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Photograph : Marija Grujovska

Interested in big data in Nepal? See what’s happening.

This election season, it was a treat to see colorful visualizations of election results and a wide variety of interactive election portals in Nepal.

While governments and organizations in technically advanced nations are using big data to make predictive and prescriptive analysis and generating automated solutions, due to the slow entry of both democracy and digitization, our country is lagging behind on the data revolution that is taking over the world.

However, our government’s efforts albeit slow and citizen groups’ enthusiasm have given us hope. Private sector companies have also been delivering state-of-the-art data services to clients worldwide, which signals that Nepal has potential to be a hub for innovative data solutions.

For people looking to get started with some experience in big data, or just looking for some data and visualizations tools for Nepal, these are some of the places you can check out.

National Data and Development

Data is the foundation for design, planning and monitoring of development efforts. Data-driven strategies for development, with insightful analytics and intuitive visualizations can aid civic awareness and involvement. While government is the major producer and consumer of development data, non-profit organizations and civil society groups are also taking initiatives in making use of data for development. There is now a thriving community of open data advocates and enthusiasts who aim for availability, access, reuse and redistribution of data. International organizations such as Development Initiatives and Local Intervention Groups are also facilitating data-driven governance in Nepal. Development Initiatives’ 2017 paper titled ‘Nepal’s emerging data revolution’ while acknowledging our limitations on data usage,  says that there has been improvements in digital data collection, the opening of official datasets, and the development of data sharing and e-governance platforms.


Government of Nepal

The government of Nepal is the primary producer of statistical data that is the raw material for development data analytics. Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) is the key government body responsible for generating and disseminating data for development planning. In the CBS web portal, you can access GIS maps on various sectors; unfortunately the links to the interactive visualizations seem broken. The centralized government portal has limited information, with most links leading to the same ‘Nepal parichaya’ pdf document. Ministry websites provide basic data, without visualizations, and is useful only if you need hard data for research purposes.

While the government is lagging in making data more accessible through data visualizations or utilizing big data tools, there are some nascent initiatives. The Ministry of Finance has an interactive visualization dashboard to view aid data and the National Planning commission website has offered interactive visualization tools for human development index, census, hydro-projects and population distributions data. Similarly, the Ministry of Health has launched SMART HEALTH, a web-based open data system to enable monitoring of plans and tracking the performance of the Ministry and various health agencies in improving the health sector. Another notable progress is the start of development of a National Open Data Action Plan for the government, led by the Chief Commissioner of the National Information Commission.

Below is the list of different types of data produced by the various government ministries, departments and other agencies. While some are in user friendly formats, and some not, they are all useful for someone looking to get started in big data work. You can download the data and start playing away.


Source: Nepal’s emerging data revolution, Development Initiatives, 2017


While the government is creating most of the data, there are private sector organizations that are providing tools or filling gaps to make data come alive. Below are a few of these companies that are leading big data work in Nepal into the future. You can also find a list of innovative Nepal-based companies that are providing data solutions to international clients.


Companies Providing Data Solutions for Nepal


Kathmandu Living Labs (KLL) is a non-profit technology company creating data tools for different development projects such as governance, civic engagement, agriculture and housing. KLL got recognition for sharing Quakemap data for relief and recovery operations following 2015 earthquake.

Db2Map digital apps combining data from various sources. GEOKrishi is an award winning data-disseminating app that integrates satellite data with government and crowd-sourced information to assess land and soil conditions to help farmers maximize crop yields.

Nepal in Data (NiD) is an open data and statistics portal with extensive data visualization of development data, also covering historical trends. For example we can see how cardamom plantation has changed through years.

Open Nepal is a knowledge hub and a learning space for organisations and people that produce, share and use data for development. It provides datasets and data visualization apps.

Code for Nepal is a nonprofit championing open data and right to information. NepalMap is an interactive tool with details on various metrics such as demographics, education, health, business, land.

Facts Nepal is a private independent research company providing data analytics for public awareness and also catering to data services to their clients. It creates infographics on various relevant topics such as governance, commerce, infrastructure, health and tourism.

GraphNepal is an infographics blog creating infographics on various relevant topics related to Nepal.

DataJournoNepal is a not-for-profit media outlet providing data driven multimedia news stories.



Nepali Technology Companies providing Data Solutions to Worldwide Clients


YoungInnovations creates automated data tools and data platforms such as Aidstream, DevelopmentCheck and OpenNepal.

CraftData Labs works with business data along with open-data for governance and general civic awareness.

GrowByData specializes on big data for e-commerce.

Grepsr provides data scraping solutions.

Fusemachines creates automated sales platform using big data.

Deerwalk provides big data solutions to healthcare industry. It also works with genomics data.

LeapFrog Technology offers healthcare data solutions as one of their technology services.

Javra Software works with big data to create business intelligence tools.


Another way of getting started in big data is by engaging with the growing open data movement in the country. The open data movement worldwide starts with the philosophy that some kinds of data should be made freely available to everyone, with the idea that this will unleash innovation and result in public good. Data locked up in various government, international organizations, research institutions, and non-profit organizations have been “opened,” and collaborative, crowd-sourced data developed as a result of this philosophy and movement.

If you would like to get started, here are some resources:

Communities and Resources for Open Data Enthusiasts

Open Data Day is an annual event organized by the open data advocacy groups.

Open Nepal weeks are conducted by Open Nepal where hackathons, workshops and bootcamps are organized around open data.

KLL offers digital internship program to students and recent graduates with training on a range of digital tools with particular emphasis on OpenStreetMap.

Open Knowledge Nepal runs Open Data Awareness Program to raise awareness about the concept and usage of open data to university students from different academic backgrounds.

Asia Foundation has established Open Data Innovation Fund to support Nepali organisations with innovative ideas on how data can be opened and harnessed to solve Nepal’s development issues. Though deadline for this year has passed, such initiatives will be resourceful for data workers in Nepal.

Open Knowledge Nepal organizes meetups and hackathons and provides counseling and training for open data enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. The organization has also published Nepali-medium handbook on open data.

Know of more people or organizations working in data in Nepal? Let us know in the comments, and we will add them to this list.



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Dovan Rai

Author: Dovan Rai

Dovan is passionate about education technology and worked at OLE Nepal, where she designed educational software for public schools in Nepal. She has a PhD in Computer Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA

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