Open Government and Open Mapping | World Bank Institute (WBI)

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Open Government and Open Mapping

Data is fuel and good data is rocket fuel. This is the core of the World Bank’s Open Data Initiative. By making more than 2000 indicators freely available on issues including infant mortality, GDP growth rates, and CO2 emissions, we motivate others to build applications based on our curated data sets and reach people we cannot reach ourselves. Building on this Initiative, the World Bank launched Mapping for Results to visualize World Bank-financed projects to better monitor development impact, improve aid effectiveness and coordination, and enhance transparency and social accountability. With the entire Bank portfolio geo-coded, we are now launching the Open Aid Partnership to enhance transparency, coordination and effectiveness of aid worldwide.

Open Data

The World Bank launched its Open Data Initiative in April 2010 – it aims to democratize access to the World Bank’s data, research and knowledge, and to make open the financial, operational and evaluation details of what it does and where it does it. It seeks to promote open data, open knowledge, and open solutions for development. Datasets are freely available in re-usable formats and under unrestrictive licenses through the open data website. Researchers, application developers, and development practitioners now have access to the underlying raw data to carry out analysis, develop applications, and mash-up World Bank data sets with other externally available data.

Mapping for Results

As part of the World Bank’s new Policy on Access to Information and building on the success of the Open Data initiative, the World Bank launched the interactive Mapping for Results (M4R) platform in October 2010 in partnership with AidData. Mapping for Results visualizes the locations of World Bank financed projects to better monitor development impact, improve aid effectiveness and coordination, and enhance transparency and social accountability. In combination with the sub-national socio-economic indicators such as poverty, health, malnutrition, and population density, it helps to better target development assistance.

For the 2011 World Bank Annual Meetings, the World Bank released maps of project locations at the sub-national level for all International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA) countries. It has geo-coded and mapped more than 30,000 geographic locations for more than 2,500 Bank-financed projects. For select countries, the Mapping for Results platform provides not only geographic information at the sub-national level, but also allows users to overlay disaggregated poverty, population density, and human development data. Population density is available for 107 countries, human development data, such as infant mortality, maternal health, and malnutrition data are available for 43 countries, and poverty data for 31 countries.

In addition, the local project data—that is, the specific locations where World Bank-financed activities are operating—has been made available to the public through the user interface of the Open Data Inititaive.

Open Aid Partnership
Transparency of public budgets, service delivery, and development assistance is critical for citizen engagement. Connecting citizens to public service providers and establishing a feedback loop between citizens and governments concerning effectiveness of aid programs and the quality of public services requires improved access to information and open data on project locations.

Recognizing the significant impact that the combination of innovative technologies, open data and an empowered civil society can have on improving development effectiveness, the World Bank Institute and partners will launch the Open Aid Partnership, which aims to:

(i) enhance aid transparency by making aid information about development partner’s activities accessible at the local level;
(ii) foster accountability by empowering citizens and other stakeholders to provide direct feedback on project results;
(iii) improve aid coordination by developing and Open Aid Map that visualizes the geographic location of donor-financed projects at the sub-national level.

Implementing ICT innovations that are based on open local data promises to empower citizens to communicate effectively with public service providers and can become a catalyst for a fundamental transformation of the relationship between government, civil society and development partners. Therefore, each of these actors has an opportunity to develop new ways of collaborating to achieve more open, inclusive, accountable and responsive development.