We are excited to launch the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) project. It has been months (years?) in the making and we are looking forward to collaborating with you throughout 2014 and beyond. The goal of HDX is to make humanitarian data easy to find and use for analysis. For those of you who have been in search of good data during a humanitarian response, this project is for you.

In our initial blog about the project that ran through ReliefWeb, we talked about the HDX system and what the future may hold for humanitarian data. As the first blog of the HDX site, we’d like to introduce you to some of our content.

HDX has three elements that will eventually combine into an integrated data platform.

  • A dataset repository where data providers can upload their raw data spreadsheets for others to find and use.
  • A refined database of high-value data – the Common Humanitarian Dataset  – that can be compared across countries and crises.
  • Standards for how data is described and shared across a network of actors.

You can read more about each of these areas here: repository, analytics, and standards. You can also learn more about the team, our board and our supporters. We have listed a few project documents here for those of you who like details.

Over the next few months, HDX team members and guest bloggers will talk about different work areas, be it architecture, back-end development, standards or statistics. We will also talk more about our design principles: co-created, user-centered, interoperable, simple and sustainable.

‘Co-creating’ is in the title of this blog because it is our first point of reference for this work. We believe we can only be successful by deeply involving stakeholders in designing and implementing solutions.


OCHA coordination meeting at Agok in Warrap state, southern Sudan on 23 June 2011.

HDX will use open source, open content, and open data as often as possible. You can find all of our code on GitHub. We will be setting up community work streams around specific areas, like user experience or data analysis. A data standards work stream has already been established; find out how to sign up here.

We intend to use this virtual lab space to experiment until we have a functioning data platform that we can point to. So don’t be shy – join the conversation, ask hard questions, write some code, make the data dance. Lets co-create a humanitarian data platform.