Open Data: Ensuring Data for All

Availability of structured data on the web for greater citizen-centric use

Ensuring availability of digitally reusable data on the web to enable better public service delivery, research, new job opportunities, investment and transparency and accountability in the government. Show more

H

ow is Open Data useful?

In 2016, flood situation in Jamalpur district in Bangladesh got worsened as the nearby Jamuna River swelled and flowed 121 centimeters above its danger-level. The water-level crossed its previous record of 112cm above the danger-level that happened in 1988. Many schools, colleges gradually got submerged as the water rose. The authorities could not foresee when which establishment would go down to the flood as they lacked all important digitally analyzable data to make such prediction. They used guesswork that often resulted in the suffering of the people and damage or loss of valuable properties. If relevant ministry and departments like Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre, Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information & Statistics, Water Development Board etc. had opened on the web in digitally analyzable form their data on water flow, GIS of schools, colleges, and rivers then the authorities could use it for such forecasting. Likewise, it will immensely benefit the citizens if public and private organizations share on web such serviceable data on various issues like health MIS, transport, hospital, stock exchange etc. .

a2i has been the leader in Open Data initiative in Bangladesh with a view that it is a governance issue that reinforces right to information and has massive potential to empower all classes of people. In the context of Bangladesh, open data is critical to ensure effective public services.

The objectives of open data initiative are:

  • to encourage the development of innovative solutions for better public service delivery,
  • to enhance the scope of research,
  • to create new job opportunities and investment, and
  • to make government more transparent and accountable.

a2i’s goals

  • To embed open data practice in the government,
  • To engage with the open data community, and
  • To increase the generation of demand-driven open data.

Present scenario

a2i along with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics have been implementing Open Government Data (OGD) in Bangladesh to achieve some of the goals of SDG. An OGD Working Group to act as a central point of reference for people and an Executive committee as a controlling authority for the strategic aspects have been formed as part of OGD Management System in Bangladesh. National capacity development workshops and programs are going on for sensitizing national stakeholders, integrating information on the initial gap assessment, identifying demands for data sets and carrying out strategic planning. Development of a portal (data.gov.bd) to provide an easy way to find, access and reuse data is at the final stage of its development. To achieve the “Data for All” objective a strategy paper to guide the stakeholders has received necessary approval.  

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