ITA honors Big Open Data Idea winners
Earlier this year, in June 2013, the Information Technology Authority (ITA) launched the Oman Open Data Initiative in an effort to work collaboratively with government organizations moving towards an Open Government by ensuring transparency, enhancing public trust and participation, and improving the effectiveness of the governance process. The initiative encourages every government organization to open its data archives to the public to create a more transparent, participatory and collaborative government. During the launching of the initiative, the ITA also announced the Big Open Data Idea encouraging the public to compete on having the best idea using open data.
The winners of the Big Open Data Idea competition were announced yesterday in an event held at ITA headquarters in KOM. The event was attended by Mr. Yaqoob Al Balushi, Deputy CEO for Infrastructure & eServices, select jury members and ITA staff to honor the top five winners of the competition. From the 54 submitted ideas, projects were filtered and evaluated by a jury comprised of specialists in open data from ITA and other entities.
Winners & their projects
The winning projects took different shapes including mobile Apps, services and tools; each of them providing a great benefit for the public use. Said Al Buali won a prize for his project ’Know your drugs‘, which is a Mobile app targeting all citizens and pharmacies. The app enables pharmacies and citizens to know the cost of any medication and all the usage details and directions, besides classification according to segment or medication category. Commenting on his project Said Al Buali said: “The information about drugs is available online and in the Ministry of Health database, however; to ease the search for public, a mobile app can be very useful. We can further develop the app by having the contact details of some doctors.”
Another winner is Krishnapriya Nikhil and her Mobile App project ’Travel Free-Oman‘ is designed with tourists and nationals in mind to help them find the services they are looking for in the Sultanate. ’Oman’s History‘, a project by Salwa Sulaiman Al Rawahi, is a mobile application that includes database of all of Oman’s historical details and information, as well as some online books and references about Oman's history along with places and locations.
Mazin Isa Al Sadi also won in the competition for his project, ’Oman’s Analytical Map‘, which is based on the latest census for 2010. The map will include all details and information about buildings in Oman, names of commercial shops and centers, roads names and numbers, etc., in addition to all information needed for a navigation system. ‘Charities & Associations’ is another open data idea that provides geo location for all Omani charities’ & associations’ branch locations, submitted by Talal Mohammed Saleem.
The jury had some recommendations for the competition team to improve the awareness of the Open Data Concept for the public. Sultan Al Wadahi, a jury member, commented on the competition, saying: “Open data is the new generation of eGovernment as it opens the doors for all stakeholders to utilize the open data and come up with new ideas and applications that serve different sectors. The competition is a good starting point and it can be developed more in the next versions. I think there is a need to raise the awareness amongst people and organizations of the importance of data sharing to effectively produce certain ideas to meet some needs.”