Stefaan Verhulst and Andrew Young Share Two-Part Series on Open Data for Inter-American Development Bank's Abierto al Público Blog

Andrew Young — September 01, 2017

To mark this year’s Con Datos conference in Costa Rica, Stefaan Verhulst and Andrew Young shared findings from the Open Data in Developing Economies initiative at the Inter-American Development Bank’s Abierto al Público blog. The two-part series introduces the Periodic Table of Open Data analytical tool and provides a deep dive on case studies from the region. 

The Periodic Table of Open Data is “a new methodology and factors for determining the success (or failure) of using open data.”


Among other case studies from Latin America and the Caribbean, Verhulst and Young describe an agriculture project from Columbia and analyze it according to the Periodic Table of Open Data:

“The Aclímate Colombia project is a cross-sector partnership led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). Its platform leverages a diversity of data sources, including many open government datasets, to help farmers understand how to better navigate shifting weather patterns. It has already had a tangible impact on the community, and received widespread recognition about how cross-sector data-sharing can translate data science insights into concrete, actionable information.

Particularly in developing economies where resources can be in short supply, a clear, detailed understanding of the problem to be addressed can help ensure targeted efforts. Aclímate Colombia’s user research (U) was laser-focused on the needs of smallholder rice farmers, ensuring that open data used in the platform was optimized for their needs. Through the use of data audits and inventory (Da), practitioners were able to explore the availability of datasets – both in the form of open government data and from other potentially useful and relevant data sources like NGOs and the private sector. For Aclímate Colombia, researchers identified the types of data needed for agriculture algorithms, and then engaged with the semi-public industry groups to make the data available.

Although open data is meant to provide value to data users without direct data-holder engagement, partnering with entities on the supply side (including government partnerships) can help fill data gaps and enable higher-impact data use. Aclímate Colombia is a strong example of the potential impacts that such partnerships can bring. The effort to provide farmers with climate-resilient crop-planting methods, would not be possible without the collaboration of a civil society organization (the driver of the initiative), government data holders (Dh), and semi-private agriculture industry domain experts (De) that served as intermediaries (I). These collaborators worked in partnership to get Aclímate Colombia’s tools into the hands of the smallholder farmers who needed access to the data.”

Read Part 1 Here.

Read Part 2 Here.