OGDI V2.0   2 comments

On the 4th of July 2011, I opened my facebook page and saw a wall post of a friend. It says “Kenya leads by launching Africa’s 1st OpenData portal opening gov to hackivists & social entrepreneurs”, and today I found out that they officially released the site for the public. This is what I was talking about in my previous post, code for Ethiopia. Honestly, I am glad for the Kenyans for making it, thumbs up!

Yesterday I was watching ETV and they were showing this documentary, ‘Endegena’ meaning ‘Again’, how strong Ethiopia was years back. I think this is the information era and we should also be competitive in it too. The more we distribute the information the more power it gains. There still is the potential in technology in Ethiopia to create innovative applications which can transform the lives of millions of people as long as the platform is ready. IMHO, the platform is the national data we collect and make available for the public and developers to use it.

This is just to play my role to initiate the project and you readers, if you are a developer to participate, if not to support it to become a reality. My courage, the one we all habesha’s have in our blood, of becoming at least the second in Africa to release an open government data is pushing me to see how to make it happen. I looked at all the possible sources and luckily I found out in my laptop there was this open source project that I already downloaded to see long time ago. The project is called Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI v2.0). According to the project source, the demand of Open data from government agencies is growing globally. The project is aimed at providing a starting point for developers to build on it and customize to own needs. It is developed using C# and is based on Windows Azure platform, Microsoft’s Cloud platform.

The project has three components, interactive SDK, data service and data loader. The live instance of the project is hosted here for all interested to see and navigate through the test data available. Two years back, on PDC (Professional Developers Conference), the leader of Microsoft’s data services program has revealed the idea of Open data protocol.It was a way of making applications to interact with each other and exchange data. Since then, there comes lots of Odata producer and consumer applications. OData producers are applications or sites which expose data in OData and consumers are applications/services consuming the data to do analysis. The idea grew to a bigger scale and the idea of Open Government came to life.

I think we are not that much behind technology to make this happen. The technical challenges are not significant as compared to the problem of collecting data. If ministry offices and agencies take the lead in creating the initial data set and invite the community in building up on it the data set will be rich. Once again, please let’s make the move in making open government data project a reality to bring about transparency and enhance the public service.


Posted July 11, 2011 by Behailu S. in Open Data

2 responses to “OGDI V2.0

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  1. Hey Bille,

    Nice! I’m a huge proponent of Open Government!

    As you know I’m not into coding or programing but I am willing to share what I think. Lately, I was thinking to create an “Open Data Addis”!

    That way, for instance with the information that will be public by the Addis Ababa city administration you guys (developers) could come up with apps and softwares (for eg. Addis Guide, Addisguide.com – which will do all the guide work for tourists on their finger tips). This app will be using AR (Augmented Reality) technology. When a tourist take a photo of Arat Kilo University on his smart phone (android or iphone) information about that building or institution comes on the screen right away. It is doable! Or when they want to go to special event, they can get it asap. Let’s not forget, A.A is the political capital city of Africa! We are far far far behind S.A and Kenya and Nigeria in this technology front. The Market is there BIlle – Work on it!

    Not to mention this Open Data will help your previously stated goals when it come to alleviate some of the transportation problems in the capital.

    I believe that Bureaucracy is one major factor for our downward spiral in the economy. Imagine bureaucracy being eliminated with the help of information (Open Data’s initiative will help many developers to come up with apps that make life super easy – Bole Kifle Ketema’s real estate rules and regulation on your finger tip! checking events, browsing nice restaurants… Bille, Just imagine that….). Oh! No line ups in kebele to register or go to Wemezekir to read in a congested space (rather using online libraries that carry all digitized Ethiopian books) or registering online for school (no need to go to Mekelle or Tepi to register etc) … I wish that day would come!

    Bille, Yes we were left in the dark in the industry era. But at lest we have a chance to catch up with the western world in the Information Era as it only requires brian (lots of programmers and software engineers like you), computers (used computers do work well to create one software – look India! they don’t use Mac to ‘tell marketing’), and as equivalent to Silicon Valley we can create one in Adama University in the real Rift valley… lol

    So keep up the good job.

    p.s. while you work in the lab on this project – you might want to hear music!

    Check this interesting way of music sharing

    • Thanks addistalks for this encouraging and bright idea of ‘We can do it’. Yes we can do it, we have all the human capital that is required to make it happen. This kind of service is backed by a strong community which feeds in the data, which is the soul of the application. I doubt there is an organized digital content which can be consumed. Of course this is also possible as long as we help each other. I see a brighter day in the near future, I am just trying to do what it takes from me to get to it.

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