Category Archives: Events

Data Party! Garbage Go! Update

After a week of mapping 1000 spots in Bangalore has been mapped!


We have 50 people who have mapped at least one spot across the city.  The event last Saturday brought together people from different neighborhoods to take a walk and map some garbage.

We hope to be able to double this number and maybe even get to 3000 spots by the 3rd week of October!

If you have some time please download the app and map the garbage spots in your area. You can see the full map and zoom into your neighborhood here. 

To download the app find the links below.

Link to Mapunity Groups IOS app:
Link to Mapunity Groups Android app.
See Read more 

If you don’t want to download the app feel free to send us pictures. Turn on the GPS tag on your camera and then put up your pic on Twitter or Facebook with the Hashtag #garbagego

All data will be made open at the end of the campaign.


Data Party! Garbage Go!

At DataMeet we have spent years looking for and trying to make data accessible. The last few years more and more data is being made public which we are excited about however people demand data that fills the gaps in data that already exists or that is more actionable. Data that people want and need isn’t being produced, and if it is being produced it isn’t being shared.

This is the most true in urban spaces where there are tons of projects dedicated to collecting data for the city but none of this data enters the public domain as open data. It isn’t public data because the government doesn’t collect it and the various governance and civic oriented groups who collect the data are more prone to write reports or put the analyzed data up online and not the usable and complete raw data.

So DataMeet along with Oorvani Foundation and Mapunity want to start a monthly Data Party! Where we pick a topic and try to collect as much data as we can over a month. Then we will make the data open for download on OpenCity Urban data portal and also send it to the appropriate person in the government, as well as, write data stories on Citizen Matters.

So please join us on Sept 24th to kick off the first ever Data Party! Garbage Go! 

There are an estimated 9000 garbage blackspots in Bengaluru. We are trying to catch them all!

Sign up to map your neighborhood everyday. Or join us for chai and snacks on Sept 24th and map with friends in 3 locations: Koramangala, Indiranagar or Frazertown.

You have to register and download the app so we can plan for the snacks.

Event location will be sent to you once you register.

Time is 9:30am to 12:30am – Sept 24th Saturday morning.

9:30am – Intro and app explanation
10 to 12 – Mapping
12 to 12:30 – Closing and Next Steps.

All data collected will be made open on the Urban Data Portal for download and use, and this data will be sent to the BBMP and followed up on.

Indirangar – Maanya – Meeting place MapBox India

Koramangala – Nitin – Meeting place Sagar Fast Foods behind BDA complex

Frazertown – Contact Nisha Thompson – Meeting place French Loaf by Richards Park.

Register here.

Download the app and get mapping.

Link to Mapunity Groups IOS app:
Link to Mapunity Groups Android app.
SeeRead more 

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!
Thanks to everyone who joined the hangout! Here’s the video.

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. (
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
05:30PM – 06.00PM Closing Remarks and Plans for Day 2


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!


12 DAYS TIL 2016 Bangalore Open Data Camp: Pollution Party!

DataMeet will be hosting the 5th Bangalore Open Data Camp: Pollution Party on May 14th and 15th.  This year we want to spend time and look at the growing problem of pollution by spending two days examining the role of data. Last year saw a major turning point in the debate around pollution. Indian cities became a major focal point, as proof that New Delhi has worse air quality than reigning champion Beijing was proven with data. This put a spotlight on air pollution problem across India. At the same time water pollution from industry has also come up in the foaming lakes and rap videos fighting for recognition of pollution and its effects on people. The economic and development growth has meant that the building industry has been in over drive bringing sand and dust into urban and peri urban areas in large quantities plus the growing lack of proper trash disposal has had major health implications for people from all social economic backgrounds.

However, the actual exposure of pathogens and pollution is not well known, extensive data has not been made available or is being collected in a way that can’t be easily understood or acted upon. This has spurred the rise of data collection networks and agencies to fill this gap. In every major city citizen supported cheap sensor devices have been put around cities to add data to the small number of official government monitoring stations.

This year at Open Data Camp we want to explore the role of these data collection network in a growing citizen and private sector monitoring role. What is the role of open data? When these networks grow can there be agreement on standards and formats to be maintained? and Are there financially sustainable solutions that can be built on open data?

Notably Karnataka State Pollution Control Board is attending to give the keynote in the morning and hopefully bring some data with them for us.

