A year after releasing maps demarcating the boundaries of all local bodies in the State, Open Data Kerala, a collective of organisations and individuals working towards making all data on Kerala and Malayalam open source, has now come out with more elaborate and downloadable maps of local bodies with nearly 10 different data sets.
A wide array of data from ponds to farmlands, petrol pumps to ATMs and educational institutions to emergency services within a local body limit can be downloaded with their locations in a single click from the portal map.opendatakerala.org . Data is categorised under amenities, education, emergency, nature, political, public transport, recreation, religion and tourism.
While these data are already available on Google Maps, they cannot be downloaded, making this open data map all the more useful.
“What we have released is an alpha version of the map. Public can correct the wrong data or fill in the missing data by going to openstreetmap.org and it will get automatically uploaded in the portal. This open source data will come in handy in view of the recurring natural disasters and health emergencies like the pandemic,” said Manoj Karingamadathil, programme coordinator.
The map is the fruit of about a decade of efforts by public-spirited individuals under the Open Street Map initiative to make such data easily accessible in the public domain. The realisation that the enormous data with the government is not easily accessible to the public led to the initiative.
“From administration and data visualisations to research, the uses of these open source maps are limitless. We are planning to add even more data sets downloadable on multiple formats,” said Arjun Ganghadharan, an active volunteer of Open Data Kerala.
The maps released by Open Data Kerala last year were used by the government for fighting COVID-19 and Nipah and by media houses for data visualisation during the local body and Assembly polls.
“GIS-based mapping at considerable investments is either inaccessible to the public or rendered useless without periodic updates,” said Naveen Francis, an open data activist.