UN OCHA in December released data on humanitarian aid flows in an accessible and structured format. Its Financial Tracking Service (FTS) allows users to create custom searches and then get the results out via XML, as well as RSS and Excel. OCHA has recognised the value of opening up its data and releasing it in a structured format. You can see a sample search result, looking at all humanitarian contributions in Afghanistan in 2009/10 that were reported to OCHA.
We’d like to see this made even more accessible – OCHA could provide a RESTful API (and particularly a stateless one), so that different queries can be run on the data automatically. In addition, the data should also be released under an open license.
To get a feed out of OCHA’s Financial Tracking Service:
- Go to OCHA’s FTS website
- Click on the “Make a Custom Table” link
- Create your query, and click Go.
- Once the search results are shown, click on the “click here to login” link in the orange box, above the search results;
- After login, click Save this query and then Go to My financial page
- On the financial page, you can choose to export your results as XML, RSS or Excel