then notifies the user. This application is tied to gamification, rewarding drivers with points for safe driving. Click here for a video of the application or download the app directly.

Runners-up solution

Data visualization is an important tool for understanding large datasets. This application is a temporal-spatial visualization of vehicle-related accidents in Namibia. The data was scraped from tables in a 2016 MVA Fund publication titled “Road Crash and Claims Report.” By representing the data in a multidimensional format, we provide deeper insight into the problem says the developers. With insight comes understanding, and with understanding we can develop a solution.

Conclusion

To ensure that the solutions developed during this hackathon gets to market, we have deliberately availed the solutions to enable potential drivers to test them out. Moreover, we have also approached the different stakeholders such as the Motor Vehicle Accident fund to use the solution to visualize road accidents in real-time. Though, the event was a great success, we have learnt so much, tackling the challenge of road accidents requires diverse skills, we had more hackers than people from other disciplines. In the future events, we have to find ways to get more people from other disciplines also involved. We have been hosting the Open Data Day, since 2015. This year’ event was very successful: it can only get better from here.

Creativity and mobile solutions can help combat road accidents

Open Data Namibia - May 10, 2018 in namibia, Open Data Day, open data day 2018, Open Mapping

This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2018. On Saturday 3 March, groups from around the world organised over 400 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 45 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by Hivos, SPARC, Mapbox, the Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The event in this blog was supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Open Mapping theme. The 4th Open Data Day celebration in Namibia was held on 2nd – 5th March 2018, under the theme Better Public Transportation and Safer Roads. The initiative had been organized by the Namibia Open Data Community in collaboration with Namibia University of Science & Technology (NUST). The event was attended by over 80 people and brought about diverse stakeholders, from all walks of life; including lawmakers and academicians. The event was structured as follows:

Opening day

The event started with a stakeholder meeting and official opening, which aimed at getting the various stakeholders to discuss how opportunities public data present and how this can be exploited to reduce/end road accidents in Namibia and beyond. The keynote address was delivered by Honourable Stanley Mutumba Simataa, Minister of Information Communication Technology (ICT), in which he states the benefits of open data: “On the broader societal level, giving citizens access to data to freely use and /or share will promote innovation, induce the development of more businesses and help entrepreneurs develop products and services not yet imagined… In Namibia open data can unleash Opportunities – Opportunities that will allow access to information, promote accountability, enhance transparency and of course enable the citizenry to hold government to account.” In his welcoming remarks Prof Tjama Tjivukua, Vice Chancellor (NUST) highlighted that: “These prototypes or solutions are absolutely necessary in a big country with a small population and fairly good roads, relatively speaking, but the highest deaths per capita in the world. Namibia is the “capital of death by road”.”

Hackathon

The hackathon began: about 40 developers attended, forming 5 teams. The teams worked on diverse solutions, ranging from solutions that keep drivers focus on the road to solutions leveraging on AR (augmented reality) to provide a gamified experience to users. Making use of datasets provided by Gondwana Collection: Namibia Safari and Lodges and MVA Fund. The teams continued to work on their respective solutions throughout the night and the following day. After 24-hours of coding, the teams had an opportunity to go out test their solutions with real users. Thus, get useful feedback, which they used to improve their solutions.

Pitches and results

After two full days of hacking, the 5 teams had an opportunity to pitch their solutions to a full mobile lab at Namibia Business Innovation Institute. The pitches were judged primary on three criteria; viability, creativity and ability to solve a problem. The team which scooped the first prize was G2SA, consisting of Gatsen Tjirare, Albertus Coetzee, Saimie Kevanhu, Nathan Dasneves and Gabriel Kamenye were awarded N$ 7 000 because their project had met the requirements and utilized the data given to them to come forth with a solution which is feasible and user-friendly. The runners up were Cheap High Qualities Software received N$ 2 500. The prizes were sponsored by Developer Circles from Facebook and Green Enterprise Solutions.

