Prototyping a new data collaboration platform for sustainable development

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Guest contributors Julia Duncan and Nic Covey write a blog post on how to present data to researchers and practitioners in a productive, centralized way.

On September 25th, on the margins of the UN Sustainable Development Summit, our organizations (The Demand Institute and The U.S. State Department’s Office of Global Food Security), along with the UN Foundation, Salesforce.org and Accenture, unveiled a new open data platform we’re developing to facilitate collaboration around sustainable development data, beginning with data related to goal number two: Zero Hunger.

Project 8

Project 8, the working name of this effort (for the 8 billion people on our planet by 2025), is a free, cloud-based collaboration platform where researchers and practitioners can share, discover, analyze and discuss open data on human needs, beginning with food and agriculture data.

Think: professional social network meets data storage and visualization platform. 

The prototype includes millions of rows of data from collaborating organizations such as The World Food Program (WFP), The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Our platform allows users to visualize, analyze and discuss those data across organizations.

Testing the platform

Right now we’re on-boarding beta users from across sectors to test the Project 8 platform.  We’re encouraging beta users to upload additional data, to share things they discover with other users and to recommend and engage with additional beta invitees.

As these beta users make use of Project 8 in their day-to-day work, we are asking for their feedback.  With that feedback and investment from additional collaborators, we hope to make improvements to the platform and release it to more users in the food and nutrition space.

We will ultimately expand use of the platform to incorporate other categories of sustainable development such as clean water and energy.

As advocates for the data revolution and open data, we’re grateful for the work of GODAN and the commitments made by so many partners.  We hope that through Project 8 we’ll support and amplify GODAN’s work by providing a tool where data, once open, can be shared, discovered, analyzed and discussed in ways that ultimately help organizations better plan for a future where poverty and hunger are eradicated.

For more information on the project or to request a beta invitation please visit www.demandinstitute.org/project8

Julia Duncan (@StateDepGFS) is a Foreign Affairs Officer in the Secretary’s Office of Global Food Security at the U.S. Department of State

 Nic Covey (@NicCovey) leads the United Nations Relationship at Nielsen and The Demand Institute and is the Executive Director of Project 8.

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