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31 Mar 2015

DevCa 2015 and the Caribbean Open Data Community (Part Two)

Mariana Leytón

devca2015 open data day

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In a previous article, we spoke about how the open data movement is part of the changing relationship between governments and their citizens and told you about the first event of Developing the Caribbean 2015. This time, we want to share the other events that took place in the last few weeks as part of #DevCa2015. The first was was held in Jamaica as part of the global Open Data Day. The others were held simultaneously in four different places: Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Cuba and Dominica.

Open Data Day in Jamaica

The conference and code sprint were held at Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM) and was carried out by students at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies. Dr. Maurice McNaughton, Director of MSBM’s Centre of Excellence for IT-enabled Innovation, led a workshop exposing students to data extraction and visualization tools and techniques, including Tableau, Open Spending, and other online resources available at the School of Data. Three teams then split up and worked on three different visualization challenges.

The first team worked on data found on Development Alert!, an online tool for increasing transparency and public engagement on projects that impact the environmental and public health. The second team used Tableau to display 2014/15 GOJ Budget data from the Ministry of Finance, a topic that is being deeply scrutinized across the island. The final team worked on visualizing high school Track & Field data using data on athlete performances from boys and girls championships in 2014. Considering the enthusiasm shared in the country for this sport, the dashboard built has been published and shared with the Track & Field fraternity and can be accessed here.

DevCa2015 in March: four islands, one livestream and a lot more data

devca2015 open data dayAs explained by the folks of DevCa: “Developing the Caribbean is more than just an event, it is a celebration of regional collaboration and innovation.” So, in March, one more celebration was held simultaneously in four places. Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Cuba and Dominica all held their own conferences and workshops on open data. The event also marked the launch of the Open Data Census for the region(Remember the Open Data Index we mentioned a few months back? Caribbean countries were barely represented then, but as you can see, civil society has been continuously updating these databases now.)

Jamaica held the event at the MSBM at University of the West Indies and livestreamed it so more people could join in. A keynote presentation was given by Joel Gurin, President and Founder of the Center for Open Data Enterprise, Author of “Open Data Now“, and director of the Open Data 500, a project to study companies that use government Open Data as a key business resource.

In Cuba, the event took place at a computer science university, Universidad de las Ciencias Informáticas, where three teams were recognized after their effort at a Code Sprint. One of the communities that worked at the event was HumanosOS, which promotes and facilitates the use of open and free software in Cuba.

For more information about the events and organizers, check out their website, where you can also browse, rate, comment and submit challenges for the community to tackle. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.


Read Part One of this story here.


Images by MSBM

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