Catalyzing the growth of the Kenya tech community

Promoting transparency through open data

By Jessica Colaço
Uncategorized
  Published 03 Jul 2011
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Promoting transparency through open data

The Government of Kenya will launch a new Government Open Data Portal on July 8 that will for the first time make several large government datasets available to the general public in an easy to search and view format.

The web portal will allow citizens to search and display national and county level data in graphs and maps and allow for easy comparison and analysis between datasets.

For web and software developers, the portal will avail data in useable formats like cvs, Excel and will even include APIs for each dataset.

The portal will be one of the first and largest government data portals in sub-Saharan Africa. With this launch, Kenya will become a leader among developing countries in the adoption of open data—a movement that is gathering momentum globally.

What is open data?

Public information and searchable information are two different things. Much public data is already available by law but it's often not usable because it is in a format that is not easy to find, use, and re-use. Published PDF files do not constitute "open data" and are not helpful to large-scale users. To be open, data must be:

  • easily found through search engines (meta-tagged)
  • available in machine readable formats (CSV, XML, APIs not PDF)
  • accessible by third party tools/applications (interoperable)
  • allow others to use and re-use for non-commercial and commercial use (e.g Creative Commons Licences)
Open Data not only increases transparency and accountability, it promotes greater efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of public services by allowing users to easily consume and interpret data.

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