Category Archives: Events

Francesca Recchia on Redressing Geopolitics

Among other goals this year for GeoBLR, we want to engage conversations that drift away from technical details of making maps and working with spatial data. In March, we featured Francesca Recchia to talk about geopolitics.

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Francesca is an independent researcher and writer who has worked and taught in different parts of the world, including India, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine. She is interested in the geopolitical dimension of cultural processes and in recent years has focused her research on urban transformations and creative practices in countries in conflict.

Francesca spoke about her work in Kabul over the last two years around the Little Book of Kabul – exploring cultural practices by following Kabul’s own artists. Geographical and political borders and the construction of geopolitical imaginations have a profound impact on the way people think about and define themselves. She drew stories out of Mappa Mundi and Alighiero Boetti trying to connect how they reflect the geopolitical transformations of the world.

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Francesca says that the only way to understand politics and geopolitics and what this means for people in areas in conflict is to be amidst of it. This, she thinks is why one should work with artists and photographers.
Photos by Lorenzo Tugnoli

{Ahmedabad} – First Meeting

Data{Meet} Ahmedabad chapter was initiated on 7th March 2015. 25 souls attended the first meeting. The venue was SAATH Charitable Trust.

The meeting started with an introduction of the organizers, and a quick round of introductions from the attendees. We had a mix of students, researchers, professionals, and entrepreneurs. The idea and importance of a community built around open data, as we at Data{Meet} represent, was described to the members. Shravan and Mahroof, co-organizers of the chapter, shared the brief history of how Data{Meet} came to be, and how Thej and Nisha were instrumental in initiating the community.

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Shravan gave a lightning presentation about community mapping using OpenStreetMap and briefly explained the editing features. Apart from OSM, Shravan was also found promoting {;-)} mapbox. Aditya (the third organizer) shared a few Infographics on sanitation in India, the Indian railways, and the military capabilities of Asian countries that he created at Folo (folography.com).

The meeting itself was quite active, with people wanting to know more about how we as a community would work, what platforms we would use, privacy issues, possible data applications for Ahmedabad etc. Arun was eager to know whether OSM could be used to map customers privately. Mahroof mentioned the data initiative of the Indian government data.gov.in and how some additional work is needed to bring all the disparate data for them to be more useful to the public. There was a general agreement that lots of data is available from various sources, but not in an easily usable form. Some discussion also happened around voters ID, Adhaar, the Social Security number of USA, and the possible privacy issues. We ended up discussing various issues for about 2 hours, until we closed at 9 PM. For a first meeting of strangers, our event was a huge success with small discussions happening even after the meeting was formally closed. Everyone was urged to join datameet@googlegroups.com .

We had shared a form with DMers to collect ideas for future activities of D{M}Ahmedabad. Suggestions have come for conducting data workshops, and apart from opening up data, using data in some way to help decision making. It was also suggested to have sessions for people who are not well versed in data technology to learn from. I guess we are looking ahead for some interesting workshops and data parties. A few members have indicated that they could conduct sessions in future meetups. Gentlemen, we will be knocking your doors soon !

On another note, the group was almost entirely made of men, with just three women in attendance. Thank you Vishakha, Tanushree and Bhuvana for joining. We hope that our next meetup will have more of you.

A big thanks to Mr. Niraj Jani for agreeing to host us at SAATH, and for the tea. Thank you Aditya@Folo for bringing us yummy samosas.

Please stay tuned for our second meetup in April !!

Olacabs at GeoBLR

Last week, we gathered at the Paradigm Shift cafe in Koramangala, to learn about the location data infrastructure at Olacabs.com. The meetup was particularly interesting in the light of Ola’s recent move adding autorickshaws to their offering. Location is at the center of Ola’s business.

Vijayaraghavan Amirisetty, Director of Engineering at Olacabs, introduced how they collect data in real-time from cars fitted with smartphones. With over a lakh vehicles online at any given time, Ola’s primary challenge is to build an infrastructure to allocate taxis to customers quickly and reliably. Vijay highlighted some of the issues around collecting location data via GPS and cell networks. Even though both the technologies have matured since their inception, they are highly unreliable in various scenarios. Ola uses a combination of algorithms to build a reliable layer over GPS and network. One thing to note is that the smartphones are of variable quality and the system needs to work regardless of these metrics.

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Even though Ola is using Google Play services as their location aggregator, in India, network is a bigger challenge. Quality varies from city to city and also reception within a city in unpredictable. Ola falls back to SMS, driver’s phone and a set of offline algorithms if the network is unavailable. Ola’s infrastructure is built using technologies like MongoDB, MySQL, Cassandra, Redis and Elastic Search. They are also exploring integrating web sockets and an experimental custom Android mod.

