The Centre’s data services work includes direct management of the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX), OCHA’s open platform for sharing data from a range of partners and across multiple crises. We also focus on promoting and gaining adoption of data standards including the Humanitarian Exchange Language (HXL) and the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). We offer support for custom data visualizations to partners that share data through HDX.


Humanitarian Data Exchange

The goal of the HDX is to make humanitarian data easy to find and use for analysis. Launched in July 2014, HDX has been accessed by users in over 200 countries and territories. The platform brings together thousands of datasets from hundreds of organizations. There are three ways to share data through HDX: publicly, privately and by request. You can read more about HDX in this one pager. You can also take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions for HDX.

“HDX has become the go-to location for humanitarian data. We are able to get much more visibility of our data because it gets published on HDX every 24 hours for many countries.”
-Tyler Radford, Executive Director, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team


Humanitarian Exchange Language

HXL is a simple standard for messy data. It works by adding hashtags to the top of columns in spreadsheet formats such as CSV or Excel. HXL has been designed to improve information sharing during a humanitarian crisis without adding extra reporting burdens. Once added, the hashtags allow software to validate, clean, merge and analyse humanitarian data more easily. The HXL postcard is a cheat sheet with instructions on how to use HXL. The standard is available in Arabic, English, French, and Spanish.


“HXL super-powered our project. Without it, we would not have been able to test our ideas so quickly and show senior management our vision.”
-Simon Johnson, British Red Cross


HDX Tools

For data that includes HXL hashtags, we have developed a suite of tools to help data managers do more with their data, more quickly. HDX Tools include:

Quick Charts: Automatically generate embeddable, live data charts, graphs and key figures from your spreadsheet.

HXL Tag Assist: Learn how to use HXL hashtags and add them to your spreadsheets.

Data Check: Data cleaning for humanitarian data, automatically detects and highlights common errors including validation against Common Operational Datasets (CODs) and other vocabularies.