Posted by: Administrator | July 11, 2011

Open Data Kenya

Anyone who was at the iHub when PS Dr Bitange Ndemo  first introduced the Open Data Initiative will remember the vast field of questions that were directed to him specifically concerning lack of access to information in this country. As things stood then, one was either forced to put up with all the red tape in government circles or hope that they knew someone who knew someone…
This past Friday, all that was put to rest with the official launch of the website at opendata.go.ke and with it came a new dawn. Grouped according to relevant data sets, county specifics like population density, CDF spending and resource endowment to national figures like the census are now available, signaling the giant and positive leap forward that the open data policy in Kenya has taken. Open data has been gaining popularity the world over especially with the prominence of the internet. It is based on the idea that certain kinds of data belong in the public realm from where anyone and everyone can access and use them. Kenya is now among leading countries in Subsaharan Africa to embrace this viewpoint. Other countries already involved include:

The website  is powered by Socrata, a company based in the U.S. ” that provides social data discovery services for opening government data. Socrata targets non technical internet users who want to view and share govt, healthcare, energy, education, or environmental data.”( Wikipedia, Socrata). Of interest to developers is the developers’ link which hooks up to the main page from which one can get a feel for their API, the Socrata Open Data API (SODA). For the developer, this API boasts among other benefits, the:

  • ease of access to govt data sets
  • peace of mind that comes from knowing that data is maintained and updated for you
  • fact that you as the developer get to choose the programming language and data format to use
  • link to online support and other resources

(socrata.com)
There are some apps already up and running thanks to their API as this link shows. With data now publicly available at the touch of a button, the challenge now is to put it to good use and make the lives of the ordinary mwananchi that much better.

 

Posted by Ape

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Responses

  1. Good write up. The challenge now is for developers to use this data.

    • They have outdone themselves in terms of putting the information out there. It’s a positive step forward

  2. great initiative by the government the ball is now on the developers court wafanye kitu ya maana.


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