Meet the Data Project's star volunteers - Gautam Dihora and Sharada Ramadass, and learn how you can help make valuable groundwater data more accessible to the wider public

At the Data Project, our volunteers have helped us extract data out of difficult formats and are also working to demystify data through their observations and analytical skills.

GautamSharadaAt the India Water Portal, we are blessed with some very keen and enthusiastic volunteers. Two of our star volunteers are Sharada Ramadass from Bangalore, Karnataka and Gautam Dihora from Bhavnagar, Gujarat. They have helped us in creating a new volunteer project that we need help with, from everyone. 

Central Groundwater Board (CGWB) publishes district-wise groundwater profiles for all of India, which contain useful data on groundwater availability, aquifer types, and valuable descriptions of wells. It also provides data on water quality, water levels and how much land is irrigated by groundwater. All this information is in text and in .PDF format. The data for Karnataka can be accessed from this link.

While we commend CGWB for putting this information out there for the public, there are a lot of issues with these profiles.

  • They use terminology and references that regular people do not understand, which means that they can only be read and understood by experts.
  • The valuable data points they have are presented in either paragraph formats or in maps that are hard to read and decipher.
  • The PDF format disallows any further use of the data so that people can use it to look more closely, and understand their groundwater situation.

Sharada Ramadass has worked on Bagalkote district and Gautam has worked on Bidar district profile of Karnataka. The volunteer work was split in 3
phases.

  • Phase 1 is an initial navigation through the profile. Volunteers ask questions about terminology and concepts on which they are unclear, a process which will also help us build a groundwater data glossary and FAQ. Additionally, volunteers look closely at the maps and figures in the profile.
  • Phase 2 is more in-depth. Volunteers answer extensive questions about the profile in a Google Form in order to extract usable data from text. 
  • Phase 3 is a data normalization process, in which volunteers convert PDF tables into a more user-friendly XLS format.

The work of these two volunteers can be seen on this page.

We acknowledge and appreciate their time and effort to make data more usable and also to demystify the information, so that more people can understand their groundwater situation. We look forward to working with them and others in future too.  

Now we need to continue the work so we can get the information for all of India in useable formats. If you have some time in the next few weeks, please take a moment to help make groundwater data more accessible for everyone.

If you have half an hour this week, please go to our volunteer page and get started on a profile.  This work will help us all understand the value of the water we use everyday.

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