Helicopter is an interactive open data platform. It provides access to programme data taken directly from Christian Aid’s internal programme management and finance systems. This is a prototype version which only includes data from our work funded by our DFID Programme Partnership Arrangement from 2011-2016. In the future, we plan to make data from all Christian Aid projects available.
We hope to learn from this prototype, so your views will be very helpful. Please let us know what you think by using the form here.
How accurate is the data?
As an open data platform with a live link to Christian Aid databases, Helicopter gives access to some of the information that Christian Aid uses to make decisions on a day to day basis.
In our systems, data is continually updated and improved, with the day to day use of the data now and again uncovering things that need to be tweaked. When using Helicopter, you may occasionally be looking at data that will subsequently change. This is different from some of our other published resources, which are only released once we have gone through multiple further levels of checking and reconciliation. For instance, our annual report and audited accounts document is compiled once a year and is published at the end of a long process of auditing. This is the nature of ‘live open data’ and we believe that there is a benefit to making this kind of information available alongside more polished resources.
Why ‘open data’?
Christian Aid publishes a lot of information based on our understanding of key audiences and what we think they are interested in knowing about (for example, stories of change from the communities with which we work). But we know that sometimes people have a specific interest and want to access information relevant to that interest (for example, the amount we are spending on projects relating to a specific theme in a specific region of the world).
Christian Aid’s Open Information Policy states that unless it meets certain ‘exclusion criteria’ (e.g. security, privacy etc.) our information should be accessible. Helicopter was created as a simple interface to enable internal and external users to access certain information held in Christian Aid systems without needing to request it. This means that you should be able to access more specific data and get the information that you are looking for.
What is planned for the future?
As we mentioned above, this is a prototype version of Helicopter, and we are working behind the scenes to include many more different types of information, to enable you to better find the information you are looking for. This involves technical work on our systems to bring together different information sources, but also careful work to ensure we are working in the spirit of our Open Information Policy – i.e. making as much information as possible available, whilst excluding certain data which might breach our commitment to privacy or security – for example where sharing the name of a partner might be particularly sensitive. This is a work in progress, which will also draw on learning and feedback from this first prototype, so please do let us know what you think of Helicopter, and what you would like to see in our next phase of development.