[open-development] Licensing of Common and Fundamental Operational Datasets from United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)

Jonathan Gray jonathan.gray at okfn.org
Fri Mar 1 15:58:58 UTC 2013

Dear Andrej,

Thank you very much for your reply.

By the sounds of things, I'd guess that UNOCHA is gathering together data
from a wide variety of sources under a wide variety of different terms
(both explicit and implicit, both ad hoc and issuing from existing reuse
policies) - and the terms basically cover the lowest common denominator?

Addressing Tim's issue, I guess the main incentive for trying to change
this would be to ensure that the barriers to reuse are minimised, in
particular to enable people to republish or create projects based on
datasets that would help to assist people on the ground in the event of a
humanitarian crisis (e.g. data activities around Hurricane Sandy[1], or
Open Street Maps response to the Haiti earthquake [2]). A legal green light
would make it really clear to people that they are free to republish data
or to use it in new apps or services that could assist humanitarian efforts.

But perhaps the best approach is working with various national, regional
and local contact points, as well as other initiatives to promote open data
like IATI - as UNOCHA is basically federating this data (rather than being
in a position to encourage or require certain licensing/reuse conditions)?

In any case, I'd love to hear CJ's thoughts, and to see whether there are
any opportunities for UNOCHA to gently encourage data suppliers to
explicitly open up.

All the best,


[1] http://blog.okfn.org/2012/11/01/hurricane-sandy-and-open-data/

On 1 March 2013 15:12, Andrej Verity <verity at unocha.org> wrote:

> Dear Tim,
> The focal point for HXL (and involved in the COD/FOD project) is CJ
> Hendrix who is copied here.
> FYI: although CJ can elaborate, the licensing around CODs is painfully
> complicated & complex  [and is largely out of our control]
> Kind regards,
> Andrej
> -----------------
> Andrej Verity
> Programme Officer (Information Management)
> Information Services Branch (ISB)
> UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
> Tel: +41-22-917-1938      Mob: +41-79-444-5046        Email: verity at un.org
> Skype: andrejverity         LinkedIn: andrejverity          Twitter:
> andrejverity
> www.unocha.org
> On Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 4:06 PM, Tim Davies <
> tim at practicalparticipation.co.uk> wrote:
>> Hello Jonathan,
>> The team involved in HXL - Humanitarian Exchange Language (
>> http://hxl.humanitarianresponse.info/) - at UNOCHA might have some
>> insights into this. It's possible the COD data might be feeding into HXL at
>> some level.
>> I'm not sure what the licensing around HXL is, or how much focus there
>> has been on this.
>> It might be useful to think about what the case is for a change in
>> license from the perspective of UNOCHA. What would a more open license
>> enable that serves the needs of the humanarian community? It could be
>> useful for us to be able to put the case from this perspective...
>> All the best
>> Tim
>> On Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 2:42 PM, Jonathan Gray <jonathan.gray at okfn.org>wrote:
>>> I wonder whether anyone knows anyone working on the United Nations
>>> Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)'s Common and
>>> Fundamental Operational Datasets project [1]?
>>> It looks like a very interesting and useful project, and a shame that
>>> the data doesn't appear to be openly licensed [2].
>>> [1] http://cod.humanitarianresponse.info/about
>>> [2] http://cod.humanitarianresponse.info/terms-use
>>> --
>>> Jonathan Gray <http://jonathangray.org/> | @jwyg<http://twitter.com/jwyg>
>>> Director of Policy and Ideas
>>> The Open Knowledge Foundation <http://okfn.org/> | @okfn<http://twitter.com/okfn>
>>> Support our work: okfn.org/support
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>> --
>> http://www.timdavies.org.uk
>> 07834 856 303.
>> @timdavies
>> Co-director of Practical Participation:
>> http://www.practicalparticipation.co.uk
>> --------------------------
>> Practical Participation Ltd is a registered company in England and Wales
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Jonathan Gray <http://jonathangray.org/> | @jwyg <http://twitter.com/jwyg>
Director of Policy and Ideas
The Open Knowledge Foundation <http://okfn.org/> |
Support our work: okfn.org/support
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