How does open data get used?
Once open data has been published, anyone can pick up on and innovate around it. Whether it’s government agencies, civil society organisations (CSO) or journalists. Open data helps to make dialogue richer and more informed.
Here are just a few examples of open data in use.
Census data is some of the most high-demand statistics and often the easiest to open as the data is already published and well-curated.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics published its 2009 census data on an open data platform in August 2010, allowing users to access detailed population statistics at the national level.
Education data can help families and local governments make decisions based on school performance. In 2012, six out of ten students were failing the standardised national secondary-level examination, leading to calls for reforms.
In response, the Government of Tanzania launched an Education Open Data Dashboard to share indicators on pupil-teacher ratios, regional and district rankings, and improvement rankings over time, all of which are accessible by a clickable map and drop-down menu of schools.
Data on health clinics and pharmacies can help citizens choose care providers based on service quality or availability of pharmaceuticals.
For example, in 2014, Uruguayans who wanted to change their health care provider had difficulty making informed decisions as performance data was published in a closed format.
Although the data was made available by the Uruguay Ministry of Health, it received fewer than 500 downloads in the entire year — likely due to limited awareness of the data and poor data quality.
In response, the Ministry of Health launched ATuServicio which provides data on average wait times, satisfaction, and fee structure.
In the first month after launch, the site received approximately 35,000 visits, with an average time spent on the platform of five minutes; visitors accessed an average of five pages per visit.
Geospatial data released in open formats can help users better understand important issues affecting their communities at different levels of scale.
Maps built on open-source mapping platforms such as OpenStreetMap can help users better understand local issues such as crime, air quality, and traffic congestion.
The Institute For Security Studies (ISS) maintains a heatmap showing the number of crimes within different categories across South Africa.
The map provides crime statistics for each police precinct in South Africa for various violent and property crime categories over different reporting years.
What you’ve learned
Over the course of this lesson, you have learned:
- Open data can be freely used and redistributed to anyone for any purpose
- Open licenses and formats characterise open data
- Not all public data is open data
- Common concerns have been addressed through experience
- Many types of government data can be opened