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by Paul Scott
With the passing of the FIFA Soccer World Cup in 2010, Africa, especially South Africa, now has much better infrastructure availble for Open data access. Utilising African projects such as Chisimba, which allows for easy API creation, the time is now ripe to create semantically connected data stores for government, education and business.
Chisimba is a modular framework, which uses and allows for users to create applications rapidly. Using HTML5, RDBM’s and NOSQL datastores are all already built into the framework and are available for even the most inexperienced developers to create application around them. Important data such as the Wolrd Bank API as well as many other open API’s have modules developed around them and are available for data mashups.
South Africa has had an open source policy for a number of years already, and government is well aware of the benefits of using and contributing to Free Software, so the opening up of data API’s is the next logical step.
Using examples from other countries (like the US and European countries) Africa has a distinct advantage in navigating around an potential pitfalls.
There is already a number of projects around opening up of Government data, but no unifying API to speak of. Chisimba and the AVOIR network of Free Software developers, implementors and documenters as well as our international mentored internship programme could be used to enhance these initiatives.
In this presentation, I would like to outline a project that is focusing on creating semantic, open and public data stores of all the heritage and museum collections in the country. We are developing this system in conjunction with the National Heritage organization and it will be live by year end. The code will be available under a GPL license and is envisioned to be spread throughout Africa in order to unify heritage management and resource management on the continent.
25th–29th July 2011