Two years have passed since the World Bank’s information and communications technologies (ICT) team conducted the world’s first Open Data Readiness Assessment in the Ulyanovsk region (Russia). Shortly after this assessment was completed and an action plan produced, Ulyanovsk launched its Open Data portal which was widely acknowledged by both Russia’s federal government and a range of international experts. Following this successful pilot, the World Bank has conducted Open Data Readiness Assessments in Rwanda, Tanzania, Antigua and Barbuda, Burkina Faso, Peru and Ethiopia.
We are proud to have worked together on an Open Data Initiative, which experiences and lessons learned have informed ongoing work in so many other countries. Highlights of our project in Ulyanovsk include two main results:
First, the creation of an entire Open Data ecosystem, anchored by an Open Data portal: http://opendata.ulgov.ru. There are currently 400 data sets (available in CSV, XML, JSON, HTML, XLSX and XSD formats) for viewing and downloading. All data complies with Russian laws and international standards.
The project demonstrates a high level of engagement: citizens, journalists, experts and investors looked through the data files more than 313,944 times and downloaded them more than 64,156 times. The Open Data Portal has helped a variety of clients and stakeholders to make more informative decisions in a shorter amount of time, therefore saving financial and other resources. Four mobile apps and a GIS portal, based on Open Data, together form the finished project.
Second, since the launch of the Open Data ecosystem, the Ulyanovsk region has maintained sustainable leadership in this field. The global IT community, media and citizens were all involved in the development of this initiative. A series of workshops and an international webinar were organized to share best practices and gather useful feedback. Local developers from Ulyanovsk won the national Open Data Hackathon with an app titled “Guide to cultural places of Ulyanovsk."
The experience we have had during the development of the Open Data Initiative has been recognized around the world, leading to economic development opportunities including the opening of a WeGo office in Ulyanovsk. Leaders and experts from Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development, Russia’s Analytical Center and the World Bank have also applauded our accomplishments.
The Ulyanovsk government has obtained some very useful information while promoting the Open Data Initiative, which is worth sharing with the global community in order to help other countries get greater benefits from their Open Data projects.
Our Open Data experience shows that, with the World Bank’s help and buy-in from developers, officials and the wider community, an initiative can come to fruition fairly fast and great results in the field of Open Data can be achieved. The Ulyanovsk Open Data Initiative has set the stage for effective sustainable development in the region.