Time for some mashups: World Bank and AidData released geographic data for 81 countries and launch open.aiddata.org

Kenya map

The World Bank has just released maps of its activities in 81 countries as part of the Mapping for Results initiative, a partnership between the Bank and AidData. The geocoded data represent more than 16,000 locations for more than 2,700 active Bank activities in all 79 IDA countries, plus China and the Philippines. The Mapping for Results initiative is part of the World Bank Open Data Initiative and is fully committed to open, free and easy access to raw data. The socioeconomic and geographic location data displayed on the Mapping for Results platform can be downloaded, expanded, manipulated, and re-used without restriction. All of the geographic location data can also be accessed through the World Bank Open Data API.

Today, AidData in partnership with the World Bank Institute launched open.aiddata.org, a new toolkit for aid transparency with tools and data for donor organizations that want to make information on their activities more accessible, and for those who want to better understand and access aid information. At Open.AidData you can download the Geocoding Methodology behind the mapped data, which can be used by other organizations that want to geo-enable their work.

The Mapping for Results dataset is the output of nearly one year of collaboration between AidData and the World Bank Institute—but this is only the beginning. We are working together to expand the initiative to other organizations, with the goal of helping donors to better coordinate their country strategies and governments to harmonize on- and off-budget aid-funded activities. At the country level, we are looking for new ways to make this information more accessible and relevant to governments and citizens.

Mapping can advance the development agenda in a number of ways:

· Aid maps can help citizens and CSOs monitor and give feedback on aid activities in their communities or sectors of interest

· Maps are a strong visual aid that facilitate decision making between donors and partner countries on where and how to allocate development investment

· Overlaying aid information with development statistics helps development stakeholders assess whether aid flows to areas of greatest need

· Development actors can use maps to coordinate activities, thus preventing duplication of work.

Currently, AidData is using the Mapping for Results data to develop new web/mobile applications (such as Development Loop, with Esri) and to inform new research in aid allocation, donor coordination, and impact monitoring. More eyes on project implementation at the local level is likely to mean that a larger share of funding makes it to the intended destination and is used productively. This “Democratization of development through open data” can broaden the dialogue so that citizens have a voice in the development planning process, and can report back on whether roads are maintained or schools have textbooks. AidData, Ushahidi, and UNICEF are currently exploring the feasibility of testing a crowdsourcing approach to development monitoring in Uganda, with technical support from the World Bank Institute.

AidData is also working with the Climate Change and African Political Stability Program (CCAPS) at the University of Texas and Malawi's Ministry of Finance to geocode aid activity information at the country level. Recently, several CCAPS research assistants traveled to Malawi for the initial stages of the project, which will result in a geocoded set of all development assistance projects currently tracked in the government's Aid Management Platform (AMP). Once mapped, Malawi's geocoded aid projects will be presented on a simple visual platform that will help government and donor staff ensure that aid is targeted to areas of greatest need.

Our hope is that more transparent, better data will lead to greater development impact. Look forward to seeing how others take the newly released data and mash it up with other kinds of information to pose (and answer?) some interesting questions.

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