Open Data Companion (ODC) – Bringing Open Data to the Mobile Platform
As software developers, we are always looking for data to solve a problem or address a shortcoming.
It’s just how we’re wired. So, you heard of open data ,
and now you’re excited to go exploring and get the open data needed for the project.
That’s when you face the first major obstacle – open data (with the right use license) is so difficult to locate on the
Internet, you spend hours and hours searching before you find data with the right ‘open’ license you can use.
Luckily, in recent times, OKFN’s frictionless data project 
and ThinkData Works  are taking actions to help solve this problem.
As a data journalist, researcher or open data enthusiast, have you ever wished you could just whip-out your mobile
device and quickly get instant access to a specific open data? Or maybe you want to always be aware when new
datasets are available from a portal you’re interested in without having to manually poll or visit the portal
for regular checks?
Everyone now has a mobile device.
Popular consensus  and
reports  show that mobile device
usage and time spent on mobile devices are rapidly increasing. This means that mobile devices are now one of the fastest
and easiest means of accessing data and information. Yet, as of now, open data lacks a strong mobile presence.
[Image Source – Motorola Smartphone Relationship Survey]
To tackle the highlighted challenges, Open Data Companion was developed to bridge the gap between open data portals and the
What is Open Data Companion (ODC)?
ODC is a FREE Android productivity app which provides a unified access point and common repository to over 120
CKAN  open data portals and thousands of datasets from around the world;
right from your mobile device. Crafted with mobile-optimised features and design,
this is an easy and convenient way to find, access and share open data.
Open Data Companion provides a framework for all Private Sector, State, Regional, National and Worldwide CKAN open
data portals to deliver open data to all mobile users.
- ODC is built on a distributed system of CKAN portals. This means the app (or its server) does not cache or
store harvested datasets. Rather the app uses the powerful
CKAN API  to retrieve live/current datasets from any
active CKAN portal on the Internet. Users are free to setup access to as many data portals as they want.
- Browse datasets from any accessed portal using categorisation / classification (i.e. organisations and groups)
as provided by the portal. This category based navigation along with mobile gestures allow users to more quickly
- Receive push notifications on your mobile device whenever new datasets become available from any portal of your choosing.
This helps to keep track of new uploads on any portal without having to poll it manually for changes.
- Preview datasets and create in-app data visualisations.
The app uses the installed data viewer extensions on CKAN portals to enable mobile users produce data visualisations.
This is a great feature for data journalist and data visualizers.
- Other key features – download datasets to your mobile device; bookmark datasets for later viewing;
share links to datasets on social media.
ODC complements and supplements the services of CKAN portals; it allows data producers and portal administrators to reach
mobile users at no added costs or without additional configurations.
Find out more about Open Data Companion (ODC) .
Use ODC and give feedback. More features are actively being developed.