Kenya Government opens data

The Kenyan government is launching a new Open data Portal that will make large government datasets available and easily searchable for the first time.

The new Government Open Data Portal will make available several large datasets in easy to search and view formats.

The government says the new web portal, to be launched this week, will allow citizens to search and display national and county level data in graphs and maps and allow for easy comparison and analysis between datasets.

For web and software developers, the portal will avail data in useable formats like cvs, Excel and will even include APIs for each dataset.

The Kenya ICT Board says the new portal will be one of the first and largest government data portals in sub-Saharan Africa.

It defines open data as information that is both available and easily searchable. “ Public information and searchable information are two different things.

Much public data is already available by law but it's often not usable because it is in a format that is not easy to find, use, and re-use,” says the Commission.

It notes that published PDF files do not constitute open data and are not helpful to large-scale users. To be open, data must be:
•       easily found through search engines (meta-tagged)
•       available in machine readable formats (CSV, XML, APIs not PDF)
•       accessible by third party tools/applications (interoperable)
•       allow others to use and re-use for non-commercial and commercial use (e.g Creative Commons Licences)

The statement adds that Open Data not only increases transparency and accountability, it promotes greater efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of public services by allowing users to easily consume and interpret data.

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