OpenData LATAM

Status of Open Data in Latin America – Part 2

As we already anticipated last week, we wanted to take a look at the status of Open Data in Latin America, a constantly changing sector, which continues to advance, eventhough in a very uneven way.

In the first part of the article we point out the importance of creating portals as valuable initiatives within open government policies and review the situation in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and El Salvador.

In this second ne we will do the same with other countries in the region, also following an alphabetical order and completing the list of countries selected as more representative in this area.

Guatemala

In relation to the data sets available by policy and content field, according to the OCDE study on Public Governance “Open Government in Latin America” (2015), in Guatemala we only find data on most of the Themes in individual portals. From economic and commercial to geographic information, social information on tourist and recreational activities, forestry and fish, natural resources, scientific information or research data and information and educational content.

On the other hand, we find that data on the legal system, environmental and meteorological information, traffic and transportation, public order and information on security, defense, culture and political content are not available in any portal.

Mexico

According to the report of the third edition of the Open Data Barometer (June 2016), as we pointed out in the first part of the article, Mexico leads the ranking of the most advanced countries in data entry in the region, along with Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia.

Specifically, it highlights its strength in carrying out comprehensive approaches, involving technicians and social actors to achieve successful implementations in the areas of health, education or innovation, among many other examples.

In terms of the topics addressed, the OECD surveys identify groups of economic and commercial information data, social information only on individual portals.

There are important deficiencies in geographic information, information on the legal system, environmental and meteorological information, transit and transport, tourism and recreational activities, natural resources, scientific information and data research, education, politics, culture, public order and information security.

According to this same paper, the Mexican open data portal has basic functions such as searching or sorting data sets, in addition to others designed to encourage feedback, geospatial and blogs on best practices. However, it lacks different language or accessibility options.

Peru

Only the government portals of Mexico and Peru have a federal and metropolitan administrative structure, respectively. The only Open Data portals in Latin America that fulfill this characteristic.

On the other hand, a deficient number of datasets is highlighted in the open portal catalog. The conclusions of the study entitled “Open Data Latin American portals: new access tools and reuse of government information” (2014) by Silvia Cobo Serrano, a researcher at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, which we mentioned in the previous article.

The work of the OECD identifies in Peru many topics that lack data available in any portal, according to the survey carried out in this regard, including economic and commercial information, geographical, legal, environmental and meteorological, social, natural resources , Educational content or, for example, about public order.

Uruguay

The work of the OECD also analyzes the situation of portals in Uruguay to conclude that we find data available in centralized and individual portals in topics such as economic and commercial information, information on the legal system, social information, transit and transport.

Likewise, we do not find data available on any portal relating to natural resources, public order and information security, defense and political information. We will find data related to information and educational or cultural content only on individual portals.

The functions and characteristics of the centralized portal of Uruguay are improvable, but they have positive aspects. Unlike Mexico and other countries like Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Costa Rica, analyzed in the first part of the article, Uruguay does not include functions that promote proactivity with the users, although it has different language options for the content.

According to the analysis of the last regional report of the Open Data Barometer, Uruguay case is another of the most outstanding ones because it is in an increasing progress, with interesting intersectoral initiatives of open data implemented by AGESIC, the public digital government agency. However, despite its progress in the development of open data policies, and successes such as the platform A tu servicio, carried out with the support of the Ministry of Health, the country must make efforts to bring these to “social and Economic results”.

Dominican Republic

In its first two action plans as a member of the Alliance for Open Government, which is currently being implemented, the Dominican Republic is committed to carry out commitments related to different areas of public administration. Among them, the opening of information, the use of ICTs for a more efficient government, the strengthening of transparency and citizen participation.

In this context, the creation of the open government portal is configured as a space of exchange between government and civil society both to promote their participation and governmental transparency as well as to use datasets in reusable format. Under a definition of openness based on availability and access, reuse, redistribution and universal participation.

It is, a website that unifies the information handled by the public sector (more than 25 public institutions), organized in different themes, such as health, economy, education, social, environmental or commercial, among others.

Other countries and some notes on the rest of portals about Open Data in Latin America

latam

In addition to these countries, one could also mention Bolivia, Costa Rica, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico and Venezuela among countries with Open Data portals in Latin America, always open to the service of society to promote transparency And the development of new applications.

Given the geographical extension of Latin America, it is difficult to make a detailed review of each and every Latin American country. Obvious reasons of space prevent us from this, but we can say that the countries in which we have stopped have the most significant open national data portals in LATAM, according to the study Cobo Serrano.

Complementing what is stated in this regard, besides detecting a low number of datasets in the catalogs of government portals in ten representative countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay), It is pointed out that access to them and their description is dissimilar.

Regardless of this circumstance, it is pointed out that access to information in all catalogs is done through a simple search, introducing terms in natural language that can be combined with the selection of other search filters.

Filters also vary depending on portals, but usually do so by entity, thematic categories, formats, tags, group sets, licenses and resources. It is also mentioned is of the typological and numerical variation of the descriptive fields in the catalogs.

In conclusion, the paper recommends reducing the disparity in the volume of datasets in the catalogs of the Open Data portals in Latin America to find a balance and greater uniformity. Finally, the importance of reinforcing the usual imprecision of simple searches with the use of filters, as well as the convenience of their constant updating is mentioned.

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