Stats on the go

16 Feb 2016

The concept of open data, reflecting the idea that information should be made available in machine-readable format for further use and distribution without copyright restrictions, patents or other controls, is widespread throughout the world. Government initiatives such as Data.gov influenced the growth of interest in open data. In turn, these initiatives contribute to the improvement and acceleration of the economies of countries that have adopted the principles of open data. Thus, according to research institute ETLA, small and medium enterprises that have access to public data, in the year grew by 15% more than the businesses that could not obtain such data .
Open statistical data in machine-readable format hold a special place in the general category of open data, as they are of great interest to the public, including investors, journalists, activists, NGOs and especially for those who seek the openness and accessibility of public information. The National Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic, with UNFPA support, has already done significant work in the field of electronic data, namely, launched a new version of the official web site at www.stat.kg: it has uniform design style, simplified navigation, and easily retrievable statistics.
Unfortunately, users can not always go to the site due to lack of computer or Internet connection, while widely used statistical data may be needed here and now. In addition, data is often presented as a PDF or XLS document in state and official languages, which can be uncomfortable when reading and using data.
In such circumstances, the mobile application with the most frequently used statistical data will be very useful, data will be updated through NSC server in real time while the opportunity to select a convenient language saves users from having to download the documents and understand large data arrays.
To address this problem the UNDP in the Kyrgyz Republic in the face of the Poverty and Environment Initiative supported the initial stages of the creation and filling of data, including “green” growth indicators, into the official mobile app of the National Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic. The aim of this mobile application is fast and convenient representation of free information (statistics) on socio-economic and environmental situation of the Kyrgyz Republic within the last 5 years.
As a result of the coordinated teamwork of the NSC of the Kyrgyz Republic and UNDP in the Kyrgyz Republic, large volume of work has been done in a short time and includes not only the development of mobile applications for Android and iOS, but also:
•    completion of the NSC web-site management system, including the possibility to upload dynamic tables into the sections of statistics for use in a mobile application,
•    application programme interface (API), with which the mobile applications on smartphones interact,
•    Python script that performs crawling through the dynamic tables presented on the web-site and parsing the table (reading and analysis) in order to record data in the database and display them on mobile application.
The main achievement was the creation of a native mobile application for smartphones based on operating systems Android 2.3+ and iOS 8+, which allows you to view the statistical data in tables or charts. The application supports Kyrgyz, Russian and English languages, includes general information about Kyrgyzstan with a list of the main socio-economic indicators, as well as a block of information about the NSC.
It is important to note that a special button of the mobile application, Green growth indicators, enables you to view statistics on indicators of “green” growth, adopted by the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic of February 18, 2015. Collection, processing, storage and distribution of a large part of “green” growth indicators (47 out of 65) are performed by the National Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic. Thus, accessibility, timeliness and usability of such data would be a good base to make informed and timely decisions to promote sustainable economic growth and development.

We believe that the creation of mobile applications with statistical data will be one of the first steps towards the implementation of the concept of open data in Kyrgyzstan, and the National Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic will be a pioneer in implementing that concept in a form of a mobile application.
During one of the meeting of representatives of the UNDP in the Kyrgyz Republic and NSC of the Kyrgyz Republic, Orozbaeva Kanykey, Head of the Department of Statistics of sustainable development and the environment of the NSC of the Kyrgyz Republic, noted the following: “Every som invested in official statistics will turn into right public decision – I think that this is the correct formulation of the situation described by one of the officials on a workshop organized with support of UNDP in the fall of last year. People who use this mobile application will have constant access to statistical data and can see the real situation in the country, taking advantage of such a “pocket” guide, and take right managerial and public decisions on this basis.”
The NSC of the Kyrgyz Republic and UNDP in the Kyrgyz Republic are pleased to present you a mobile application that is available for download at the links below, and get comments on the application. The next version of the application is planned to include functionality that allows comparing various indicators in the form of graphs – the NSC of the Kyrgyz Republic and UNDP in the Kyrgyz Republic invites all interested sides to participate in the further improvement of mobile applications. So long!
 

Markel Toromyrza (Sustainable Development Programme Assistant) markel.toromyrza@undp.org  

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