DG at the Open Data for Development Camp

July 19, 2011Andrea Calabrese

This Story from the Field comes from Anna Lauridsen of Development Gateway International. She tells us about her participation in the Open Data for Development Camp held in Amsterdam in May:

The Open Data for Development Camp was put together by Open for Change, a network based in the Netherlands committed to transparency, collaboration and impact in development, on request by the Dutch Foreign Ministry. I was there to present the geocoding work that Development Gateway and the AidData team have done. At the heart of my talk was the work we’ve done together with the World Bank in support of the Mapping for Results initiative. Since my presentation was on the second day of the conference, a number of presentations had already been made, allowing me to reference previous what other speakers had discussed. I was delighted at the enthusiastic response to the work that we are doing with geocoding. If you want to learn more about geocoding and the Open Data for Development camp, take a look at my presentation here.

The Open Data for Development Camp brought together a diverse crowd of development aid workers, policymakers, researchers, journalists, IT staff, software developers and service providers. The sessions included a combination of interesting activities aimed at different audiences. I was able to attend a roundtable for decision-makers from Dutch NGOs, which introduced key concepts and allowed for the participants to share their views and concerns. Moreover, there were several presentations and brain-storming sessions for practitioners like me organized around particular topics of interest in the open data world. I was able to go to several very interesting panels on the newest innovations in open data, including the latest developments in the IATI standard for aid information.

Some of the most interesting outcomes of this event came from the various hack sessions, which connected development professionals with software engineers to share ideas and brainstorm solutions around open data. Being somewhat non-technical myself, it was fascinating to see what these people could come up with after just a few short hours together. The developers made progress on many fronts, for instance, IATI visualisations that will be posted on openspending.org.

All in all, the atmosphere of the conference was friendly and I enjoyed meeting a quite diverse bunch of open data enthusiasts. And even though the audience was quite mixed, there was a lot of expertise gathered. I look forward to keeping plugged in to the open data movement to see how it progresses.

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