Data skills in Jakarta: Lego, visualisations, and APIs!

September 24, 2014 in Community, Data Expeditions, Events

This week, School of Data was in Jakarta, Indonesia, for our first workshop facilitated with our School of Data fellow, Yuandra Ismiraldi, and Open Knowledge Ambassador, Ramda Yanurzha, together with local organisation Perludem, and a coalition of other CSOs in attendance.

We began with a jargon-busting exercise, and working out where the common problems were that people in the room were facing. Common themes were accessibility, actual availability of the data and data validity.

There were also common terms that people had heard, but weren’t so sure about – as always, lots of acronyms! API, CSV, RSS, to name a few. Here are some others:

Next, we talked about a topic that often gets missed out in open data discussions: data ethics. Here, we didn’t just mean how to make sure your data is correct and you’re reporting things accurately, but also in terms of what data you’re publishing and working with, what you’re asking from the government, and how you deal with sensitive topics.

This topic sparked lots of discussions among the group; from wondering what to do with data that is available about the families of parliamentarians, to the line between what is considered ‘public’ and what is considered to be ‘private’ data, and questioning the role that cultural context has to play in making these judgements.

Especially as lots of the groups present work with election data, the question of public-private data – ie. data on those elected to public office – is particularly pertinent, and it definitely sounded like there was a lot more to be explored.

Next, Ramda gave us a quick run through of where to find data, including the new Indonesian data portal (I was happy to discover it’s running on CKAN, too!) – Lots of the participants had expressed a desire to delve into data visualisations, and Perludem were kind enough to provide us with an incrediblye 3000 pieces of Lego, so we were excited to run our first ‘offline data visualisation’ session, with Lego!

Some of our favourite offline visualisations:

Visualising the room: the group here gathered data on participants, and visualised it, by gender, and then looking at more detailed ‘features’ – how many of us were wearing glasses (45%) – rings (21%) – watches (33%) – and batik shirts (21%).

Visualising World Bank development indicators on Indonesia: (personally, this is the coolest thing I’ve seen done with World Bank data, ever!) – different economic indicators are shown visualised between two different years (the red and the yellow) – and, it’s all shaped into the rough shape of Indonesia!

And, the loudest cheer went to the group who used paper as well as lego, to visualise commodity prices in Indonesia!

The next day was dedicated mainly to taking those offline visualisation skills online, using Datawrapper and Here, we saw the importance of cleaning the data, and of organising the data correctly in terms of rows and columns (the ‘transpose’ feature on Datawrapper was greatly appreciated!)

You can see a list of infographics and visualisations created by participants here, and we’ve embedded a couple of our favourites at the bottom of this post.

We also learned about APIs, and started planning for future plans of working with election data in Indonesia, in a great interactive session facilitated by Perludem.

Big thanks to our hosts Perludem, and the Asia Foundation for their financial support for the event. We hope to see you all very soon!

– which shows gender split between members of the regional legislative parliament.

Number of violations in the Presidential Elections:

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