Tentative Agenda

1) Karnataka Pollution Control Board

2) Environmental Groups to give the general ecosystem around enforcement

3) Data collection networks
Sensors without Borders
Hindustan Times*
YUKTIX – Open Weather Network Bangalore
India Open Data Association

4) Water Pollution
Ground water
Urban lakes

5) What you can do with robust data?
Urban planning
Modeling for enforcement.

6) Open Environmental Formats and Information Discussion

Day 2

We will be hosting a sensor workshop for kids

Sensor workshop poster

We’d like to thank our sponsors Google, Sensor without Boards, India Open Data Association, Oorvani Foundation, and partner Reap Benefit. If you would like to sponsor or get involved please contact me @ Nisha (at)

Open Access Week 2015

Late post

Open A20151024_190330ccess Week is used as an opportunity to spread awareness of open access issues throughout the world. It was Oct 24th to the 30th last year. Shravan and Mahroof from the Ahmedabad Chapter suggested we do the first every multi city hangout and bring together different groups working on openness issues throughout the country.

For the event we had a Google Hangout with:

Data.Gov.In started us off with  Alka Misra and Sitansu participating from Delhi. They spoke about new features on, new datasets and visualizations available. They were also there to extend invites for more participation from the community.

Rahmanuddin from Access to Knowledge then spoke about Wikipedia and their community dedicated to local language knowledge sharing. They also had pertinent questions to Data.Gov.In regarding using open licenses. Since Wikipedia can’t use any data from Data.Gov.In since a license isn’t specified.

Ahmedabad Chapter went next. Ramya Bhatt, Assistant Municipal Commissioner from Ahmedabad, came and gave a brief talk about their plans for open data and smart cities. Alka from Data.Gov.In offered assistance. Then some students from Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Technology’s machine learning program used some data from to do analysis at the event. They looked at high budget allocation per state and drop out rates.

Open Access India’s Sridhar Gutam briefly went through the plans OAI has for the upcoming year to promote open access science and journals.

Hyderabad DataMeet is a new and yet to really take shape meet up but we were happy to see a first attempt. Sailendra took the lead as the organizer and brought together some people from IIM Hyderabad. Srinivas Kodali was there to talk about all the data he had made available that week.


20151024_184755Banalore DataMeet was there to share what has been going on with DataMeet and any new iniatives in Open Access



It was a great event, and as with all online events there were some technical difficulties but everyone was patient. It was awesome to see how the open culture space has grown, and to see so many new DataMeet chapters.

You can see the event below:

I hope we do one again soon minus the technical difficulties.

DATA{MEET} PUNE, 5th Meetup – Roundtable

-article by Rasagy Sharma

On the 16th of January, we hosted the fifth Datameet event for the Pune chapter at the Symbiosis School of Economics. The focus in this event was more on enabling discussions and initiating collaboration, so a Roundtable format was selected with three main speakers: Padmaja Pore from Door Step School, Jinda Sandbhor from Manthan Adhyayan Kendra and Nikhil VJ (Centre for Environment Education).

The session started with everyone introducing themselves. After that, Craig — co-organizer of the Pune chapter — talked about what Datameet is, how it started, and the aim of city chapters. He then explained how the Pune chapter is focused on connecting data-enthusiasts from various disciplines — such as NGOs, Data Analysts, Engineers and Designers — to help collaborate and spread more awareness about how data can be used.

Every Child Counts – Education of migrant children

The roundtable started with Padmaja Pore introducing Door Step School, an NGO that runs several projects around primary education. One such project is Every Child Counts (ECC) that was started in 2011 and focused on ensuring that  every child goes to school at the right age of 6-7 yrs. Through ECC, Door Step School seeks to understand and address barriers  to the schooling of kids of migrant communities such as those engaged in nomadic professions,workers at construction sites, factories, brick-kilns, etc. in the vicinity of Pune city.  When parents move their home several times in a year itself, how can it be ensured that their kids remain enrolled in schools?

In India, there are more than 1 million kids out of school (18 million in Southern Asia and 69 million globally). The Right to Education Act has ensured that free and compulsory education is available, but no systematic process of finding and enrolling out-of-school not been actively implemented, with no definite count of the number of migrant children denied education. Surveys have been focused on children already working/street children, whereas the need is to focus on children who are 6-7 years old so that they are enrolled into schools before they get drawn into employment. There have been no active steps to put in processes at schools for ensuring migrant children can transition smoothly to another school when they migrate. .