The winning solution

An augmented reality application that augments the map of Namibia with digital information regarding road safety and additional information for tourists or travellers, based on a dataset provided by Gondwana. Additionally, a driver assistant that acts a sensor to detect road signs and distance of cars ahead, which then notifies the user. This application is tied to gamification, rewarding drivers with points for safe driving. Click here for a video of the application or download the app directly.

Runners-up solution

Data visualization is an important tool for understanding large datasets. This application is a temporal-spatial visualization of vehicle-related accidents in Namibia. The data was scraped from tables in a 2016 MVA Fund publication titled “Road Crash and Claims Report.” By representing the data in a multidimensional format, we provide deeper insight into the problem says the developers. With insight comes understanding, and with understanding we can develop a solution.

Conclusion

To ensure that the solutions developed during this hackathon gets to market, we have deliberately availed the solutions to enable potential drivers to test them out. Moreover, we have also approached the different stakeholders such as the Motor Vehicle Accident fund to use the solution to visualize road accidents in real-time. Though, the event was a great success, we have learnt so much, tackling the challenge of road accidents requires diverse skills, we had more hackers than people from other disciplines. In the future events, we have to find ways to get more people from other disciplines also involved. We have been hosting the Open Data Day, since 2015. This year’ event was very successful: it can only get better from here.

How open data and mapping using OpenStreetMap can aid development in Tanzania

Janet Chapman - May 9, 2018 in Open Data Day, open data day 2018, Open Mapping, tanzania

This blog has been reposted from the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team website This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2018. On Saturday 3 March, groups from around the world organised over 400 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 45 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by Hivos, SPARC, Mapbox, the Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The event in this blog was supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Open Mapping theme.
To commemorate Open Data Day on March 3rd, Crowd2Map and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) Tanzania organised a free 3 day training conference on how open data and mapping using OpenStreetMap can aid development in Tanzania. Over 90 people from across Tanzania attended the event at the Institute of Rural Development Planning in Mwanza, including community mapping groups from Kigoma, Kagera, Mara and other regions, students from IRDP Mwanza and Dodoma, as well as representatives from Tanzania Red Cross, Tanzania Wildlife Service, Uwezo and many other organisations.

Community Mappers and Youth Mappers receive printed Field Papers of their districts

The training was delivered by Amelia Hunt and Johannes Peters from HOT and covered topics such as what open data is available in Tanzania, what is OpenStreetMap and how it can help Tanzania; how to map your area using satellite images on a laptop; free apps on your phone; and printed Field Papers; and how to create printed village and district level maps. There were a combination of demonstrations, talks and practical workshops, including a session mapping in the field in the area around the campus. Community groups who have benefited from phones and laptops provided by a HOT Microgrant and the Nethope Device Challenge programme learnt how to make the best use of this technology to put their communities on the map for better navigation, planning and development of their areas.

Johanes Peters from Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team Tanzania provides training on OpenStreetMap

There were also talks by Jonarda Ngissa from Uwezo Tanzania on their citizen led educational assessments, and from Neema Meremo from Hope for Girls and Women Tanzania on how mapping can help protect girls from Female Genital Mutilation.

Talk from Neema Meremo: Mapping to Fight FGM and the Role of Female Mappers

Evaluations showed that people had learnt a great deal from the training and comments included “it will help me be a better planner for my country”, “now I can teach others to improve our development” and “mapping is useful to indicate which water points are functioning, so we can improve access in Tanzania”. Everyone indicated they would like further such training, and so we hope that many will be able to attend FOSS4G and HOT conference in Dar es Salaam in August.

Open mapping in Côte d’Ivoire, Mongolia and the USA

Delia Walker-Jones - April 16, 2018 in Côte d'Ivoire, mongolia, Open Data Day, open data day 2018, Open Mapping, USA

Authors: Delia Walker-Jones (OSM-Colorado) and Kanigui Nara (SCODA Côte d’Ivoire) This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2018. On Saturday 3 March, groups from around the world organised over 400 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 45 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by Hivos, SPARC, Mapbox, the Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The events in this blog were supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Open Mapping theme.

