Three premier institutes of the country have joined hands with a private technology firm to upgrade a website collating critical Covid-19 data and providing a standardised format for the benefit of people and researchers studying the pandemic, according to officials.
The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), and Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) have joined hands with Semantic Web India, a private technology firm based in Bengaluru, to upgrade the data, they said.
IIT, IISc, ISI project on Covid-19 data collection
Researchers will automate the process of data collection from central and state government websites and collate them, providing historical data as well as analyses on cases, recoveries, and vaccination levels.
The officials said the website www.covid19india.org offered a comprehensive view on the pandemic across India by providing data on confirmed cases, active and recovered cases, tests, and fatalities.
The portal also recently started showing vaccination administration status for single-dose and fully vaccinated. The new public repository is being hosted at www.incovid19.org.
The collaboration will host a new website, further upgrading the data. Explaining this initiative, V Kamakoti, Associate Dean (Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research), IIT Madras, said, “The portal was providing a valuable service by making this data publicly available in one place, which is important to understand the pandemic.
“It benefitted the general public and researchers studying the Covid-19 spread. Factoring these aspects, the three institutions are collaborating with Semantic Web India to provide similar data, with some added improvements”.
Kamakoti said the website, which till now was run by volunteers based on a crowd-sourcing model, provided valuable data to the public as well as researchers studying the pandemic.
The organisers recently announced that they would stop their operations beyond 31st October 2021.
“The data on Covid-19 is being put out in the public domain by various government entities. This initiative collates all this data and provides a one-stop-shop in a standardised format for the benefit of researchers and the general public,” said Kamakotii.
IIT, IISc, ISI provides Covid-19 data available at public repository
Speaking about this initiative, Siva Athreya, Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Bengaluru, said, “covid19india.org has been available since the pandemic started and has tracked the pandemic across geographies in India. It has been a valuable contribution. While the website will remain active, they will not be updating the data. IIT Madras, IISc, and ISI have joined hands with Semantic Web India to continue updating the data and making it available at a new public repository hosted at www.incovid19.org.”
Athreya said the new initiative would ensure the availability of data on Covid-19 pertaining to confirmed cases, active, recovered, deceased, and tested for all the 36 states and Union Territories in an automated and robust manner until March 2022.
“Further, the consolidated data will be made available to the general audience through a public repository with appropriate APIs (application programming interface) matching those currently available at the earlier portal to ensure the least disruption to applications and consumers of information,” he added.
The new portal will continue the efforts of the current Covid19 India portal with historical and newly collated data from diverse sources. Beyond this, the project also envisages the creation of a semantic layer on the data to provide enhanced search and analysis.
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