There was a lot of feedback from the audience specifically around why it is difficult for the drivers to locate the customer. Driver training is not an easy task – there are a lot of logistical and operational challenges. Vijay emphasised on the amount of work Ola does to improve the drivers’ experience with the whole process of on-boarding their cars.

Everything at Ola is realtime – why would anyone book an auto through Ola if they can just walk out and get one in less than a minute. They are continuing to improve and innovate to revolutionize transportation in Indian cities.

Autorickshaw photo CC 2.0 Spiros Vathis

{Delhi} Jan 28th Planning Meeting

Delhi DataMeet – Jan 28th

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On the 28th of Jan Delhi DataMeet met to discuss their plans for the next year and to pick new organizers since Sumandro is leaving Delhi.

  • Nisha then summarized what was happening with DataMeet central and the other chapters.
  •  Amitangshu – when you think of DataMeet we think about through the sector we work in.  How does translate to the overall goal and become a common idea to all of us?
  • Updates on NIC
    • NDSAP Cell new’s head BN Satyapati
    • Data.Gov.iIn team is the team that is managing MyGov.in – resources have been moved to MygGov – can we push mygov to do open data things?  People have to suggest open data activities on MyGov.in.  Something we can do?

We started out with introductions and with the following questions.

  1. What should be the purpose of DataMeet Delhi?
  2. How can DataMeet Delhi add value to your own work?
  3. What activities/events should DataMeet Delhi do during the next year?

In order to find out the answer to the above questions post it notes were passed out and people were asked what they thought the purpose of DataMeet Delhi should be and what activities do they want to do in the following year.

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Purpose/Value

  1. awareness and knowledge about the global movement of open data – nuances/ policy/politics
  2. open data advocacy intervention in policy decision making, (think about other policies and portals in other ministries) (if you get buy in and it can move it forward) workshops, [bridging to osm – Satya] – advocating with various public officials – important thing to do.
  3.  DataMeet has members with excellent data skills – students what to learn data tools – people interested in teaching and students learning more about data skills – help people use and learn data tools- help students – basic and small workshops – Ravi
    1. when working with students – causes more due diligence – do it with an outside audience  –
    2. hold them in north and south campus – in a college.
    3. focused result workshops with journalists – focused with practical ends – training
    4. Student Workshops – Ravi, Krishnan, Nisha, Guneet,  will work together to plan a few for March, April
  4. open community, talks, organization, regular talks, conference
  5.  act like a platform – teach learn and doing
  6. talks, half day and 1 day hacks, areas to work, data entreauapneirship, public policy (budget state and local) – WASH, tie up with startups  – startups and private sector come in and talk about their issues and using data – start up tie in does help with advocacy – lobbying/legal political advisories – open source data conversation
    1. let’s think about specific audiences, there are so many catalogues – list of all the catalogues of different sources and mash up data
    2. use gov data, collect public data and speak with them about publishing data, data tools service
  7. team up with non for profits and help them solve their problems – break thru -woman’s group – support them  – ashoka, idrc, go thru them and see who needs help  – later in the year – happy to solve them – take them up as they challenging etc
    1. Non Profits –  submit problems and we can take them up as they come up and make that a focus on the DataMeet
    2. helping NGOS – on board with what they want to achieve – figure out the larger things
  8.  data problems – data successes – inspire and learn and connect
  9. work more with start ups – spread open data ideas
    1. side meetings – working with gov, ngo’s and startups – sumandro, raman,
  10. work with lamp fellows, prime minister rural fellows
    1. Government  – we should be willing to help the government as well – government isn’t easy to work with and is time intensive

TEACHING, LEARNING, DOING – The above purpose and values can be categorized under this mantra.

  • teaching students
  • doing advocacy and ngo solves problems
  • compiling casestudies
  • give rewards – push it to happen
  • make sure datameet gets credited
  • open data success stories

CALENDAR 

Feb –

    • Gurgoan budget data – Namrehta – interested in knowing more about what is happening – ongoing – state prs people – ADR – state chapter – city budget – ties into the overall state budget – income into city from state – and vice versa – long campaign – filing a PIL – ongoing – do a non profit – learning training thing
    • Assembly election in FEb

March

  • budget data ramanjit cheema,- bring groups who work on budget together – AI, CBGA
  • out in the open themed pecha kucha

June

  • capacity building with civil society groups
  • session of learning and- need to dismystify the tech heavy agenda of the group

July

  • AKVO event – water sanitation – manifesto what are the data gaps – bring them together – talk about data and shareing and advocacy – formats – INdia Wash Forum

 Oct

  • Public transport data – Guneet, Namrehta,

 Dec

  • Malnutrition

 Nov

  • Open Data Camp

 New Organizers of Delhi Data Meet!!!

