The India City Open Data Census is an ongoing, crowd-sourced measure of the current state of access to a selected group of datasets in municipalities across India. Any community member contribute an assessment of these datasets in their municipality at any time. Census content will be peer-reviewed periodically by a volunteer team of Open Data Census Librarians led by Open Knowledge India.
The first step in making data actionable is to make sure the data is easily accessible. Many cities, whether they have an open data policy in place or not, have work to do in terms of making datasets open and available online. Do an evaluation of where your city stands on releasing our landscape of datasets openly and work with your municipal partners to come up with a plan for making all of them open and available in 2014.
Once you have an inventory together, work with your city partners to figure out what barriers stand in the way of making any missing datasets open and accessible online and discuss solutions to overcoming those barriers. Work with government to create a timeline tool and/or alerts for when data will be released. If your city is making all this data available, now is the time to start thinking about what questions can be answered or problems addressed with these datasets. Take a look at what other cities are doing with key datasets. Are there lessons to be learned for your city?
To take this project a step further, you can pick an issue area of particular concern to your city (crime or blight, for example) and do an inventory of all datasets related to that issue. Then work with issue-area experts from the community to determine what potential value those datasets might have for addressing the problem, or what datasets are missing that would be particularly valuable.
Presently, the census has been conducted for 7 major cities in India — New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. The total number of existing datasets is 105. However, none of these is open and the Percentage of Open Dtatasets found is ZERO therefore. What this means is that our governments have a lot of work to do and a lot of improvement is to be made to realize the potential of Open Governance in India. In many cities, like Kolkata, Delhi and Bangalore and Mumbai, many of the existing datasets can be made open simply by presenting them in a machine-readable format. In other cities, the governments need to work harder, as the existing datasets for these cities lag behind on various parameters. In fact, many of the datasets DO NOT EVEN EXIST!
You can find more information regarding the census at: India City Open Data Census
We are planning to start a new platform for coders shortly. In this platform, anybody would be able to code freely to produce Open Source products. India has a substantial volume of young coders, who can benefit from such a platform. However, building such a platform would require a lot of work and the plans are still in nascent stage. Please look for updates on Open Knowledge India’s pages.