The ECC Project has the following Implementation Methodology, which is volunteer driven

1. Surveys: Volunteers conduct surveys of construction sites in partnership with NGOs
2.Preparatory camps: Through the medium of preparatory camps, awareness is spread amongst parents of children on the importance of schooling. After working with the children, the team realized that these kids are not aware about the concept of formal education, and are not used to sitting at one place for a few hours to study. Thus the focus in the preparatory camps is on interactive activities to get kids more accustomed to the environment.
3.Admission/ Enrollment: The children and parents are accompanied to a local public school and assisted with the enrolment process. Parents are made aware of the provisions of the RTE act.
4.Support and Follow-up: Arranging transport to school wherever needed, tracking attendance and addressing reasons for non-attendance

The ECC project is currently running in Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad, Fringe areas of Pune & Nasik. The project uses various types of data:

  • Unified DISE data on schools, which is comprehensive but lacks spatial aspect
  • Crowdsourced spatial data of public schools
  • Spatial data of construction sites – Both crowdsourced and taken from real estate portals & builders websites
  • Spatial mapping of volunteers in the field
  • Children at each construction sites, spotted by volunteers and NGO staff

Data sources: &

Currently the data is collected using a mobile app based on ODK (Open Data Kit) & KoboToolbox/ONA. The team is developing a Web based Platform for scaling the ECC Program pan-India and engaging NGOs and CSR groups in this cause. One of the key features of this Website is envisaged to be to engage volunteers actively with children to help motivate, enroll and track their continuity for larger impact.


Padmaja then talked about the way forward and the challenges they were facing w.r.t developing the ECC Platform as well as actually reaching all children in the project areas.

  • No formal source available for school locations, hence data is still partially incomplete and dependent on crowdsourcing of school locations.
  • Need a systematic way to predict locations of existing and future construction sites to find migrant labourers.Set up an ERP like system to record a child’s details, so they can be tracked after migration as well
  • Create a mobile friendly website for the Platform
  • Create more interactive maps and chart visualizations, showing schools, sites etc (heatmap or other suitable format) for providing an aggegation/ disaggregation of data on migrant children. This can help in advocacy efforts.
  • Explore ways to track migrated children Find ways to dynamically update the databases and see changes in map/chart visualizations after a volunteer makes an entry on the mobile survey form.

After the talk, everyone pooled in with their ideas and suggestions such as connecting with Trekking communities to pair up as volunteers to reach out to any schools/kids on the outskirts of the city, and collaborating with initiatives like Sagar Mitra (Recycling plastic). Few problems were taken up by individual attendees for further discussions, like finding ways to automate the data entry into excel which is done manually right now. Interested attendees were requested to volunteer and also reach out to their community to spread the word.

Village level Mapping


For the second talk, Jinda Sandbhor from Manthan Adhyayan Kendra spoke about village level mapping of tanker water supply in Maharashtra. With 14,708 drought affected villages in 2015 and 148 drought prone blocks, there is an immediate need for collecting data to analyze the reasons for drought and what can be done to better prepare for the future.

Most villages facing drinking water shortages due to lack of piped
water supply or lack of drinkable ground water. For such villages,
there is a tanker water supply from the Maharashtra government. The shortages are most severe just prior to and during the monsoon, some of these villages get return (North East) monsoons which reduces the demand of tankers by the end of the year. Jinda showed some aggregate data that has been collected that shows blockwise, the number of villages requesting the tanker supplies during
various months in the past few years.

There are multiple reasons for the demand of tankers:

  • Less rainfall & resulting drought is the main reason
  • Anthropogenic contamination of ground water
  • Dumping of mine water into the river


Jinda highlighted his efforts to collect village specific data in some districts on the reason for request of the tanker. He mentioned that there is need for a village-level base map for Maharashtra that can help visualize and analyze this issue.
The discussions after this talk were focused on GIS related topics, with everyone agreeing for the need for detailed village level maps. While there are village level maps available in PDF as well as as a Web Map Service by Bhuvan, these need to be converted into shapefiles so they can be used for further analysis. This will enable visualizing with great accuracy, not just drought related data but any number of socio-economic parameters of Maharashtra for analysis.

It was also recommended to connect with Prof. Ashwini Chhatre from Indian School of Business (ISB) who has been working on Millets & Irrigation data and would have more detailed maps of the state. Another suggestion was to use GIS to take Land Revenue maps and convert into public-domain data.

