THE Open Data portal launched on Friday 8th June by the Department of Public Service, Division of Public Sector Modernisation, provides a mechanism and an opportunity for the data generated by sections of the government to be accessible to regular citizens for their own analysis. Although the work to establish this data portal started a few years ago, its launch is nonetheless a welcome step which signals the success of a project, and finally makes available some data for our own use! Well done to the respective project teams.
Something commonly observed in ICT circles, is that as much network bandwidth as you can supply to the users, the more they will find increasingly creative ways to consume it all. The low-resolution videos and images that they currently consume would be replaced overnight by bandwidth-hungry high-definition media. When analysing data, a related phenomenon is observed with the quality and extent of the analysis performed being related to the number of eyeballs focussing on the problem. The challenge therefore, is to gain access to extensive levels of analysis, even though you do not possess such resources to do so yourself. That is why the launch of the open data portal is noteworthy and exciting news. Now, we can finally examine for ourselves, the existence of correlations between available data such as road accident statistics, the time of the year, and so on. Maybe a link can be found, maybe not. The more data provided, the greater the chance of doing some useful data mining. The work involved in uploading machine readable data to portal will also provide the various government departments with the benefit of wider analysis from interested citizens.
The usefulness of such a platform is strongly related to its use. The more we all use it, the more we should expect of it. It is time that we examine for ourselves the figures captured in our name, and even provide some level of analysis in analysing and interpreting the data provided. It is time to start some number crunching.
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About the Author
Dr. Lyndell St. Ville is an ICT Consultant based in Saint Lucia. His expertise includes systems analysis, design, and capacity building.