School of Data (SCODA) Côte d’Ivoire

During the Open Data Day in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), we gathered 13 activists working on extractive industries. Firstly we presented the 2015 EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) report for Côte d’Ivoire. This report contains mainly the payments of extractives industries to Côte d’Ivoire government. The 2015 EITI report has also published the geographical coordinates of operating licenses in the country. We started by showing to the participants where they can find these data in the report. And the first task was to show how these data were organised and what were their meanings. We  explained that for each operating license, there were geographical coordinates of delimitation points of the operating field. We also discussed about the definition of longitude and latitude and the encoding system (degree minutes seconds) that has been used in the report. After that, participants were divided into groups of two persons. And, we asked to each of these groups to use Tabula in order to extract the geographical coordinates of the operating license of Societe des Mines d’Ity. This firm is operating in the west part of the country. One of the important challenges of the day was to clean up the extracted data. We had already prepared a step by step cleaning spreadsheet. We started by introducing the different functions that have been used for cleaning. Functions like “LENGTH”; “FIND & REPLACE” ; “MID” and “SUBSTITUTE” were presented before going through the spreadsheet. Once data were cleaned up and formatted by name of firm, delimitation points, longitude and latitude; we converted longitude and latitude into Degree Decimal format. Then, we made an introduction to Umap and each group created a map project and started to add the delimating points of the operating license of Societe des Mines d’Ity. In terms of lessons, this event was an opportunity for participants to understand geographical coordinates and strengthen their skills in terms of data extraction and data cleaning. We recommend to make sure that participants have a clear understanding of geographical coordinates before starting a mapping event. The next step for us is to design specific training in mapping and to organise mapathon events using OSM.

Open Street Maps (OSM) Colorado: Ger Community Mapping Center mapathon

In Denver, Colorado during Open Data Day, with the assistance of a grant from Mapbox, Open Street Maps Colorado hosted a mapathon for the Ger Community Mapping Center, a non-profit based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The weather outside was warm and sunny, but the mapathon nonetheless lured a number of GIS and geography professionals and students into a local university conference room for an afternoon spent on Open Street Maps, digitizing aerial imagery from Mongolia. We opened the event with a couple presentations about Open Data Day and about the region of Mongolia the Ger Community Mapping Center elected to map. The Arkhangai province, the selected region, is a mostly rural province about 300 miles west of the capital Ulaanbaatar. We saw from the aerial imagery in Open Street Maps the incredibly varied geography of the Arkhangai province, from tiny, barely visible track roads and vast forests in some areas to densely populated residential neighborhoods filled with dozens of gers (yurts) in other areas. As the participants slowly digitized the many features, this varied geography sparked conversations about how to classify smaller roads barely visible in the grass, and where to delineate residential areas in a consistent manner. Conversations moved towards the topic of open data, as well. Questions about how to determine standards for open data, and the ethical ramifications of privacy and open spatial data through aerial imagery came to light. In the case of this mapathon, we discussed gers (yurts) and the importance of including gers in spatial data. While in many Western contexts buildings like gers would not be included, and, in fact, have not warranted a separate OSM tag, gers seemed necessary to incorporate within the cultural context of Mongolia–even inside the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, many Mongolians still live in Gers. Gers, therefore, are not only a feature that belongs on a map of Mongolia, but are also an essential feature to assessing population and the movements of the estimated 30% of Mongolians who are still nomadic or semi-nomadic. By discussing topics like this, we hoped to bring to light a part of the world not many people living in Denver, Colorado know about, and to provide a substantial amount of new shapefiles and data for the Ger Community Mapping Center to use in future projects.  

Open Data Day in Tanzania and Serbia: using open data to educate, inform and create stories

Rehema Mtandika - April 13, 2018 in development, Open Data Day, open data day 2018, Open Mapping, serbia, tanzania

Authors: Rehema Mtandika (She Codes for change) and Katarina Kosmina (SEE ICT) – their biographies can be found below this post. This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2018. On Saturday 3 March, groups from around the world organised over 400 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 45 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by Hivos, SPARC, Mapbox, the Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The events in this blog were supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Equal Development and Open Mapping themes.

