Workshop on Visualising Open Data to highlight Global Issues

October 24, 2013

Open Steps is an initiative by two young berliners Alex Corbi and Margo Thierry, who decided to leave their daily lives and travel around the world for one year. On this journey, they are meeting people and organisations working actively in open knowledge related projects, documenting them on their website and researching the current situation of open data in the countries they visit. Along the way, they run a workshop entitled “Visualising Open Data to bring out global issues”.

After visits to Mumbai and Baroda, they will now be coming to Chennai, where they are partnering with Transparent Chennai to offer the workshop. This workshop will be of interest to those interested in open source technologies and the philosophy behind open knowledge, searching for data sources for research, working with visualisations, developing a conscious approach to global topics or have a general interest in open data.

Visualising Open Data to bring out global issues
Date: October 26, 2013, 3-5 pm
Venue: IFMR, 24, Kothari Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai – 600034
Mobile: 9176643539

 There is no registration fee and the workshop is open to all. Please send an email or SMS confirming your participation to Vinaya Padmanabhan so that we can make the necessary arrangements. We look forward to seeing many of you there!


Thanks to the large amounts of open data being released for free on the Internet, we can take a quick glimpse at current issues characterizing our world. Although, this complex data is sometimes difficult to be understood in its initial form. By going from theory to practice, we will show where data can be quickly gathered from, and by using open source technologies, put it in a visual context to make relevant issues easy to understand. In addition, attendees will be encouraged to discuss topics involving each of us. The goal of this workshop is also to increase awareness of the importance and benefits of making information available for everybody and how sharing knowledge is one of the steps towards making our planet better. Discussions will include:

  1. Introduction to Open Knowledge and Open Data
    1. What are open knowledge and open data? Why do they matter?
    2. Examples of administrations and organisations releasing information to the public domain.
    3. Transparency in politics as a way to achieve real democracy.
  2. There is so much data out there, and its free!
    1. Online sources where you can get open data.
    2. World Bank as major data hub.
  3. Why visualization matters
    1. Understanding complex problems by looking at simple graphs.
    2. Examples of data visualizations we have developed describing worldwide issues in the fields of Politics, Environment, Education and Social development.
  4. Practical session
    1. How to build a data visualization in 5 minutes using free online tools.
    2. Technical questions related to the tools used.
  5. Open debate

Which data would I like to visualize? Attendees have the opportunity to propose topics and relevant data they would consider interesting to explore. Everyone will be also encouraged to publish their own data visualizations on our platform.