Tools for participation in city governance


The third talk was by Nikhil VJ who is the co-organizer of the Pune Datameet chapter and has been working on multiple data-centric projects. He also showed his work on cleaning and mapping Pune’s Budget sheet, which was originally available as a 600 page PDF and now has been converted to excel and cleaned up considerably. The Pune Municipal Corporation has now agreed to bring in some reform in its budget book format and Nikhil & CEE are working on possible ways to take such tasks forward. Nikhil also covered several tools and methods described below that are easy for anyone to pick up and can help solve some interesting data-related problems.
Some of the resources mentioned by Nikhil were:
The newly launched website — Participatory Urban Governance in Pune — Maps & Datasets of Pune posted online by Nikhil — Collecting & mapping of data with the power of crowdsourcing
Localizing Pune’s budget data by Nikhil & other volunteers:
Map form — An experimental method that Nikhil has craeted to collect location data using WordPress plugins — Using maps that are currently as an image to wrap on
an actual map

With this, the session was formally concluded.




Sikkim State Government passed an open data policy Sikkim Open Data Acquisition and Accessibility Policy in 2014. With pushing from the Chief Minister and Member of Parliament the Honorable Prem Das Rai they turned to open data to take control of the state’s data. The Honorable Mr PD Rai has repeatedly mentioned is the lack of access to government information on demand. It is not uncommon for lawmakers to ask questions only to have to wait a day or more for the answer and lose a moment to use that information for decision making.

An Open Data for Human Development Workshop was organized by the International Centre for Human Development of UNDP India, with the Centre for Internet and Society, AKVO, Mapbox and DataMeet co-facilitating the event in Bangalore last June. The aim was to bring together members of the Sikkim government, IT professionals, and open data enthusiasts.


In April before the workshop Sumandro (CIS) and I went to Sikkim to have a pre consultation with the Sikkim government on how to prepare for the large workshop in Bangalore. We met with the MP and the heads of the Rural Development, Health, and IT departments to discuss their plans to implement their open data policy. Then there was a large meeting with all the departments and the MP. We presented different things you can do when data is opened and offered suggestions for how to implement the policy. 20150416_123613The departments took turns discussing their issues regarding implementation; concerns like server space, technology needs, how to create incentives to accurate and timely data uploading were shared.

We presented things for them to think about in a preparation for the June event and for how to work with the open data community in India.

In June the workshop was held as NIAS. Thej gave a session on data tools that can be used to assemble, clean, analyze, publish and visualize data. Some of the tools that he introduced and used during the workshop are

  • Tabula Its difficult to extract data from PDFs. But Tabula allows you to extract that data into a CSV or Microsoft Excel spreadsheet using a simple, easy-to-use interface. Tabula works on Mac, Windows and Linux.
  • Open Refine – is a powerful tool for working with messy data: cleaning it; transforming it from one format into another; extending it with web services; and linking it to databases like Freebase.
  • DataWrapper allows you to create powerful charts very easily.
  • CartoDB is the Easiest Way to Map and Analyze Your Location Data

“Overall interaction was great. Delegates from Sikkim were very interested in DataMeet community and work we do as community. Some part of the workshop was used to introduce the community aspect of Data.”

You can see the full notes of the event at Centre for Internet and Society’s blog.

We are looking forward to see Sikkim be the first state to implement an open data portal using the Data.Gov.In platform.

To Hack or Not to Hack….

Hackathons are a source of confusion and frustration for us. DataMeet actively does not do them unless there is a very specific outcome the community wants like freeing a whole dataset or introducing open data to a new audience. We feel that they cause burn out, are not productive, and in general don’t help create a healthy community of civic tech and open data enthusiasts.

That is not to say we feel others shouldn’t do them, they are very good opportunities to spark discussion and introduce new audiences to problems in the social sector. DataKind and RHOK and numerous others host hackathons or variations of them regularly to stir the pot, bring new people into civic tech and they can be successful starts to long term connections and experiments. A lot of people in the DataMeet community participate and enjoy hackathons.

However, with great data access comes great responsibility. We always want to make sure that even if no output is achieved when a dataset is opened at least no harm should be done.

Last October an open data hackathon, Urban Hack, run by Hacker Earth, NASSCOM, XEROX, IBM and World Resource Institute India wanted to bring out open data and spark innovation in the transport and crime space by making datasets from Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and the Bangalore City Police available to work with. A DataMeet member (Srinivas Kodali) was participating, he is a huge transport data enthusiast and wanted to take a look at what is being made available.

