This week in open data: Nearing the tipping point of open data?

There’s a great conversation going on right now about using open data to alleviate poverty on the World Bank’s Striking Poverty Blog. The conversation so far has delved into whether open data helps citizens (directly or indirectly), as well as the difference between private data, public data, and borderline data.  On the Africa Can… End World Poverty Blog, Wolfgang Fengler stated his belief that the tipping point will soon be reached when the amount of data and technology available will exponentially benefit those living in poor countries, focusing on how simply getting country GDP and poverty rates should take mere weeks instead of years in the future. If we are as near the tipping point as he suggests, then we are at a pivotal point where we can guide where and how it falls. Let’s make it comprehensive, let’s make it usable, let’s do it right.



The UNDP in Europe and Central Asia blog put open data to use to look inward instead of outward and explored some of the inner workings of the World Bank. Read the post to find out characteristics of the organizations that win World Bank contracts. An interview with Gavin Starks, the CEO of the Open Data Institute, highlighted the 200 million pounds that could be saved through health services in the UK thanks to open prescription data. He also shirked the idea of “if you build it, they will come.” Sometimes a push and a pull is needed to get the ball rolling. 
A new database explores why trade is more expensive for poorer countries. As open data begins to make it possible to answer questions such as this, the picture of what needs to be amended worldwide becomes a little bit clearer. However, much of data still hasn’t made it to the point where it can be accessed in 2-3 clicks like the budget for the municipality of Frankfurt, Germany visualized here.
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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