The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has reached out to the market this week to get assistance with upgrading the analytical capabilities of its existing cloud-based data processing platform, in doing so it hopes to use more open source data in policy development.
When the platform is completed it will be used to carry out analytic processes such as the ingestion and cleansing of data streams, as well as mining self-hosted data which will be used to gleam qualitative insights and understand trends. It will also be expected to be able to harness live API-based data resources.
The FCO notes in a contract notice that: “The platform currently draws on a number of data sources and provides basic analysis functionality. We wish to build on this by developing advanced geospatial analysis, custom dashboarding and graph database enabled network analysis capabilities.”
Leading the project is a team of developers from the FCO’s Open Source Unit. This unit was first established in 2016 and is tasked with transforming how the FCO approaches policy and diplomacy by implementing the open source analysis of data.
The deadline to apply is the 18 of December. The contract is expected to be three months in length with a maximum budget of £156,000. The FCO states that the work must be concluded by the 31 of March 2020, creating a tight three month deadline right after the Christmas holidays.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Data Platform
The existing platform used by the FCO draws from an array of data resources, however its analytical capabilities is in a nascent stage and the FCO wants a developer to help it expand these capabilities so it uses the full potential of the data it has access to.
Key areas it wants to see further development and capability expansion on are listed as;
- Improve the geographical querying and visualisation capabilities
- Add functionality to enable users to curate their own visualisations and dashboards
- Build functionality for users to explore the relationships between entities featured in the data.
The FCO notes that the platform has already gone through two stages of development an initial prototype, which was then followed by five months of development. During the development the FCO has established a cloud architecture, based in AWS, for the platform and data pipelines have already been created. A number of backend components are also in place such as AWS Elasticsearch and document storage.