All posts by Nisha Thompson

Presenting the DataMeet Official Logo!

DataMeet needed a logo so we asked the group if they could provide some ideas.   We thought we would get 1 or 2 ideas but we ended up with 15 great design ideas!

Not knowing how to pick we decided to ask the group to vote. You can see all the potential designs here.  The voting ended on May 20th and after a few tweaks to the design.  The winner is:



and a short icon here:



Thank you to Sumandro for designing this amazing logo for us!

Credit the following icon from the Noun Project as part of the logo.  You can get the files here.

Thank you to everyone who contributed designs and to all who voted!




Mention on Hindu Data Blog!

Thanks to Rukmini from the Hindu Data Blog!

One bright spark in all this gloom has been India’s growing Open Data community. Srinivas Ramani, Senior Assistant Editor at the Economic and Political Weekly, put out this fantastic compilation of constituency-wise turnout figures, also neatly visualised as an India map, on Twitter yesterday (he is@vrsrini). Srinivas says that many state CEOs were helpful, but he also benefitted from the generosity of journalists like Anil Padmanabhan, Deputy Managing Editor at Mint (@capitalcalculus) and the open data community on a Google Group called Datameet which helped him create shape files to fit the numbers to the map. Lastly, Srinivas, like other members of the community put the results of their hard work into the public domain for others to play with, without getting proprietary and possessive about it, something that I as a journalist have still to fully learn.

Read the rest over at The Hindu Blog here.


Georeferencing 101 – Breaking down the electoral map – dot by dot

In preparation for Bangalore Open Data Camp 2014: Election special.  We did two small workshops one on working with PDFs and the other on learning Georeferencing and Vectorising basics. We did these two workshops because so much of working with election data is parsing PDFs and trying to get shapefiles.


Indian MP/MLA Constituency shapes are created and maintained by the Election Commission. There is a great wealth of information on this site, and if you can go to the state sites to see even more local electoral information for Parliament and Assembly constituencies.  However, these maps they give you are in PDF, if you want to create visualizations, layer data, or get any in depth understanding of your constituency these PDF maps make it difficult.

Sajjad Anwar headed our Georeferencing 101 workshop.  He went through the basics of using QGIS the open source GIS software.

QGIS is a great free open source resource for creating, visualising and, editing spatial data of various formats. Like any editor you have to become accustomed to the layout and the terminology which can be hard for beginners.  It might be overwhelming when you first start but just take a deep breath.  There is a great intro guide here and tons of Youtube guides.

To start looking at georeferencing data:

Things you need:

  1. Download qgis 2.0 or above.
  2. Need a picture, any format jpg, png etc.
  3. Base Reference file preferably a vector file.

If you can’t determine the border needs enhancing clean it up with GIMP, Inscape or any of your favourite graphic editor, and use the Georeferencer plugin – set the ground control points

Where you can get some reference files

  1. Global administrative boundary website 
  2. Open street maps –not the best but available

If you can’t find the reference file you might need.  The best you can get is the taluk level, if you can get that you can reference constituencies but district level is also acceptable it is the easiest boundary you can reference.   Don’t use Google  it is a violation of their terms of service

When you have your picture and reference vector file you can then use QGIS to outline the picture by creating points.  You put a point on the picture then pick the corresponding point on the map.

This assigns lat/longs to your picture and creates the references for the polygon to be created.  After this then you can add layers of data and create your map visualization!

Any georeferencing you do is a derivative work, so just keep in mind the license of the base layer.

You can learn more about the challenges of creating MP/MLA constituency maps on the DataMeet Google Group here.

We will be doing more of these workshops in the future so check back here for more information.


DataMeet Events and Major Links

Major Links this week!


Mentions of Open Data


Questions of the week

I was wondering whether there exists a mapping of PIN Codes to MP/MLA/Corporator constituencies/wards, please? Also, if a similar mapping exists to districts/taluks etc.?  – vis Gautam John

Data.Gov.In Beta is Up just launched its beta version. With 13 datasets already online and downloadable it is a good start. Granted not everything is working smoothly but given how new it is I’m feeling pretty good about the effort.

Like all things everywhere it never really is about intentions or really first steps but implementation and continued support. This is where the difficultly will lie with the Indian Government’s IT department the National Informatics Centre. They will be running the site and implementing the portal and I hope also can be an intermediary between citizens and the ministries that are providing the data.

Unlike or, the data does not have to stay on, according the governing policy the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy. The individual Ministry has control of the data and can still charge, not make data downloadable, and also restrict data and not tell you why. Also incredibly valuable datasets like the Census and the National Sample Survey (official link not working) will not be available for download.
Continue reading Data.Gov.In Beta is Up

Reflections of Chennai’s Data Workshop from India Water Portal

Cross Posted from India Water Portal

Written by Aarti Kelkar-Khambete

This workshop organised by Transparent Chennai at The Institute of Financial Management and Research, Chennai was the outcome of the experiences of the earlier open data camp events organised by Transperant Chennai in Bangalore and Hyderabad, where there was a wide discussion among attendees who were excited by the potential of
data and the open data movement, but who did not have the necessary skills or technical background to work effectively with it.
It was felt that there was a much larger community of activists, researchers, and on-profits who could benefit from learning to use the kinds of tools presented at the camps. Thus, this event was planned differently from a data camp and focused on training activists, researchers and students to work with data where participants would learn about open data, data visualisation, spatial data and practical issues that come up when working with data in various forms.

The workshop thus aimed at helping the participants to:

  • Understand various formats of data, diverse possibilities of data visualisation and effective tools for doing so, with a special focus on web-based tools
  • Understand how to think through projects involving collection, processing and visualisation of data
  • Develop a basic understanding of software packages and methods for visualising quantitative data, creating geo-visualisation and undertaking participatory mapping
  • Understand the connection between data technologies and rights to access and use data.

Read the rest of the summary here.