Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Open SDG platform free to reuse?

Yes. Open SDG is open source and is free for anyone to reuse.

What resources do I need to set up an Open SDG platform?

To set up the platform out of the box and carry out basic customisations, you will need to use a computer and GitHub. If you want to customise your platform further, you may need additional technical resource such as a developer.

How do I copy the Open SDG platform?

The Quick start guide gives technical instructions on the quickest way to get a copy of the open-sdg platform up and running.

How long would it take to set up a copy of Open SDG

With the right skills, it should take less than a day to set up a standard copy, ready for data to be imported.

Can the Open SDG platform be customised?

Yes. Copies of Open SDG can be adapted to local needs – technical developer resource may be needed to do this. The Customisation section gives detailed technical guidance.

Can the Open SDG platform be translated into other languages?

Yes. Open SDG has been designed to be multilingual. It is available in the six official UN languages (English, French, Russian, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese) and more (German, Armenian). The Translation section gives more technical information, including how to add another language.

What software does Open SDG use?

Open SDG is built exclusively with free open-source libraries and tools. A high-level summary of the technologies used is available on the requirements page. The software that developers will need is detailed on the development page.

Can I monitor traffic to an Open SDG platform?

Yes. It's easy to start monitoring traffic as Google Analytics functionality has been built in to Open SDG. You need to sign in to Google, create a Google Analytics account and obtain a tracking code which you then store in your copy of Open SDG.

See the Analytics section for detailed instructions.

Are maps available in Open SDG?

Yes. Maps can be automatically generated from the data if GeoCodes are included and the required geographical boundary files are available. See below examples of maps on the UK and Rwanda versions of Open SDG:

Maps from other systems or publications can also be embedded. See the Maps section for more information

Can content from other websites be embedded in Open SDG?

Yes. Content can be embedded into the indicator page using HTML either within a tab like the charts and tables or embedded as a main feature on the page, for example indicator 17.13.1 on the UK site.

Can I use Open SDG with other databases?

Open SDG is designed to read its data from CSV files. But it is possible to use scripts to "pre-process" your data, fetching it from a database and then writing it to CSV files. This will require coding expertise in a language such as Python or PHP. Within Open SDG there is already a feature to import CKAN data.

Does Open SDG work with SDMX?

Open SDG can use an SDMX API endpoint or can use data and metadata in SDMX-ML format. We are also planning to develop an SDMX download feature.

In what formats are data available?

Currently data can be downloaded in CSV format for every indicator that has data. For indicators that have maps, data can also be downloaded in GeoJSON format. The exact download paths depend on configuration choices, but here are general examples:

CSV: https://[GITHUB ORGANISATION].github.io/[DATA REPO NAME]/data/[INDICATOR CODE].csv

e.g. https://onsdigital.github.io/sdg-data/data/1-2-1.csv

GeoJSON: https://[GITHUB ORGANISATION].github.io/[DATA REPO NAME]/geojson/[MAP LAYER NAME]/indicator_[INDICATOR CODE].geojson

e.g. https://onsdigital.github.io/sdg-data/geojson/country/indicator_9-c-1.geojson

Can data in a platform be accessed via API?

The data and metadata for an Open SDG implementation is available at predictable and documented paths and so can be accessed programmatically as described below:

data: https://[GITHUB ORGANISATION].github.io/[DATA REPO NAME]/data/[INDICATOR CODE].json

e.g. https://onsdigital.github.io/sdg-data/data/1-2-1.json

metatdata: https://[GITHUB ORGANISATION].github.io/[DATA REPO NAME]/meta/[INDICATOR CODE].json

e.g. https://onsdigital.github.io/sdg-data/meta/1-2-1.json

What is the difference between the double-repository and the single-repository approach?

With the double-repository approach, site content is kept separate from data/metadata by splitting them into two repositories: a site repository and a data repository. This is the most popular approach, because it provides the following benefits:

  1. The staff responsible for updating the site repository can be different from the staff responsible for updating the data repository. This allows for more fine-grained user management.
  2. Activity logs on the site repository do not appear on the data repository, and vice versa. This helps make the process of maintenance and review easier.
  3. Having the data and site in separate repositories adds a layer of protection against accidental version control problems.

The double-repository approach is detailed in the Quick Start with the help of the site starter and data starter template projects.

By contrast, with the single-repository approach, site content and data/metadata are contained with the same single repository. This approach can be useful for local testing and development, as it simplifies the architecture of the platform. The benefits include:

  1. Faster quick-start process
  2. Simpler workflow for testing out changes locally

The single-repository is exemplified in the simple starter template project.