Guneet, Isha, and Prachi!!!

Thanks to everyone for a great meeting! If I missed anything please add to the comments!

 

GeoBLR in 2015 – Mapping Unmapped Places!

Dholera, Ahmedabad

To kick things off in 2015, we met at the offices of the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), Bengaluru to map the unmapped/less-mapped settlements along the proposed Delhi-Mumbai Infrastructure Corridor (DMIC) project. The DMIC, a 1,483 km-long development corridor spanning several states in northern and western India, has been attracting a lot of curiosity and criticism from the national and international participants and observers. The project will have built a dedicated freight corridor, several industrial and logistics hubs, and smart cities at its completion. The project has been structured to be constructed in phases. The pilot project for an integrated smart city, Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR), is underway.

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The quality of mapping in many regions relies on a very active mapping community, or a strong interest from a collectives and local networks. We think it is important regardless to map the assets that pre-exist around the proposed sites of developments. With this in mind, we decided to take a look at the areas earmarked for the Dholera SIR (Gujarat), Shendra (Maharashtra), Mhow (Madhya Pradesh), and Dadri/ Greater Noida (NCR). The evening began with Tejas introducing the DMIC project, the scale of new development, and the need to capture these changes for years to come on OpenStreetMap (OSM). Sajjad provided a rapid tutorial on signing up for OSM, and using the browser-based map editor. The party was attended by guests at CIS as well as remotely from Bangalore and Dharamsala.

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As the party progressed, several guests ended up mapping roads, buildings, and water bodies in the Dholera region. Others chose to similarly map Shendra, and Dadri.

Mumbai Meet 4: Data Cleaning

Mumbai had it’s fourth data meet on December 6, 2014 with a total of 11 participants. Due to scheduling issues, the November meet-up was moved from last Saturday of the month to the first Saturday of December. This time the meet-up was held at Pykih’s office on 8th floor at Sardar Patel Institute Of Technology.

The speaker was Bhavin Dalal, Senior Technology Manager, from Hansa Cequity.
At Cequity, he plays multiple role not limiting to solution architect, consultant & project manager. While he has strong product framework knowledge , his expertise lies in data warehousing technologies.

Bhavin spoke on two main topics:

1. Data Cleaning – he explained what is Data Quality and which factors determine the quality of data. He briefed through the common Data quality problems faced while cleaning the data. He showed us an example where they faced problems while cleaning car data and how they solved it. He also explained data cleaning methods which will helped us to understand the approaches towards data cleaning, the importance to do data cleaning and some do’s and don’t while capturing data.

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2. Visualising census data for better understanding India – here he gave us eye popping fact list revolving around the census data. This topic gave us the better understanding that there are plethora of data points which can be meaningfully used to come up with really good insights on Indian population.

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The next data meet will be held on last Saturday of December 2014. Please follow the Mumbai Meet-Up Group to know about the details.

OpenDataCamp Delhi 2014 in Tweets

Mumbai Meet 3: Mapping Schools In Karnataka

Mumbai saw its third data meet on 26th October, 2014 with a total of 14 participants, in-spite of it being a Diwali weekend. This time around we decided to try out a new place and the venue was a roof top place located at Chium Village, Khar West. A nice cozy place but a tad bit difficult to find for people who are not familiar with the area.

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This time also the crowd was titled heavily towards the tech side. 

The speaker was Sanjay Bhangar, co-founder, CAMP, who is a web developer for the past 8 years, with extensive experience in online video and mapping technologies. who first,  gave a small introduction to the Data Meet, its founders Thejs and Nisha and how it now operates as a trust and that the idea is to encourage open data movement among data enthusiasts.

Sanjay spoke on two main topics:
1. Introduction to our video archival platforms – they have been running this for the last five years.  He explained how to gather metadata about all Indian films ever made, general video analysis tools ( timeline generation / cut detection), etc.

He explained the use of , https://pad.ma  and how it is an online tool for saving videos.

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2.Mapping schools in Karnataka – explained how they have been collecting data on schools in Karnataka and are working with the Akshara Foundation who run a lot of programs on schools and they have a lot of child level data which allows you to track performance of children in schools across the state.  A suggestion was made if they could also map crime data highlighting  the recent crime against children in Bangalore schools.

