Monday, February 25, 2013


Hackathon being one of the most awaited programs of the Open Data Day, was celebrated with great enthusiasm and it really proved to be a great success. The main theme of hackathon  was to use open data in  creative ideas and show people how it can be visualized. Teams were given about five hours to work on their ideas and produce applications using the open data. Total eight teams came up for this challenge.
It started with the pitching of idea by each team leader at about 10:00 am and they were given  just about 1 minute for it. Teams were formed in a way that there were members from different sectors, having variety of knowledge. They started collecting data and manipulating it. The ideas were locked at about 12:00 pm. After that teams were not allowed to make changes on what they wanted to do.
Judges were constantly reviewing each team. According to them, they were looking for innovative ideas and the impact that the idea is going to have on the society. Keeping all these in mind ,teams were all prepared to bang the cash prize of Rs 10,000/-
 One of the team was of Everest K.C, Sushant Kafle and Abhibandhu Kafle .They were working on Coloropleth map of Nepal showing population. Their project showed a relationship between various parameters related to population using colors .For e.g.: UNHCR works on refugee affairs and if it wants to know work areas, it can use their map to see where field work could be implemented. They used existing data to visualize target area.
 Another team was of Deepak, Aayush, Kshitiz . Their project was  related to  Petroleum products. This team compared the price of petroleum products in Nepal and India. They showed how drastically price of petroleum products have been increasing in Nepal and the impact of such price rise on existing population  could be inferred. Similarly Rarendra Adhikari, Rojan Sinha, Sanjeev Prajapati were working on Weather Visualization. This team extracted data from MFD(Meteorological Forecast  Department) and visualized the data of temperature and rainfall which could be used as per need.
Rohitman Amatya, Gaurav Rijal, Bibek Chitrakar, Shalil Awaley and Milan Thapa also formed a team. They were working on project named News Analysis. This team extracted information about the news and then categorized the data into various groups such as which news is mostly heard, which has made more impact on people and so on. They also visualized their data on the world map.
 Likewise, Anish Shrestha, Sajjan Lamichane , Prakash Bhusal and Gokul Dhakal presented the project named Open Data Social. Their idea was to convert data to information, so that even non-related people can gain some knowledge about the data. They tried to make this information socially available and interactive.They did some data analysis and visually presented their idea.
Team of  Diwakar, Bhabishyat,Punya worked on project  named Agro Index. They basically showed the relationship between population and food.
 Bimal and team members had an innovative  project-Obudget which  tried to share the Aid of Nepal of last 10 years and how it is being used in our country. They showed the correlation between the aid, purchasing power and inflation rate.
There was a team who worked on the Analysis of  data of SAARC countries.They showed the development trend in the SAARC countries. They showed their data on bubble chart.
At about 4:00 ,each team was interviewed by the judges. They were given just five minute to present their project in front of the judges. After that each team were given 2 minute to give a presentation of their project in front of everyone.
Everyone had their fingers crossed waiting  to know who were going to grab the prize. Finally, the result was announced by the judges, there were two runner ups: Obudget and Open Data Social. And  last but not the least the  winner was Petroleum Products.
Judges even mentioned two honorary projects, they were Agro Index and Coloropleth map of Nepal showing population and encouraged all to further work upon their products.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Serious Mapping Fun

Along with YIPL and Mozilla Nepal, Open DRI Nepal were organizers of the first ever Open Data Day celebrated in Nepal. Open Data Day 2013 featured various events like Hackathon,  Mapathon, Localization Sprint and Wikithon. Open DRI conducted a Mapathon event which was divided into two one hour sessions for continuous mapping of building footprints.

The event started at 9:45 as all the participants and the mentors gathered into Hall 3. The team of mentors were teachers from NEC and KU, Open DRI and their volunteers. All the participants were taught about the tools that they will be using to edit building footprints. These tools included software like JOSM, an offline map editor for Open Street Map and Kathmandu Valley Tasking Manager, a tool to check that two different teams do not edit the same map data while doing edits.

There were some inconvenience due to inconsistent internet connection but still  the Open DRI team were prepared as they had brought the whole mapping kit in an usb flash drive. So the mapping kit was passed around and everybody were able to get the tools up and running. Due to the problem in internet connection the number of map edits as initially expected was not realized however all the participants had fun mapping. The more important part in my opinion was that the mentors were able to pass along a message about the significance of the map data they were contributing to Open Street Map in the longer term.

Open DRI which is a World Bank initiative is interested in mapping building footprints of Kathmandu because they ultimately want to use these data to analyze and prepare for an earthquake when it strikes Kathmandu. They are not only interested in mapping building footprints but also in mapping other critical Point Of Interest like Health Facilities and Hospitals that would be relevant in case of earthquake preparedness.  These data when uploaded to Open Street Map could be used by any number of people and its use only limited by their imagination.

The event was not all serious mapping though. The event also had a treasure hunt. Yes, a treasure hunt. The thirty two participants were divided into eight group of fours and handed map print outs and clues. These eight teams went on around Jwalakhel area not only hunting for treasures but also learning important GIS ideas and also mapping POI's. Some team did good in terms of marking and some did better than them. There were prizes for the top three. At the end of the day everybody were winners. The day ended for the Open DRI team, the volunteers and the participants with big smiles in their faces and a nice group photo.


Open Data Day 2013 was successfully celebrated today, on 23rd February 2013, at Local Development Training Center with the participation of handsome number of visitors, competitors, presenters and other enthusiasts. The presentations of the day were held at Hall 1 at Local Development Training Academy. Broadly the presentations were divided into three divisions:Presentation 1, Presentation 2 and Presentation 3.

Presentation 1: This presentation was on the Introduction and Scope of Open Data which was done by Mr. Bibhusan Bista, one of the organizers of the event. He shared his knowledge and ideas on the what actually open data is, different types of open data, goals of open data, scope of open data worldwide as well as Nepal specific and how one can start and continue with open data.
 The presentation on the very topic was continued by Mr.Nama Raj Budathoki from Open DRI/WorldBank. He spoke about the open data implementation worldwide and in Nepal as well. He also shared his experience and scope of Open Street Map. He concluded this part of presentation letting the audiences know "Open Data inspires innovation and cultivates collective intelligence to solve seemingly impossible problems.
The presentation was concluded by Pernilla Nasfros from OpenAID Partnership/WorldBank introducing OpenAID as a collaboration between aid donors and government all over the world.

Presentation 2: This set of presentation was on Wikipedia Nepal and Wikimedia done by Mr.Hem Pal Srestha, Wikipedia Nepal. He presented the statistics regarding Wikipedia in Nepali and other languages used in Nepal. He also shared a video made by his team members, Mr.Krish Dulal and Sushma KC with the audiences present over there and finally the presentation was concluded.

Presentation 3:The final presentation was done by the members of Mozilla South Asia Meetup in Nepal, on using Mozilla as a webmaker.

Friday, February 22, 2013

What is Open Data?

“A piece of content or data is open if you are free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share-alike.”

The above is how Open Knowledge Foundation defines open data. With only hours to go for first ever open data day celebration in Nepal i would like to share this article which talks about what open data means and what it doesn't.