IATI Output?

TimDavies's picture

I've just been trying out the Open Aid Distro - fantastic work.

I work a bit with the International Aid Transparency Initiative, which has developed the common standard for sharing information on aid and development projects (http://www.iatistandard.org). The standard covers various code lists, approaches for creating activity and organisation identifiers, and an XML schema for sharing data. The shared data is all accessible from http://www.iatiregistry.org and increasingly through third-party tools that read in the XML.

We had a discussion a year or so back about how Drupal could be a good tool to create IATI data (http://groups.drupal.org/node/161214) but I'm not sure there's been much progress on that - but I wonder if it's something that might be explored in the future development of Open Aid Distro?

There are a few tools emerging for NGOs to create IATI data, like OpenAidRegister.org and AidStream.net, but none that cover creating the website as well as the Open Aid Distro does.

You might also like to share news of this project with the Open Development community at http://open-development.okfn.org



sreynen's picture

Hi Tim,

IATI looks like it's very relevant to the organizations using OpenAid. That discussion in the OpenData group seems to be mostly focused on the data output and consumption, which makes sense for that group. But I think for OpenAid, we'd want to focus more on the data input and publishing side. Does that match what you were thinking?

Great :)

TimDavies's picture

That's exactly what I was thinking - focussing on allowing anyone creating a project in Open Aid Distro to also share that as IATI open data.

Great :)

TimDavies's picture

That's exactly what I was thinking - focussing on allowing anyone creating a project in Open Aid Distro to also share that as IATI open data.

It would be great if it were

batje's picture

It would be great if it were so plugable that http://amnesty.org/ or http://www.oxfam.org/ could use it too. In such a way that it would extend the already existing http://www.oxfam.org/en/campaigns/climate-change-campaign node with some additional information for the editors to fill in.

Integration with existing content

sreynen's picture

I think many organizations are already storing some of the information relevant to the IATI standard in Drupal nodes, including OpenAid content types, and it would be nice if we could re-use that rather than requiring people to re-enter the same information in a new form. That said, I suspect trying to re-use existing content would end up adding a lot of complexity for relatively little benefit.

I wonder if it would be more efficient to start with the IATI info as completely stand-alone content, and hold off on integration as a future feature. With that approach, first draft implementation could be as simple as:

1) Create new IATI content types to input all the data.
2) Create a custom URL path (with hook_menu) to load nodes and output field data in the IATI XML standard.

Would that be useful enough to start, or does integration with existing content types seem like a must-have feature for 1.0?

When I looked at this before

TimDavies's picture

When I looked at this before (quite a while back) the approach I was thinking of taking was:

  • Setting up an IATI content type with all the sorts of fields it might require
  • Setting up views that would generate IATI XML from that

I wonder if it will be possible to provide these in very modular ways, so that someone could just add an IATI project content type (or selection of content types, as if people want to include transactions, results etc. these might be related content?) OR they could have example fields to add to their existing content types, which would minimise the amount of work they had to do in order to adapt an IATI output view.

The sorts of things we might need to cover would be:

  • A country list which can use ISO 2-digit codes
  • Fields that pull in IATI codelist values
  • An auto-complete field for Organisational Identifiers

I think in the first instance just getting a proof of concept with the fields that a project like OpenAidDistro uses would give us an approach that could be built upon in existing systems perhaps?

After thinking it over,

batje's picture

After thinking it over, creating 2 standard IATI nodetypes (Organisation & Activity) with IATI fields seems like the logical first step. This will force us to think about, discuss and create the required fields & taxonomies (IMHO, countries, OECD codes and other codelists should be taxonomies as much as possilbe) & entities (for Transactions for example)

Once we have these, allowing reuse of components on peoples existing node-types should be fairly straightforward.

In regards to views, I found the way the wfs module implements this (using xml, instead of html based templates) quite elegant.


siemvaessen's picture


You could also build a Drupal client on top of OIPA: http://oipa.openaidsearch.org/api/v2/docs/

UN-HABITAT just launched a PHP client on top of it: http://open.unhabitat.org/

Just my thought ;-)

Thanks, Siem

Yes you could, but then, if

batje's picture

Yes you could, but then, if your own site is a drupal site, how would you publish your IATI data?

I think that after the first wave of IATI data from the BIG donors, there is now a potential thousands of medium & small NGO's that are running a small Drupal or Wordpress or Joomla site, that all 3 could benefit from a IATI module that allows them to integrate the publishing of their projects the normal way (with text & images) and integrates publishing IATI information without any hassle.

BTW, running a site about open data on top of a Google map is totally silly. There are so many alternative map providers that use Openstreetmap data (and produce much prettier maps, too)


siemvaessen's picture

OIPA has an API and you could easily build your own Drupal interface on the API and start.

Or just build a Drupal module on top of that API and you are ready to go.

Check the current projects in OIPA: http://oipa.openaidsearch.org/api/v2/activities/?format=json

And I am not sure what you mean by a 'normal' way? IATI is a standard, not a platform for building fancy interfaces. As far as I can tell, IATI standard does not support images as such, but it does support documents.

BTW: running drupal.org and using googleanalytics is totally silly... (OSM is on the Roadmap for OIPA.)


As far as I can tell from

batje's picture

As far as I can tell from that link, the API is a READ API.

The thousands of NGO's I was referring to, they want to PUBLISH IATI information.

So, they need a nodetype for Organisation, for Activity and some taxonomy vocabulary for countries & OECD codes. (very very simplified)

Think http://www.amnesty.org/ or http://www.oxfam.org/ but then smaller.

The API is CRUD but set to

siemvaessen's picture

The API is CRUD but set to Read only for now.

We first want to have OIPA ingest IATI registry from their respective publishers and URI('s). We do not intend to replace the IATI registry which should serve as a central hub for IATI compliant datasets.

Our second goal is to provide an interface that enables IATI compliant dataset holders to directly ingest their sets into OIPA and manage it from there. But there are quit some implications in that: what if OIPA would serve as central access point for those sets? What impact would this have on the IATI registry. Many questions that need answering before one allocates resources to a specific feature.

The OIPA datamodel supports type organisation and activity and if OIPA were to develop such a feature, implementing a full CRUD on its API we would need to have some specific requirements and above all some kind of concensus from the IATI community.

Just blasting away without any communication to the IATI community would make no sense to me at all.

And many NGO's are not aware IATI, let alone publish their information in an IATI compliant manner.

There is still a long road ahead of us.

Next steps

sreynen's picture

Seems like we're getting a bit sidetracked here. We have general agreement that tools to publish IATI data would be useful. And we have a rough plan for implementing those tools. So now we just need to do it. Any volunteers to make it happen?

I'll be happy to help anyone who wants to work on this, and I can also make sure it gets added to the OpenAid distribution when it's done, but I'm not likely to have the time to do it myself in the near future.