The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, the Centre for Networked Intelligence at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) are collaborating with Semantic Web India, a private technology firm based in Bengaluru, to continue research on critical COVID-19 data. The new public repository is being hosted at the website - www.incovid19.org
The website 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 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 October 31.
This new initiative of these academic institutes and Semantic Web India will now continue updating the data from November 1 and make it available online.
Explaining this initiative, V. Kamakoti, associate dean (Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research), IIT Madras, said, “Covid19india.org 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.”
The data on COVID-19 is being put out in 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,” the professor further added.
The granularity of the data points on the website extended to the districts of most States and the data needs to be preserved in order to support future studies on the pandemic.
Speaking about this initiative, Siva Athreya, Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Bengaluru, said, “Covid19india.org has been available since the pandemic began and has tracked it 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.”
This 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 of India 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 to ensure the least disruption to applications and consumers of information.
Elaborating on the key objectives of this initiative, Dr. Asha Subramanian, founder and CEO, Semantic Web India, said, “We are trying to make the process as automated as possible, to provide data continuity at the state/district level wherever possible, using published sources at state government portals, post-October 31.”