How we approached data

She Codes for Change trained 27 young girls aged 15-19 from Secondary Schools in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on the basic concepts of data visualization, Scratch and photography. We guided them to work on groups to identify social challenges and then use open data to create data-driven animation videos stories to educate the society on the challenge. Our aim was to inspire young girls to understand the concept of open data and innovation, and how to apply them to transform their imaginations into visual products, altogether as the mechanism to solve their societal problems. In the end, each group consisting of 5 members was guided to create their datasets, and worked upon their interested social challenge. The issues worked upon were violence against children, early marriages, gender based violence, school dropout and HIV/AIDS among adolescents. The final products were presented, and then uploaded on the She Codes for Change YouTube channel.

She Codes for Change Team with participants during Open Data Day

SEEICT/Startit is an NGO which has eight Startit centers across Serbia, with the aim of educating, empowering and connecting youth and the tech community in the country. Our plan to organize open mapping events in two smaller towns in Serbia got hindered by a lack of demand and local capacity for this type of activities. Instead, with the help of UNDP in Serbia, we managed to organize a Datathon in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, where teams worked with four mentors on data visualization projects using open datasets. The winning team mapped all elementary and high schools across Belgrade using a dataset from the Ministry of Education. They then scraped data about the locations of betting shops, given that Serbian law forbids betting shops to be closer than 200 meters from schools. This project resulted in a map of Belgrade showing over 70 betting shops which are breaking the law. Additionally, the other three teams also created visualizations which involved: optimizing the placement of police patrols and emergency vehicles for better response to car accidents, mapping bad driving habits across time and municipalities of Serbia, and showing the connectedness of public transportation in Belgrade.

Overcoming obstacles

Since the She Codes for Change proposal was not selected in the first round by the Open Data Team, our team had work on last minute preparations in order to have the logistics in place including sending invitation to schools, push and make follow up with their administrations for the timely permissions for students to attend. Given that it was Startit’s first time organizing a Datathon and that we decided to make it a 12 hour challenge focused on visualization, we had no idea what could come out of it. In fact, we doubted if we would end up with even 1-2 working visualizations. Given the pilot/experimental nature of this event, plus the short time frame we had to plan and execute it, we struggled with social media promotion, using personal contacts and finding other ways to animate the Serbian IT community to join this endeavour. In addition, we knew that the datasets published by the government are often messy, incomplete, and inconsistent. Hence, there was a legitimate fear that the teams would end up spending most of those 12 hours cleaning data instead of analyzing and visualizing it. Fortunately, we had four fantastic mentors and the teams chose their datasets wisely, with only one team extensively struggling with their chosen datasets.

What did we learn?

She Codes for Change’s major lesson is that data finding and visualization is not a complex phenomenon if taught at an early stage. Since students are not taught much in school about data, many students in the training first thought that data is complicated and not important, however, after understanding the basic concepts and worked together to design a product for its visualization, they realized that data can help them and communities to address their challenges and make informed decisions. Similar to the experience of She Codes for Change, as the Startit team, we realized how empowering creating data-based visualizations can be for teams participating in the Datathon – whether they’re high schoolers, students, or IT professionals. An even more striking realisation is the fact that messy government datasets can become stories which are able to inform the participants, reveal illegal activities or public policy options, and inspire new ideas.

How can we make data storytelling in Tanzania and Serbia more sustainable?

The She Codes for Change team has launched weekly Scratch trainings in Mid-March, which incorporates open data to help our beneficiaries to identify the challenges, and use the data/information available to design and produce products to satisfy the market needs. These trainings are carried out on Tuesday and Thursday of every week. Startit’s blog team Startit.rs is currently in the process of writing blog posts about each of the Datathon participating team projects. We hope these stories will not only motivate the wider public to use open datasets, but also think beyond their messiness and incompleteness, as well as combine them with other data in innovative ways. Additionally, we hope future Datathons will continue to inspire data scientists and enthusiasts to use data visualization for storytelling.

