Ask Us Anything – Updated

It has been 5 years and we are now at over 1500 members and we thought it would be a good time to do an Ask Us Anything Hangout with DataMeet Central – Thej, Anand S, and me.

It will be Tuesday September 20th, at 6:30pm. We will be doing a broadcast Google Hangout will send the link out half hour before.  Bring your thoughts and questions about DataMeet, data in India, things we have done, things we should do, etc. It would be helpful to have some questions beforehand so feel free to comment here, if not you can ask during the hangout!

Hope to see you then!
Updated!
Thanks to everyone who joined the hangout! Here’s the video.

Save the Map – Update

From Sajjad

Thank you so much for supporting Save the Map ()
and sending your thoughts to the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill. We manage to send over1700 emails to the MHA, and several organisations and groups sent feedback to them expressing disapproval of the current state of the bill.

As of the monsoon session the bill was not submitted to Parliament and seems to have been put on the back burner. There has been no official response regarding if they will change the draft and incorporate any of the feedback. So as of right now we are unsure if the bill will come back and what form it will take.

We will be continuing to monitor the situation and send updates when there are new developments. You can see some other responses/comments that have been sent to the MHA [1].

Again thank you for your support and quick action. We hope to continue working toward a good policy on geospatial information that supports individuals and businesses to continue to innovate in the space.

Cheers,
Sajjad for Save the Map team

[1]

* DataMeethttp://datameet.org/2016/06/02/our-comments-on-the-geospatial-information-regulation-bill-2016/
* FICCI – http://blog.ficci.com/geospatial-information-regulation-bill/6446/
* Digital Empowerment Foundation –
http://internetrights.in/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DEF-
Comments-on-Draft-Geospatial-Bill.pdf
* Center for Internet and Society –
http://cis-india.org/internet-governance/blog/comments-draft-geospatial-information-regulation-bill-2016
* Medianama – http://www.medianama.com/2016/06/223-medianamas-submission-to-the-geospatial-information-regulation-bill-2016/
* Internet Freedom Foundation –
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9LKE-1DkhtFaGpENjRtallHcEFrVGRjbW1IYndWUl96VUhZ/view

Happy Independence Day and Open Indian Village Boundaries

One of the longest and most passionately discussed subject on the Data{Meet} list is the availability of Indian Village Boundaries in Digital format. Search for Indian Village shape files and you can spend hours on reading interesting conversations.

Over last two years different members of community have tried to digitize the maps available through various government platforms or shared the maps through their organizations.

A look at the list discussion tells you that boundaries of at the least 75% of the states are available in various formats and quality. What we need at this point is a consolidate effort to bring them all on par in format, attributes and to some level quality. So some volunteers at Data{Meet} agreed to come together, clean up the available maps, add attributes, make them geojson and publish them on our GitHub repository called Indian Village Boundaries.

Of course this will be an on going effort but we would love to reach a baseline (all states) by year end. As of now I have cleaned up and uploaded Gujarat. I have at the least 4 more states to go live by month end. Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Goa. I will announce them on the list as they go live.

The boundaries are organized by state using state ISO code. All the village boundaries are available in geojson (WGS84, EPSG4326) format. The project page gives you the status of the data as we clean and upload. Data is not perfect yet, there could many errors both in data and boundaries. You can contribute by sending the pull requests. Please use the census names when correcting the attributes and geojson for shapes. Please source them to an official source when sending corrections.

Like everything else community creates. All map data will be available under Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL). This data is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. If you find issues we are more than happy to accept corrections but please source them to an official source.

On this 70th Independence day, as we celebrate the historic event of India becoming Free and Independent, Data{Meet} community celebrates by cleaning, formatting and digitizing our village boundaries. Have a great time using the maps and contributing back to society.

https://github.com/datameet/indian_village_boundaries

Picture: Kedarnath range behind the Kedarnath temple early morning. By Kaustabh, Available under CCBYSA.

