WHAT IS HDX
The Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) is an open data sharing platform managed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) through their Centre for Humanitarian Data. Launched in 2014, HDX now hosts more than 11,000 datasets shared by over 250 humanitarian organisations.
510 is both using and sharing datasets on this platform. Recently, we received a thank you: our datasets are among the most downloaded! We reached out to Javier Teran, head of the HDX Data Partnerships Team, to see what makes our collaboration valuable, and how we can keep it up.
WHO IS IT FOR
The publicly available datasets on HDX are most useful to organisations working in humanitarian response. Javier characterises HDX as “the place to go when humanitarians are looking for data”.
WHY IS IT NEEDED
Javier explains the important role of data in humanitarian work: “Every time there is a disaster or humanitarian crisis, responders need accurate, accessible and up to date data to plan their response. Therefore, data plays not only an important and unique role but a strategic one in support of humanitarian action”. Having an open platform for data sharing helps organisations “act fast and effectively in the face of a humanitarian crisis”.
The effectiveness of HDX as a data ecosystem comes from the ease in searching and downloading the datasets. In addition, the multiple data visualizations available facilitate the understanding of data, Javier adds.
Ultimately, access to data improves humanitarian response and thus helps save lives.
HOW WE CONTRIBUTE
510 joined HDX in 2016, after Hurricane Matthew, which affected Haiti, the Bahamas and part of the US. We then shared a map including windspeed and rainfall data to assess impact.
In Javier’s words: “510 shared a very important dataset that helped with the immediate prioritization of the humanitarian response in Haiti. Since that day, 510 has been sharing data with prioritization maps about crises in the world, from floods in Southern Malawi to Typhoon damage in the Philippines”.
From the first time 510 shared data on HDX, the number of downloads increased, showing our priority maps are well received by users. “510’s field experience combined with the strong data and analytics expertise positions it in a unique place with benefits to our global community”, Javier says.
WHEN & WHERE WE WORK
We started sharing our datasets on HDX in October 2016.
The datasets we have made public on HDX concern disasters in locations such as Malawi, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Kenya.
You can find all the datasets here.
Javier’s call to action is: “Share more datasets! And spread the word about the benefits of sharing data”. Even if the number of datasets has increased, there are still gaps in, for example, damage and destroyed buildings, affected schools and transportation status.
Written by Catalina Barzescu