After a year of work, the Open Data for Resilience Field Guide is finally out. The Vice President of the World Bank, Rachel Kyte, launched the Field Guide (youtube) as the Bank’s contribution to the White House Climate Data Initiative on 19 March 2014. The World Bank featured the featured the launch of the OpenDRI Field Guide on its homepage on 19-20 March 2014:



The Field Guide was born in the M.E. Swing coffee shop, across the street from the Old Executive Office Building where it was just launched. Robert Soden and I looked at ways we could capture the emerging corpus of practices around Open Data for Resilience Initiative work at the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and link this practical knowledge with growing consensus around an international approach to disaster risk management.

The challenge would be interview practitioners from several partnering organizations, capturing their collective experiences from work in varied contexts and explaining their approaches in a shared framework. As a musician, I was very familiar with the limitations of a book. Books capture only the types of knowledge that can be written down. While music requires an artist to learn the theory and history, understanding any given composition goes well beyond reading the notation to analyze its architecture and reading scholarship about how it fits into the intellectual context of its time; it requires fusing this technical knowledge with the practice of realizing the music through an instrument in front of an audience—fusing the oral tradition with the written one. Although some parts of playing an instrument can be captured in a book, most of the tradition is passed from master to student, generation to generation.

Those who work on open data in difficult contexts understand that there is an oral tradition around the way to approach different kinds of challenges. My job would be tell the story of this corpus of practices, leaving room for improvisation. I hope that the current draft of the Field Guide provides a map of what I have thus far discovered, leaving sufficient room for others to add and extend it. I will converting the document to Markdown format and uploading it to GitHub, so that it can be added to a wiki and curated by the community of practitioners.

Downloading the Field Guide

You can download the PDF here.

Open Data for Resilience Field Guide PDF

Please email your comments to jcrowley {at} worldbank dot org.