Guide on Digitizing Static Maps

I was recently invited to Nagpur by a group called Center for Peoples Collective, to brainstorm doing for Nagpur the kind of things I’ve done in Pune for budget data processing/viz and mapping. We found that they didn’t have any digital data (ie, shapefile, kml etc) of Nagpur’s electoral wards, but they did have some high-res images released by Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) with the boundaries marked. So I walked them through a process that I’ve worked out, which uses free online services and doesn’t need any software or advanced skills to do. I’m sharing that process here.
Continue reading Guide on Digitizing Static Maps

Sikkim Data Portal and Sensitive Information

Sikkim was the first state to come up with its own Sikkim Open Data Acquisition and Accessibility Policy (SODAAP) on the lines of National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP).  Continuing to lead Sikkim is now officially the first state to have its own data portal we are really happy to see this development and hope more states follow.  DataMeet has been carrying consultations with officials of Sikkim in framing the policy and helping them with workshops and insights to use the data. Honorable Member of Parliament Dr. Prem Das Rai has also been our keynote speaker during the Open Data Camp 2015 at Delhi sharing experiences about the on-going work in Sikkim.

As emails were being pushed about the launch of the portal on 15th July, we were alerted about sensitive data being published through the data portal by Abhay Rana. Two datasets on the portal had sensitive information like 1) name, 2) religion, 3) caste, 4) father’s name, 5) mother’s name, 6) gender, 7) birth date, 8) residential address, and 9) information regarding disabilities (if any) of school children, teachers with additional detail of marital status for the teachers.  We alerted both NIC and the chief data officer in charge for the datasets to get them taken down immediately.  Open data does not promote any sensitive information being shared publicly and it violates the very core principles. We applaud the quick response by the data controller in response.

It was an unfortunate accident that sensitive information not to be published under the policy was shared through the data portal. NDSAP along with SODAAP has mandates for every department to make sure sensitive information has restricted access and is not to be published. This incident is not the first where we encountered sensitive information was being published by government officials. Most of the times such information is in the public domain by accident or due to lack of awareness among officials about type and parameters available under the datasets. More incidents like this can harm officials from publishing further data and is a threat to the ecosystem of open data.

As more and more data becomes part of the public domain it is important that we all can work together to ensure that we do not violate privacy or put up sensitive data. More guidelines and frameworks are needed to maintain and report sensitive data which is already public.

We request you to bring to our attention if any sensitive information is being published under the pretext of open data. For now explore the new data portal and use open data to bring positive change in your community.

Our Comments on Draft Government Open Data License

A draft government open data license has been released by the oversight committee implementing National Data  Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP).  This license will be ideally applicable to all datasets being shared under NDSAP and through Open Government Data Platform (data.gov.in) and has been visioned to support all government data for public use.

While we welcome the requirement for a license to share government data, the license oversteps its boundaries in certain clauses and restricts data rights of users and citizens accessing public data along with a clause for no warranty of data. It also transfers liability of accessing sensitive data to the user and grants impunity to the data controller releasing such data incidentally or accidentally. Our submission for draft consultation has been uploaded to my.gov.in .  Please go ahead a do an upvote if you agree with our submission.

Other notable submissions are also being shared for reference.

Submissions from Medianama
Submissions from Factly

BMTC Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) and need for Open Transport Data

Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has recently launched its Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) in May’16. First announced in 2013, this was one of the systems most data enthusiasts in urban transport were eagerly waiting for. The system was designed to scale on paper and BMTC made sure the data rights of data being generated are with them instead of the contractor. Even with extreme planning, the system was delayed by 2 years and has several issues with it. Some of these issues have been highlighted to BMTC by members of datameet’s transport working group with suggestions to make it better in early June.  Along with the suggestions we had several questions regarding the project, we have asked BMTC to help us understand the ITS system in a better way and expressed interest to be part of the Evaluation & Monitoring (E&M) of the ITS project.  It is important that the project is closely monitored to improve public transportation for Bengaluru.

 

We also shared some of the previous work carried out by members of the group and suggestions to use open transport standards like GTFS, usage of openstreetmap data to reduce maintenance costs for currently using third party services like Google Maps which is not entirely free.