Winning project in Startit’s Datathon – Realistic and abstract map of illegally placed betting shops in Belgrade

Data for stories, maps and education

These two initiatives in. Their outputs may have been different as She Codes for Change resulted in data driven animations, while Startit’s Datathon created data visualizations which sought to reveal illegalities, optimize policies or inform a wider audience. She Codes for Change’s goal was achieved and as a result of the training they were able to create five animation videos that are data driven and informative on the gender, education and health matters. The Open Data Day training has also enabled us to create a platform of motivated young girls to create innovative solutions to the community challenges, hence providing an opportunity for them to raise their voices. As the number of open datasets available to the public in Serbia increases, Startit plans to enable teams of young data scientists to use the power of data storytelling to continue informing and educating the wider public on the relevance and impact of data.

Author bio’s

Rehema Mtandika is a Director of Innovation at She Codes for Change. For over three years she has been working with youths and women in areas of gender empowerment through ICT and innovation, youth engagement in the social-economic development, access to quality education, access to data and information, good governance and peace and security. Katarina Kosmina is the Programme Coordinator at SEE ICT, in charge of developing and organizing programs for 8 Startit Centers across Serbia. These programmes range from programming robots for girls or IoT workshops for high schoolers, thematic hackathons, meetups and workshops for individuals in the IT sector, as well as acceleration programs and data or IP clinics for startups. Our goal is to bring quality and free informal education, as well inspire and empower Serbian youth to enter the IT sector and continue expanding their knowledge and skills. Katarina’s passion for open data and data driven decision-making has led to an increased number in programs which aim at raising the level of data literacy in Serbia.

Advancing in consolidating an open data community and practitioners in South America

Paulina Bustos - April 11, 2018 in Open Data Day, open data day 2018, Open Mapping, Open Science

The case of ARTIGO 19 in Brazil and Datalat in Ecuador

Authors: Paulina Bustos (Artigo 19) and Julio López (Datalat) This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2018. On Saturday 3 March, groups from around the world organised over 400 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 45 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by Hivos, SPARC, Mapbox, the Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The events in this blog were supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Open Science and Equal Development themes. After almost 5 years of working in the open data movement, it feels like we have come to a crossroads. We are now wondering if we should continue working on creating more generalistic open data or if we need to start opening with specific topics in mind. The reality is that we need to pursue doing both. A very good example of these two approaches are the Open Data Day events that happened in São Paulo and Quito this year. Here we narrate both events highlighting our learnings and outcomes.  

Dados e Feminicídios (Data and Femicides)

Femicides is a great problem in Latin America and in Brazil the numbers are worrisome. According to a study made in 2015, Brazil occupies the 5th place in the world with the highest index of femicides in the world. Because of this, we decided to work on open data from a Femicides perspective. To present our work and kick-off a collaboration with publishers and users of data relating to femicides we choose the Open Data Day. The event took part in MobiLab, a Mobility Lab in São Paulo. We set up the objective of the event as to improve the quantity and quality of data related to femicides in Brazil. The event was a private one that united people from the government, civil society and journalists working on the topic in Brazil. We had two main activities: Present our research on data and femicides (the event included people who were included in the research) and the second activity was an exercise to understand the barriers and problem with the usage and consumption of this data. As our next steps, we will work with these institutions to improve the quantity and quality of open data related to femicides.

Open Data Day Quito

Working towards consolidating an active community interested in open data was the goal for this year in Quito. Datalat and Medialab have been organising together this event for 3 years, which usually includes workshops, talks and mainly serve as a networking space for the community. This year, around 130 people got together at CIESPAL to celebrate open data. This blog post details what happened that day (in Spanish). An opening panel set the tone for the event, which included speeches from the national institute of statistics and local experts, including for the first time data-driven journalists. Our main insights is that Open Data had a momentum in government in 2015, with many directives and regulations being implemented; however, it slowly vanished. In order to reach out that momentum again, it is necessary to promote and educate more about the benefits of the use of open data and above all to incentivize people to participate more in this public debate. On the skills side, during the event 4 workshops were run by local organisations on their fields of expertise including data mapping, open budgets, SDGs and open research data. About this last topic, Datalat has advanced in creating a local chapter to organise the first OpenCon in Ecuador, which later this year will gather academics and professionals interested in open access, open data and open education. A survey is available in Spanish for those who wish to join this effort.

