Interoperability is the ability to access and process data from multiple sources without losing meaning and then integrate that data for mapping, visualization, and other forms of representation and analysis. Interoperability enables people to find, explore, and understand the structure and content of datasets. In essence, it is the ability to ‘join-up’ data from different sources to help create a contextual and holistic picture for simpler (sometimes automated) analysis, better decision-making, and greater accountability.
An outcome of the UN World Data Forum in January 2017, the collaborative on interoperability is co-convened by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and the UN Statistics Division. The collaborative launched Interoperability: A practitioner’s guide to joining-up data in the development sector, which brings together good practice examples that highlight the value that interoperable data brings to decision-making. The production of the guide was supported by an Advisory Group drawn from the collaborative’s membership and included:
- Enrique Ordaz, Director General of Integration, Analysis and Research at INEGI, Mexico & Co-Chair of the IAEG-SDGs
- Radhika Lal, Economic Advisor, UNDP, Ghana
- Joshua Powell, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Development Gateway
- Bill Anderson, Data Architect & Beata Lisowska, Data Scientist, Development Initiatives
- Shaida Badiee, Managing Director and Co-Founder & Eric Swanson, Director of Research, Open Data Watch
- Rose Aiko, (former) Data Ecosystems Consultant, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data
The first version of the Guide launched at the UN World Data Forum in Dubai in October 2018.