Members of datameet have been working on transport data of BMTC since 2010. Thejesh GN hosts static data of routes and schedules  of various years through his project OpenBangalore.  As a community of researchers, data users and enthusiasts we have been studying and experimenting with the evolution of data practices in India. Open Data is helping us be aware of our surroundings and also contribute back to the city in our own way. BMTC’s ITS implementation is a opportunity for most of us, we can potentially use GPS data to understand traffic patterns, rash driving of bus drivers, skipping of bus stops and trips. The ITS system will help the commuters more than ever if being utilized the right way. Open Data can help make this dream a reality by letting any commuter analyze his ride. Officials of BMTC has made announcements of bringing up a data sharing policy on the lines of National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP). In this regard we requested them to host a public consultation for their draft data sharing policy. We hope we can help BMTC and Bengaluru in a better way by bringing a policy suitable for all commuters and not just data users.

 

They want to take away maps they never gave us

For anyone familiar with DataMeet, a community of data enthusiasts1, you would be aware that the discussion can be rather stilted. Even though the list is dedicated to all types of data, geospatial data seems to be the main topic. There are over 700 topics related to geospatial data, out of 1600. That is nearly half of the conversation. People who ask come from all kinds of backgrounds, researchers, journalists, data analysts, startups, students and mapping professionals.

As the Indian tech economy grew over the last five years we saw an increase in membership and in asks for geospatial data, in downloads of the open shapefile data we have and a lack of understanding of the geospatial policy in India. Why is it so hard to find maps here? People were asking for data and asking why it wasn’t available, wanting better and more accurate data than the scraps that were available online for free or even what was being sold.

With the SaveTheMap campaign in full swing we wanted to look at the background of mapping in India and why in the future embracing openness of geospatial data is the best solution.

Open Data Camp 2016: Pollution Party! Full Schedule

REGISTER TODAY! We have reached capacity but have left it open for today. If you are not registered you won’t be able to join as Google security is very strict and will require you to be on a list.

Day 1: Pollution Party!

9:00am – 10:00am Registration
10:00am – 10:15am Introduction to OpenDataCamp
Team DataMeet
10:15am – 10.55am Karnataka State Pollution Control Board
By Dr Nagappa, Scientific Officer
11:00am – 11:10am Tea Break
11:15am – 12.00PM Environmental Support Group
12:00pm – 01.00PM Water Dr. Priyanka Jamwal
Environmental Researcher who currently is a fellow in ATREE. Her work focuses on identification of contaminant sources in surface water bodies, modeling the fate and transport of contaminants in urban hydrological systems and assessing the risk to human health due to exposure to contaminants.
01:00PM – 02.00PM Lunch
02:00PM – 03.00PM Pollution Data Collection Demos
Sensors without Borders, IndiaSpend*, Hindustan Times, YUKTIX – Open Weather Network Bangalore, India Open Data Association
03:00PM – 03.15PM Tea Break
03:15PM – 03:45PM Getting to 12 PM 2.5 | Setting the context for Action!
Sensing Local is a Bengaluru based do-tank focused towards making cities healthier, safer and more inclusive. The studio is working in partnership with Anti Pollution Drive (APD) Foundation, Mangalore towards a collaborative project on tackling air pollution. (https://sensinglocal.wordpress.com/
03:45PM – 04:45PM Urban Emissions
By Sarath Guttikunda
04:45PM – 05.30PM Group conversation and planning session on response to Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016
By Volunteers of SaveTheMap.in
05:30PM – 06.00PM Closing Remarks and Plans for Day 2

Pollution DEMO HAPPY HOUR!

Mapbox Happy Hour, 6p to 9pm. Puma Social Club, 100ft Road, Indiranagar. Bring your badges!

Day 2: Action Party!

“Hardware Hello World” for children.

A video posted by Thejesh GN ತೇಜೇಶ್ ಜಿ ಎನ್ (@thejeshgn) on

Sign your kid up to learn how to build environment sensors.

Sensor workshop poster

It is also a free day for people to demo, share and work on any projects they want!

Huge thank you to our sponsors!

Sponsors

http://juxt-smartmandate.com/project/india-open-data-association/

DataMeet is a community of Data Science and Open Data enthusiasts.