3.He showed us an example of how he worked on a project of mapping historical data for the New York Public Library. 

The next data meet will be held on 29th November, 2014. Pls follow the Mumbai Meet-Up Group to know about the details.

Notes from first Data BootCamp India

This has been crossposted from Thej GN’s blog.

“First ever DataBootCamp in India was organized by ICFJ in collabaration with Data{Meet}, HT, Hacks/Hackers – New Delhi, 9.9 School of Journalism in Delhi. It was a three-day event hosted by Bridge School of Management. It was an interesting gathering as more than 50% were from journalistic background. I have never seen such a big group of journalists in one place for three days, working in groups with people of different backgrounds.

Major part of the camp was to propose projects/stories and work on them. Group selected ten projects out of all the proposed projects. I have listed the projects below, hyperlinking to end results. If you like to see all the proposed projects then go to HackDash.

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  1. Narendra Modi On Twitter Vs Other Global Leaders – Word Play vs Ground Reality
  2. Crime Agaisnt Women In India
  3. Class Calculator – Think you’re in the middle class? Use the class calculator. Scroll down to find out. You may be surprised. Or Not.
  4. Cashless In India – Is India becoming a #cashlesseconomy?
  5. Terror Statistics
  6. Money poured into Ganga vs pollution levels
  7. India’s Supreme Court Ruling on Under-Trial Prisoners
  8. Media Ownership
  9. Advertising For Online Video To Rise By 30%
  10. Build Hospitals To Kill Cancer

Of course we had hands-on workshops on scraping, data cleaning, data visualization and mapping. I will probably need a series of posts to cover them all here. I have put the relevant links at the bottom for you to explore. Best part was some of the participants used the tools they learnt during the camp for their project work.

Other Interesting facts/links/tools that i came across during the event:

Overall I was surprised at the quality of the projects. At least half of them were executed very well. Two days are actually very small amount of time, so hats off to all the participants. As a participant and duct-tape programmer/trainer I had lots of fun. I hope there will be more collaborations between tech and journalism community in future.”

See Thej’s post for more pictures.  Also if you were at the event and have a post please let us know!

 

Data Journalism Workshop #1

Last Sunday, August 31st, Thej and I worked with an Economic Times Journalist Jayadevan PK to design an intro to data journalism workshop. For a while now there has been quite a bit of interest and discussion of data journalism in India. Currently there are a few courses and events around promoting data journalism, we thought there was definitely room to start to build a few modules on working with data for storytelling. Given that we have not done too many of these we decided to do an introduction and leave it limited to a few people.

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You can see the agenda with notes here and the resources we shared on the data journalism resource wiki page, as well as refer to the data catalog that DataMeet has been putting together.

Thanks to Knolby Media for hosting us and for School of Data (I am a fellow). Thank you to Vikras Mishra for volunteering and taking notes, pictures, and video.

We had four story tellers with us, from various backgrounds. We spent the morning doing introduction and what was their experience with data, what their definition of data journalism is and why they wanted to take this workshop. Then we had them put up some expectations so we can gauge what the afternoon should focus on.

 

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We then had Jaya go through the context of data journalism in terms of the world scale and the new digital journalism era.

Then we spent some time going over examples of good data journalism and bad.

After we went through resources people can use to get data. We touched upon the legal issues around using data and copyright issues. Then we discussed accuracy and how to properly attribute sources.

Then we demonstrated a few tools

Datameet 5

Tableau
CartoDB
Scraping tools
Scraper wiki
IMACROS
MapBox
QGIS

Visualization Roadmap
The participants thought understanding how to visualize would be helpful.  So we went through a sort of visualization roadmap.  Then went through stories they were working on to see how we would create a visualization and also how to examine the data and come up with a data strategy for each story.

Datameet 6

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Then showed some more tools to address the suggestions from the exercise.
BHUVAN
Timelines
Odyssey
Fusion Tables
BUMP

Feedback session

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People wanted another day to let the lessons be absorbed and some more time to actually have hands on time with the tools.  Also even at the intro level it is important to make people come prepared with stories, so they have something to apply the ideas to.

To say we learned a lot is an understatement. We will definitely be planning more intro workshops and hopefully more advanced workshops in the future, we hope to continue to learn what people think is important and will keep track and see what kinds of stories come out of these learning session.

If you want a particular workshop feel free to request one here.  Stay tuned to the blog and to the list to hear about the next one.