Open data culture

Project Execution: May 2017 – Currently

Location: Medellín and Cali (Colombia)

Beneficiaries: Community near to the air quality measurement centers


Medellin Data Strategy Council
Ruta N
Alcaldía de Medellín
Public Good App House,produced by Caravan Studio (a división of Techsoup)
Renting Colombia

Open data culture

At MAKAIA we are aware of the importance and the benefits of open data. We have partnered with different institutions to promote an Open Data culture in Colombia through two projects:

Collective Open Data Creation Pilot: A project that sought the promotion of data culture through the installation of a network of sensors for monitoring air quality with the participation and commitment of each citizen in the use of open data. To achieve this, we execute two components: technological adoption and training.

Open Data Workshops: Continuing our interest in fostering an open data culture, with the support of IBM Colombia, Ruta N and Uniandinos, we developed two Open data workshops for social organizations in the cities of Cali and Medellin in 2017.


Technological adaptation

In the beginning, we selected ten (10) institutions in the city of Medellín as air measurement centers. In each one of them a sensor capable of measuring particles in the range of 2.5 microns and 10 microns in diameter was located. These particles establish the criteria to determine the levels of pollution in the air. The sensors are connected to a WiFi network in order to visualize in real time the data registered to the platform for further analysis.

In addition, we have one (1) additional sensor in the MAKAIA offices, and every day, in our Twitter account, we publish a summary of air quality variations.


During the pilot, we hosted workshops in each of the measurement centers with the following contents:

1. Air quality and literacy in the use of open data.
2. Installation, configuration and preventive maintenance of the sensor, Big Data.
3. Processing of data published by the sensor, visualization and practical exercise.

In the workshops we had the participation of assistants from the community near the measurement centers, people of different ages, professions and work. The development and execution of this pilot is systematized and documented in order that other organizations can replicate the project or that the scope is extended to other regions. These sensors are currently in operation and providing information on air quality in real time. MAKAIA works in the extension of this sensor network, bringing communities closer to the culture of open data and improving practices that affect the environment.

Measurement centers

The centers where the air quality is measured in Medellín are:

  2. Los Alcázares House of Culture
  3. La Floresta Public Library
  4. Gabriel García Márquez- Doce de Octubre Library Park
  5. El Raizal Family Library
  6. Popular N°2 Library
  7. COMFAMA – Claustro San Ignacio
  8. Belén Library Park
  9. El Limonar Library
  10. Manuel Mejía Vallejo Library Park
  11. Santa Cruz Library

Private initiatives of citizens and organizations such as Renting Colombia have join this network of sensors.


In 2017, we trained 113 people close to the measurement centers through the Project Trainings and installed 11 sensors. We also held 2 workshops in the cities of Medellin and Cali, with 43 attendees.

In 2018 we benefited 211 people and 22 organizations by holding 30 workshops and developing other actions, such as:

  • Event “Air quality and its effects on health”: Held on April 11 at Belén Library Park, this conference had the participation of 16 attendees. In this space, we shared the way in which the project has been developed and its future perspectives. On the other hand, the Santa Cruz Library shared its experience in the use of the sensor and its environmental projects. Finally, the epidemiologist from the University of Antioquia, Elkin Martínez, shared relevant data on how air quality affects the health of the population.
  • Discussion “Air quality in the commune 6 – Doce de Octubre”: On April 19, we participated in an event organized by the Gabriel García Márquez Library Park and the Doce de Octubre Social Development Center, socializing our project. During the activity we performed a demostration to the attendees on how to access the PurpleAir platform and get to know in real time the air quality of the area, promoting the use of open data.
  • During the months of May, June and July, we developed 9 trainings in the places where the measurement sensors were installed (with the exception of Belén Library, due to the fact that the Air Quality event had been held there). These trainings focused on the importance of empowering the use of open data by the community.
  • Project follow-up:During the months of September, October, November and December, we had the support of an intern from the School of Engineering of Antioquia who made follow-up visits to the 10 libraries and worked in a diagnosis of their digital maturity and the use and protocol of the sensor; In addition, 4 workshops were held with children on “ecological footprint and carbon” in order to raise awareness of this public about the care of the environment and air pollution in Comfama, Floresta, Limonar and Popular 2 centers.
  • Replica with the private sector: we worked with Renting Colombia in the acquisition of 20 sensors to be installed in its allied companies in the Metropolitan Area of ​​the city of Medellín. 2 training sessions in the use of open data from air quality measurement sensors were held to Renting personnel. By the end of year 9 of the 20 sensors had been installed, while the company determined that it will soon install the remaining 11.

Principles for digital development related to the project

TWO, ​​UNDERSTAND THE ECOSYSTEM We have participated in events and meetings about open data and air quality issues in order to give solid support to the development of this project. Also for the purchase of sensors and data visualization, we verify the measurement protocols and standards.

SIX, USE OPEN DATA, OPEN STANDARDS, OPEN CODE, OPEN INNOVATION: The conceptual basis of this project is to create culture and awareness in the use of open data. In addition to this, the entire process and development of the project is being documented and published freely for all people.