Insights and outcomes

In the last couple of years we have worked with the idea of improving open data in general, but with this project and event we have realized the importance of creating an open data movement that works in parallel with thematic projects and research. Thematic  events allow us to involve a greater range of people that can make a difference for open data. Education is a huge part of an effective open data movement. We think we will not be able to advance towards an effective use of open data in our region if we do not start education a greater range of people from diverse sectors. We all can do our part to build an open data ecosystem in our communities. With this message, Datalat invites everyone to joint efforts and work collaboratively to have a stronger and diverse open data movement. What started as an effort of 5 people in Quito, has turned into a 28 organisation’s effort to have a local event to visibilize open data in the public agenda. As we move forward to Open Data in Latin America we will be working in advancing specific topics and general practices, always with education in mind.

Local open mapping initiatives in Rwanda and Nicaragua

Youthmappers - April 10, 2018 in nicaragua, Open Data Day, open data day 2018, Open Mapping, rwanda

This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2018. On Saturday 3 March, groups from around the world organised over 400 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 45 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by Hivos, SPARC, Mapbox, the Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The events in this blog were supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Open Mapping theme. Local open mapping initiatives are those that end up giving flavor to the world of mapping. It must be because you end up with a product and you generate a data that directly influences your community. Two chapters of the YouthMappers network allowed themselves to be seized by this feeling and carried out two events during this year’s celebration of the Open Data Day. Two projects, two different sites and themes that converge in the same goal: the development of their local communities. Let’s start with the YouthMappers in INES-Ruhengeri. They created open data for the Kangondo Slum neighborhood in the city of Kigali, Rwanda. The Kangondo slum is the largest slum in Rwanda in the Grade A area (upper area) of the city of Kigali. All the houses in the area are not well planned and the crowded houses lack basic needs such as potable water, adequate sanitation and adequate sewage. The created open data will be used for the marginal neighborhood improvement process (Slum upgrading). For them, this activity was a good opportunity to share not only the importance of open data in the development of the local community with attending authorities, but also a time to discuss the use of open data to address local development challenges. During the event,  it was shown how to create open data using the OpenStreetMap online mapping platform. Applying participatory mapping was identified as a powerful measure to show the challenges within community development through evidences. However, it was revealed that there is a big gap to obtain open data. The YouthMappers of INES-Ruhengeri were appreciated for their initiative to create open data and the representatives of the authorities agreed to use that data to make evidence based decisions. As a result, YouthMappers at INES-Ruhengeri have created 1374 data including slum homes, roads and sidewalks.   On the other side of the world we find the YEKA Street MGA YouthMappers chapter of the Faculty of Architecture at the National University of Engineering located in Managua, Nicaragua. They decided to organize a Mapathon to finalize the mapping of one of their projects on the categorization and inventory of houses with vernacular construction systems, in the north of the country, more specifically in the limits of the Municipality of Condega in the department of Esteli. This project was led by the “Asociación Mujeres Constructoras de Condega” (Condega Women Builders Association), who have been responsible throughout the years for trying to make these techniques recover their reputation and their importance within the culture and history of Nicaragua, which was affected after the earthquake that affected the country in December 1972. The purpose of this project is to obtain a count of the number of buildings with land-based construction systems existing in the area, the classification by constructive typology of said buildings and the identification of families or people in the area engaged in construction traditional with these systems. During the execution of the Mapathon they touched on relevant topics for that day, such as: what is open data and why is it important? Also, how does OpenStreetMap and Mapbox, together with organizations such as YouthMappers and YEKA Street MGA, contribute to this ideal? There was also an explanation of what the project consisted of and its purpose and the training of the participants in relation to the use of the OpenStreetMap platform. The call to the event was very well received, they had an incredible participation. Taking into account the participation in other events, in their context, this type of event is stressful because of the difficulty of raising awareness among the academy and students about the importance of volunteering and open data. That’s why they felt incredible to see such participation on that day and to add two new members to their chapter YouthMappers. The purpose of Mapathon was not completed in its entirety, due to technical problems and poor satellite image with which they counted. But they were satisfied with the fact that they have been able to open a gap within the academy where the use of open data and programs that support them can fit into.

