Why You Should Be Using CKAN, So You Can Save Lives

Date: 20th May 2023

What’s the point in having loads of data if you can’t use it the way you need to?
That’s where CKAN comes in.

What is CKAN?

CKAN is an Open Source Platform for you to store all of your data. Picture it like a virtual library, neatly displaying everything you’ve dumped in there – files, Excel sheets, Word docs, PDFs, links, tables and databases. All of your structured and unstructured data in one place ready for you to cherry pick whenever you need, when you need it.

That’s in theory. 

To get it to function this way it takes some technical know-how and maintenance, but more on that later.

Why should you use CKAN if you’ve just got to work to maintain it?

In order for big organisations such as the UN, The Gates Foundation and other NGOs to support governments when it comes to health interventions, they need data. Not just any data, but reliable data.

The goal is to optimise the reuse of data. In order to do that we use FAIR data principles: Is your data findable, is it accessible, is it interoperable, is it reusable?

It sounds like a big job, but that’s where tools like CKAN come in.

CKAN helps you to achieve the FAIR data principles by:

  • Organising your data and metadata in a single catalogue, complete with powerful search tools so you can really wield the power of organised data.
  • Deploy organisation and user specific access to your data for your internal and external partners, with controllable read/write permissions to protect your data.
  • Making your data findable and accessible to third party software tools via an application programming interface (API), everything a user can do through the user interface a machine can do through the API.
  • Managing and maintaining metadata, audit trails and source information to ensure that your data is reusable now by other people, and in the future too.

Not to mention, CKAN is open source which means you’re not tied to any licensing fees and there’s no vendor locking. Being open source also allows you to benefit from other project’s contributions which you can use and leverage for free.

To summarise, CKAN makes data easier. Easier to keep track of, easier to keep high quality, easier to keep safe. Organisations need all of these things in order to take action when it comes to health interventions. That’s why you should use CKAN.

And because as the saying goes, anything worth having in life is worth working for.

You’re not alone with CKAN, we’re here to help you with setup, maintenance and beyond

Fjelltopp has great experience with CKAN after working with it on many different projects. We can help set you up with a fully hosted and maintained CKAN instance with our CKAN support service. When you work with us you also benefit from our wider related experience which we’ve gained from multiple other projects looking at sound health data management in low and middle income countries.

Stay tuned for our next blog – our must read guide for your developers, which will have our tips and tricks for maintaining CKAN. To make sure you don’t miss it, sign up to our newsletter at the bottom of our website here.

To find out more about CKAN setup, maintenance and more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Fjelltopp team today.