UNOPS launches open data hub

Published by: Web Admin on the Friday, November 2nd, 2012 - Comments Off

Guest blog by the transparency team at UNOPS

This month UNOPS (United Nations Office for Project Services) has launched a new project information platform, data.unops.org, which contains more detailed information related to the 1,000 plus projects that UNOPS support in an interactive and accessible format.

UNOPS is a central resource for the United Nations and its partners, providing procurement, project management and infrastructure services. The upgraded platform has been enriched by a number of new data elements that have been added as part of UNOPS IATI publication.

UNOPS became an IATI signatory in September 2011 and managed to successfully publish a dataset covering over 1,000 activities to the Registry within a few weeks of joining. The speed of publication was applauded by a number of IATI stakeholders and while it is true that the migration of UNOPS data to the IATI format was quick, it was made possible by building on work already achieved by three key internal innovations related to transparency.

The underlying work began in 2009 as part of an organizational commitment to transparency and three areas were focused on that allowed UNOPS to publish so quickly:

1) A commitment to improving the structure, storage and quality of basic project data

2) A centralized and quickly accessible repository of project documentation

3) A solid integration of transparency-related IT tools into the organisation’s existing internal management systems

The speed of the initial data clean-up and the deployment of UNOPS original project information platform was made possible by a combination of points one and two.

The combination of all three made it possible for UNOPS to then quickly add geocoded information to the IATI dataset in what was a very rapid turnaround.

The new open data hub represents a significant upgrade of UNOPS original project data feed as it now includes information that has been added to UNOPS IATI data. This includes geocoded values, OECD-DAC sector codes and in a number of cases, project documents have been made available for download.

The hub is an alternate manifestation of UNOPS internal enterprise reporting system – with a radically different user interface or “skin” applied on top. These systems were conceived and designed with openness in mind from the outset. There is extensive use of JavaScript, JSON, RESTful web services and SQL (not T-SQL) throughout. Each of the tiers (data, middle and display) have been constructed to run on open source platforms and UNOPS hopes to release the source of the hub, alongside other projects, as open source offerings in the near future.

Get in touch with the team behind the platform to find out more: opendata@unops.org

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