Engaging people around open data and open mapping – from USA to Poland

Anna Ścisłowska - April 4, 2018 in Open Data Day, open data day 2018, Open Mapping

Co-authored by Lizzie Ellis (Code for DC, USA) and Anna Ścisłowska (Association 61, Poland) This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2018. On Saturday 3 March, groups from around the world organised over 400 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 45 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by Hivos, SPARC, Mapbox, the Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The events in this blog were supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Open Mapping theme. One of the interesting things about a global event like Open Data Day is that everyone has their own take on what “Open Data” is and how to talk about it. Our two organizations — Code for DC in the United States and Association 61 in Poland — took totally different approaches to the day, both achieving great results. Association 61 in Poland ran a webinar with local activists who were not familiar with many IT tools. After long discussions internally and with their trainer, the team chose a few tools, which are easiest for new users to learn:  Statistics Poland (governmental geoportal), Google Maps, Scribblemaps and ArcGIS Online (free part of the more professional soft). Participants received the access to videos and manuals, showing step-by-step guides on  how to create the presented maps. Association 61 invited a local activist from Ełk (a medium size city) to present their idea of the summary of the term of their local gov – they invite people for a series of walks when they discuss the problems in the city space. Then, they showed examples of similar projects, where organizers visualize their findings on maps. Finally, the team presented on how to use Google Maps to create map of barriers in urban space. As part of the presentation, Association 61 demonstrated how to use mapping tools to compare different cities and areas. Over the course of the event, they covered how to compare statistics on a map, how to get involved in the gerrymandering process ahead of the 2018 local elections, and how to compare investment spending in different parts of the city. Code for DC took a different approach, turning one of their regular bi-monthly hack nights into Open Data Night. These hacknights usually feature 4-5 separate projects of varying technical skill that attendees can choose to work on. Some of these projects are one-night-only, while others can continue for months. For Open Data Day, the group made sure that all the projects available to work on were focused on using open data. A member of the team at Mapbox, a mapping platform, gave an interactive workshop on how to use GeoJSON and open data sets to build maps. The tutorial lasted about an hour, and by the end attendees were able to generate heat maps using the tools provided. There were also representatives from the Sunlight Foundation showing people the US City Open Data Census project and a team of attendees working on data visualizations using public data around rodent infestations that had been reported to the DC government using the 311 hotline. While both these events looked different on implementation, they shared a common goal of helping engage people, especially those who were less familiar with tech and open data tools, around Open Data, and open mapping in particular. Getting a chance to hear in detail about different events definitely inspired us to try new things at future events — Code for DC will definitely be looking into webinar-style hosting in the future, and Association 61 has started looking into learning more about GeoJSON!

Open Data Day 2018: getting the local communities in Porto and Helsinki to talk about open mapping

Open Knowledge Finland - March 28, 2018 in Open Data Day, open data day 2018, Open Mapping

