The Digital Agency for International Development

New CKAN extensions for MapAction

By Martin Burchell on 04 October 2016

Aptivate's Tom Daley is currently in Madrid at the International Open Data Conference and CKANCon pre-event.

Tom was part of the team that developed four new generic CKAN extensions in the course of building the new Maps and Data Repository for MapAction. All four extensions are open source and the source code is available on GitHub. ECHO funded their initial development.

ckanext-datasetthumbnail adds support for generation and display of thumbnail images for datasets. MapAction's maps are usually imported into CKAN as large JPG and PDF files and MapAction wanted users of their repository to see a preview of each map alongside its listing. The extension displays either a provided thumbnail image or a generated one from the JPG or PDF.

ckanext-datasetversions adds support for modelling different versions of a dataset. MapAction's volunteers sometimes need to create daily situation report-style maps during a crisis (such as the West African Ebola virus epidemic). In contrast to the case where a dataset can be replaced by a later, more correct version, in this case it is useful to retain the old datasets to identify trends. In MapAction's old dataset repository there was no way of modelling related datasets in this way and it was difficult for users to find the most up-to-date information.

ckanext-syndicate replicates datasets to another CKAN instance by pushing updates. MapAction occasionally publish maps and data to other repositories such as Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX). This extension makes it easy for MapAction's maps and data to reach a wider audience.

ckanext-userautoadd automatically adds new users to an existing CKAN organization. CKAN has support for multiple organisations within a repository. MapAction have a single organisation and this extension removes the grunt work of adding their many volunteers to it.