Ninety per cent of all data ever created has been produced in the past two years. This includes data generated by people as well as the billions of sensors all over the world that are creating data every second and communicating with servers over the internet, creating what is called the Internet of Things.
Enabled by the rapid spread of technology and a more affordable access to the internet and mobile networks, the availability of digital data, in new and different forms, has grown at massive scale. Several initiatives have been launched in recent years that have explored diverse ways to leverage these new types of digital data for more targeted, effective and efficient development interventions.
In this report, we look at the state of digital data for development and emerging trends. We aim to support German development cooperation in integrating and prioritising data approaches and investments in their work. In this study we focus on four data categories: big data, open data, citizen-generated data and real-time data. The selection of these categories considered two key dimensions: (1) the growing use in development-related policy discussions, and (2) the ability to capture key characteristics of interest, including size, access, source, and timeliness of data. We believe these categories provide a good starting point to explore how digital data production and use might lead to better development outcomes.