Category Archives: Data Workshops



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.

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.



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.



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

Scraping tools
Scraper wiki

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


Then showed some more tools to address the suggestions from the exercise.
Fusion Tables

Feedback session

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.

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.