This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2018. On Saturday 3 March, groups from around the world organised over 400 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 45 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by Hivos, SPARC, Mapbox, the Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The events in this blog were supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Open Mapping theme: the blog has been jointly written by Transparência Hackday Portugal / Open Knowledge Portugal  and Open Knowledge Finland . Open Data Day 2018 was devoted to open mapping in both Porto and Helsinki. Both Open Knowledge branches involved in the organization of the event invited the local communities to talk about OpenStreetMap (OSM): how to use the data and how to contribute to the project. OpenStreetMap is not a single map or service, but a large set of data that doesn’t belong to a specific person or entity, but rather the community. This means that anyone can use OSM to create apps and reuse its data in other interesting ways — for example, this is what Mapbox has done, the company has developed a set of services on top of OSM to create a business model. There are a couple of good local examples as well: Sapo Mapas in Portugal, and Digitransit, the official public transport journey planner in Finland. Both cities witness that there is currently a lot of interest in the field of open mapping. One of the best things about Open Data Day 2018 was to bring together actors from different contexts. In Porto, we were very happy to see the interaction between the different layers of actors in the open data field. We had Ana Santos and Francisco Caldeira from the National Statistics Institute (INE), with expertise in geographic census data; João Pina, the author of Fogos.pt, a website mapping fires in Portugal, using public datasets by an official entity; Miguel Tavares, from Águeda City Hall, an institution using and contributing to OpenStreetMap, and also building tools with geographic data; and people from the OSM Portugal community, such as Jorge Gustavo Rocha. The author of fogos.pt wanted to shift away from Google Maps, and the contact with OSM-PT members opened the avenue for collaboration and to turn Fogos.pt into a resource fully based on open data sources. INE showed their plans to open up their 3-million-point address database among others, firing up participants willing to test and try it out. In Helsinki, the 3rd of March was a workshop day that culminated the series of three-day celebrations: an introductory case study day (with Helsinki Region Infoshare) and an Open Knowledge Finland (OKFI) working groups and strategy day (with Responsive.org and OpenGLAM). All three days were co-organised by OKFI at its offices at the Maria 0-1 startup incubator. On Saturday, there was brunch, an open democracy coding workshop as well as three mapathon workshops: Humanitarian OpenStreetMap (HOT-OSM), Mapillary, and OSM locally. The day’s focus was on hands-on production of open data to be published in OSM by creating and complementing maps. The first mapathon of the day was organised by the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, which is perhaps the fastest-growing community of open data contributors in Finland at the moment. This time, their workshop had about 20 participants, most of them newcomers, who contributed 1555 buildings and 113 kilometres of roads and paths. Results: http://ernoma.github.io/mapathon/ODD2018/ During the second workshop, 10 people learned and took 873 street-level photos (of which 140 were 360⁰) with the Mapillary smartphone app to cover the historical Maria’s Hospital grounds surrounding the venue. Results: a map with the photos and the area at Mapillary’s website The focus of the last mapathon of the day was fixing map errors in your neighbourhood in a service that you use daily based on OpenStreetMap. This provides yet another type of prominent entry into the world of open knowledge and OpenStreetMap in Finland. The more people learn and contribute in workshops like this one or otherwise, the more complete, up-to-date and flawless the paths, addresses and points of interest become in all the services that use OpenStreetMap.

Lessons learned from the community and plans for the coming months

In Portugal, the participants were eager to learn more about OSM — how to contribute to the project and how to use the resources it makes available. It seems that there are not enough opportunities to get people together to discuss, learn and work together. Open Data Day, and our monthly Date With Data meetings, are a crucial space to get these people together — there are no similar forums in Porto (or Portugal!). We had rainy weather on Saturday otherwise we would have made a walk around the city to learn about mapping, on the field. Learning how to contribute to OSM, either by submitting data or reviewing data will definitively be the motto for one of our monthly sessions, in the next months. We also want to take some time to talk about mapping technologies for showing and visualizing open data. In Finland, we enjoyed the new collaboration between Open Knowledge Finland and the mapping communities in Finland: Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team Finland community as well as OSM Finland community. Our concept for the day — combining different modes of activity and themes — seemed to boost the diversity of people, e.g. in terms of age or background (students, company staff etc.). For example, the HOT-OSM events are usually promoted to students or other activists, but this time there was wider range in promotion and participation with joint efforts and networks of promotion. When it comes to other synergies, the participating communities were happy that OKFI had organised the space, the food and the budget. We are planning other joint events such as 24-hour mapathon later this year.