ICT Camp Throws Spotlight on Open Data and Data Journalism

The annual Cambodia ICT Camp 2022 will bring a host of local and international speakers to Cambodia’s stage, with a focus on sourcing open data and how to analyze it.
The demand for ICT skills and occupations increases as Cambodia gradually turns economy to digital-based. Picture: Sam
The demand for ICT skills and occupations increases as Cambodia gradually turns economy to digital-based. Picture: Sam

Open data and data-driven journalism are two of the main topics slated to be discussed at Cambodia ICT Camp 2022, which will host a range of local and international speakers.

Vong Pisith, a Senior Data Research and Geographic Information System (GIS) Officer at Open Development Cambodia (ODC), is an expert in data journalism. He said the most important element that makes up the story is from interviewing data, which is referred to as the process of answering questions by analyzing data.

At ODC, Piseth’s work focuses on researching spatial data within various sectors relevant to development in Cambodia. This is gathered from reliable sources that provide open data for handling, assembling, enhancing, and visualizing by using GIS to generate a usable data product for publication on the organization's web pages.

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In addition to the key role of producing datasets, particularly spatial datasets, he also conducts training and develops the training curriculum related to data and GIS for relevant projects.

“For journalists, open data is crucial as it is where they can get factual information from easily and quickly to produce their story. Beyond that, data is a hard truth, so journalists can produce an insightful story that is concrete and evident-based. And their story is likely to be impactful and draw the attention of policymakers,” said Pisith.

In order to be able to find the right data for their story, Pisith said journalists should have data-related knowledge, digital skills in browsing for relevant data and be able to find data in a data portal – a website that contains publicly accessible data in a well-managed manner.

Open Data for Sustainable Development was one of the main themes at Cambodia ICT Camp 2018
Open Data for Sustainable Development was one of the main themes at Cambodia ICT Camp 2018

These websites include the World Bank and Humanitarian Data Exchange for regional and international level study. For national studies, the ODC website or government data portals, such as NCDD Database, are useful tools.

Hean Socheata, a Cambodian freelance journalist, said data narrative is a new approach to storytelling that helps journalists sharpen their critical sense when dealing with numbers and encoding raw data and unknown information for the audiences. She was awarded the Mekong Data Journalism Fellowship by the Internews' Earth Journalism Network (EJN) and East-West Center in 2021.

Socheata, however, said there are a number of reasons that make it difficult to find and use data from Cambodia's sources.

“Sometimes, the data is out of date and other times most data coding sites cannot read the Khmer language,” she said.

At Cambodia ICT Camp, many local and international speakers will cover open data, how to find the right data, and how to use it correctly.

Adriano Amaral, an open data practitioner and product manager at Derilinx, a vanguard company that helps create and nurture the open data environment in Ireland, will be a speaker on the topic: “Leveraging open data to deliver positive tangible sustainable development impact”.

His topic will cover how data that has been shared creates an impact and how to engineer important data assets to change peoples' lives, improve their quality and increase well-being.

“Finding the right reasons to open and share data is paramount,” he said. “That’s why exploring the cases and the impact they generate is so important, as well as simplify the whole data value chain in order to reduce the blockers to the data sharing journey. Derilinx has a lot of experience doing that, and we will bring a lot of this apprenticeship to share with the audience.”

Chy Sophat, one of the lead organizers and a speaker on digital security at the upcoming Cambodia ICT camp, said it is not only participants who can learn from the speakers but everyone can listen and learn about topics they are interested in, which can benefit their career.

“I will share my knowledge on the digital security topic and I will learn about many other topics. That way we can learn and share our knowledge and experiences in this camp,” he said.

Disclosure: This paid content is produced by Kiripost in partnership with Open Development Cambodia and is editorially independent.