When this site was first developed in 1998 it was designed as a source of information for governments in developing countries seeking information on suitable management software. In 1999 modules in seven languages were added to assist developing countries to cope with the Y2K problem and the GPS rollover. The Y2K and GPS rollover pages were removed at the end of 2000. Focus later changed to providing links to data, mostly from UN sources, available for economic and other analysis at the national, regional and global levels. The site is now once again in transition. In addition to links to free sources of economic data, the site will also include a section on open-source (free) software including PC based Linux operating systems. The open source software for Linux and Windows (including the Linux operating system) has developed to the point where the average computer user can now use free software to replace most of the functionality of commercial office software products and operating systems.The site will eventually include sample models using selected data sources for making simple long term projections of food security and other current economic issues.
The site is designed to load quickly in low bandwidth areas, but the
underlying code is being revised to make the pages both more HTML5 and CSS3
compliant. The conversion will take several months and will start with
the conversion of the existing data links to HTML5 and CSS3. The pages
are being tested on the latest versions of Mozilla Firefox, Google
Chrome and Internet Explorer as well as on Safari on the iPad.
This site will be of interest to government officials, students, researchers and others interested in development issues to find free online sources of national economic and social data as well as online sources of relevant free software applications. The site will also examine some of the data problems which must be solved by anyone wishing to combine data available from the different databases.
In April 2010 the World Bank announced that access to all of its online databases is now free of charge. Since then the Bank has made its existing databases available with a common interface, giving access to more than 2,000 social and economic indicators for more than 200 countries. Depending on the database, historical time series cover the period from 1960 to 2012. More extensive information on the revised World Bank data bases is provided in the Multi-Sector section of this web site. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has also provided free full-service access to its FAOstat database.The UN has established an open data policy. Given the major changes implied by the these decisions, all of the pages in this web site are being reviewed and revised.