“The machines all around us — our smart phones, smart cars, and fee-happy bank accounts — are talking, and increasingly we’re being left out of the conversation.” – Michael Driscoll,Dataspora.
With this quote I begin this conversation dear readers.
I could quote a few more but I have to catch a matatu in time for TRACK DAY. Now I know you are looking for that explanation sentence.
WHERE THE HELL IS IT? Well here it is; It starts with open data. Open data simply translates to statistics like the total population from the government census to number of children born per month are made open for public access.
“Specifically, how do we go about opening data and what do we do with open data? The academic side of my brain came up with a simple answer for both questions: make people/organizations/governments put their data sets public and then we analyze the data. Duh!” -the water wonk. With this mixed explanation that is part mine part borrowed I can safely talk about AKVO.
AKVO is a non-profit software development organization based in Netherlands that gives Aid organizations internet and mobile tools(Apps or Applications) to help them reach some of the poorest people across the continent.
I eagerly walk into Nailab which is a room full of enthusiasts like me and lucky for me the event kicks off. BZZZ …sorry I buzz when excited. We are taken through speed dating where we get to meet each other for the first time. Exchange information like our names where we work and what we expect from the day.
Well you know what my expectations are already don’t you? Its a pretty smart way to get an event started if you ask my opinion. We then get to meet Mark Charmer. Quite a charmer and a very lively fellow. Despite my beef with him because i didn’t get the special card (Yes i know about the special card Mark).
Mark then proceeds to introduce his organization (AKVO) and tells us why they offer these applications and how each of them work. They have applications like akvorsr , akvoflow, akvopedia, akvoopenaid, these applications are open for use by organizations since they are also open source AKVO encourages developers to freely modify and make better applications based on theirs. The screens in the room are showing a live feed from Amsterdam where another track day is ongoing which I find quite intriguing.
There is a brief tea break where I have brief interesting conversations with a photographer and heck even a former college mate. There is a brief presentation (mostly on open data) By Both Pontus Westerberg who talks about open.unhabitat.org which publicly gives information about UN Habitat’s projects across the globe(this is the use of open data); It is however in BETA version and Siem Vaessen who works with Zimmerman & Zimmerman who jointly run akvoopenaid with AKVO and he explains more on applications that are making use of open data and the IATI standards whose XML he shows and explains in detail.
After lunch there are presentations form organizations benefiting from the applications developed by AKVO and there is a lengthy discussion where they share the benefits and challenges encountered. In my opinion these applications especially akvorsr are helping touch people lives across the world. The continued posting of reports or updates for ongoing projects on the AKVO website which is what the akvorsr does is just overwhelming. Be sure to check them out here www.akvo.org
In short TRACK DAY is an event to showcase apps by AKVO and have the organizations using these apps talk about how they have benefited from them. There is then a split where there are demo presentations of the applications.
I however join Mark Charmer as he gives a few of us tips on short video shooting. It is generally a very lively event, the people the hosts the food. What a track day don’t miss the next one.