This week in open data and transparency: Let’s get visual

india map

Data Visualization

The call for open data (or just data in general) to be put to good use is often echoed. Many have answered this call by creating data visualizations, some better than others. Visualizations take often hard to grasp data and display it in a comprehensible, and hopefully aesthetically pleasing, visual form. Maps like the India Map of Financial Inclusion that was launched last week allow you to look at indicators such as number of MFIs against socio base-layers such as literacy rates and mobile phone use (thanks to Liz Larson of MIX for the heads up on the launch). Interactive maps such as this allow the user to quickly compare and analyze with a few clicks of a button. 

The Philippines’ Second Mindanao Rural Development Program is geo-tagging development activities within the program to enhance transparency, oversight and coordination by creating an instant visual tool. More standard graphs and charts such as those the Guardian’s Poverty Matters Blog highlighted using hunger and malnutrition datasets are important for clear analysis. An example is the simple, yet effective data visual showing that South-South trade now exceeds South-North trade, and the proportion is growing. Some say, that data visualization can be considered art, so let the creative juices flow!
Citizen Engagement
As mentioned in last week’s post, the open initiative is about getting the right information to the right people in the right way. In line with this, the New Zealand Government ICT website highlighted other ways that public data had been re-used innovatively in 2012. On the World Banks’ EduTech blog, read about the case study of citizen monitoring of the education sector in the Philippines. In San Francisco, the Twitter feed @SF311 was created for live reporting by citizens of service needs, feedback, and other communication after the Mayor received a tweet about a pothole. The days of writing letters to your public leaders are quickly fading into 140 characters that the entire world can see didn’t get lost in the mail.  
In other transparency news, the Open Budget Survey launched last weekby the International Budget Partnership showed that three of every four nations fail to meet basic budget transparency standards. There is work yet to do. However, Moldova is taking a step towards toward improving aid effectiveness and accountability with the implementation of a new Aid Management Platform. For extra credit, I suggest the report from the Africa Counts round table on ‘Enriching Kenya Open Data Initiative (KODI) from an Open Development Perspective.’ 
Weekly updates are written by Taryn Davis of Development Gateway; email her your tips for next week's update to get a shout-out in the post.
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