In the morning shortly after it started I received a call from him that there is a dataset that was made available that seems to be violating privacy and data security. We contacted the organizers and they took it down, later we realized it was quite a sensitive dataset and a few hundred people had already downloaded it. We were also distressed that they had not clarified ownership of data, license of data, and had linked to sources like Open Bangalore  without specifying licensing, which violated the license.

The organizers were quite noted and had been involved with hackathons before so it was a little distressing to see these mistakes being made. We were concerned that the government partners (who had not participated in these types of events before) were also being exposed to poor practices. As smart cities initiatives take over the Indian urban space, we began to realize that this is a mistake that shouldn’t happen again.

Along with Centre for Internet and Society and Random Hacks of Kindness we sent the organizers, Bangalore City Police and BMTC a letter about the breach in protocol. We wanted to make sure everyone was aware of the issues and that measures were taken to not repeat these mistakes.

You can see the letter here:

We are very proud of the DataMeet community and Srinivas for bringing this violation to the attention of the organizers. As people who participate in hackathons and other data events it is imperative that privacy and security are kept in mind at all times. In a space like India where a lot of these concepts are new to institutions, like the Government, it is essential that we are always using opportunities not only to showcase the power of open data but also good practices for protecting privacy and ensuring security.

Investing in Data: Pre Budget Consultation with the Finance Minister

Last Thursday DataMeet was lucky to be invited to a Pre Budget Consultation with the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. We were invited to attend with the IT sector group and give some suggestions on how the next budget could invest in open data.

After some consulting with the various city chapter organizers we came up with some recommendations that could appeal to this audience.  We decided to emphasize that government data is a financial asset that needed to be invested in, in order for it to reach its optimal economic impact.  A stance the US government made in it’s open data policy.

You can read the note we submitted here:

The meeting was Thursday morning in Delhi at the Finance Ministry offices, Sumandro came to represent CIS and I attended to represent DataMeet.

The Finance Minister was there along with the Secretaries;
Shri R.N. Watal, Finance Secretary, Shri Shaktikanta Das, Secretary, DEA, Dr. Hasmukh Adhia, Revenue Secretary, Ms Anjuli Chib Duggal, Secretary, Financial Services and Dr. Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser (CEA).

It was a round table and the participants were organized by software and hardware, and we presented in the order we were seated.

  1. Shri Ramadas Kamath, Infosys,
  2. Shri P.V.Srinivasan, WIPRO,
  3. Shri Anil Chanana, CFO, HCL,
  4. Shri Pauroos D Karkaria,TCS,
  5. Shri R. Chandrashekhar, Chief Economist, NASSCOM,
  6. Ms Nisha Tompson, Founder, Datameet,
  7. Shri Vinod Sharma, Chairman, Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council,
  8. Shri Nitin Kunkolienker, Vice President, Manufactures Association for Information Technology (IT),
  9. Shri Rajoo Goel, ELCINA Electronic Industries Association of India,
  10. Shri Hari Om Rai, Co-Chairman Task Force on Mobile Phone Manufacturing,
  11. Shri Suraj Saharan Ajit Pai, COO,Delhivery,
  12. Shri Sumandro, the Centre for Internet & Society and
  13. Shri Vikas Jain, Member, Task Force on Mobile Phone Manufacturing

While most of the suggestions were related to tax breaks, subsidies, and trade issues, I was able to introduce the idea that the Government of India’s data is an economic asset that can help create markets, increase innovation, and allow for more accountability in scheme implementation. In order for the data to do these things it has to be opened up and that means the government must invest in the NDSAP policy and focus on data standardization, cleanup,  and collection. Also policies need to be reviewed and revamped in order to keep up with demand and use of data. Like the mapping policy should allow for more contributions from private sources and crowdsourcing so the Survey of India can keep up with demand for geospatial information. The Copyright Act also needs a clarification on the status of data and the Ministries must be willing to release data under open licenses.

In all the meeting was short, with the main focus being toward how to encourage manufacturing sectors because of the Make in India initiative. I was happy to be there and mention ideas and concepts that were not being discussed in rooms like that one and to also offer a perspective on open data.

We hope to keep in touch with the Ministry and continue to take advantage of any opportunity to share our experiences and views on how an investment in data can be a huge economic asset to India.

You can see the Government’s Press Release here.