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Open data in the global south


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Presentation by Dan van der Horst at University of Edinburgh Open Knowledge Network event, 31st January 2017

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Open data in the global south

  1. 1. open data in the global south Dan van der Horst School of Geosciences, UoE. Open knowledge meeting, Informatics forum, 31/01/2017
  2. 2. Data in the global south • Limited resources for archives, libraries • Limited resources for data collection & management. • Weak physical infrastructure • Lack of capacity & expertise • Weak regulations, • Limited ability to pay • High levels of digital exclusion
  3. 3. Relative advantages • Low baseline; all progress welcome. • Technological Leapfrogging • Legal leapfrogging? • Cloud solutions overcome geography • Growing population, many under-served. • young population, keen on tech • Many applications for open access satellite imagery (due to lack of ground surveys)
  4. 4. Famous example; Ushahidi User-generated mobile phone reports. Originally developed to track electoral abuse & violence in Kenya. Then Haiti, etc. • Originated in crisis; no patents, monopolies • Few have computers; works on mobile • No venture capital; open source software Hence free for others to use & develop
  5. 5. Key sectors for open data 1. Education & access to knowledge 2. Citizens & the powerful; transparency, accountability, policing externalities, fair trade. 3. Geotagging the (big, informal) city; businesses, danger spots etc. 4. Agriculture; (I) threats e.g. invasive species, diseases, droughts, flooding; (II) market info, linking buyers to sellers, organising transport and (III) agronomic advice. 5. Digital health; diagnosis & treatment, individual health tracking, spread of disease in local population. 6. Making ‘aid’ more effective. Many-to-many support
  6. 6. So what for UoE? • Many global south applications require (some) support • Our student-citizens; keen, smart and many • Overseas students with local knowledge & networks. • Long list of alumni (deep pockets; positions of influence) • Global duties esp. towards those less fortunate. • Good avenue for us to maintain our identity as an old civic university; soft power for the common good.