The World Bank has done an admirable job of opening its data for public access. The World Bank has lots of data, much of it at the national level, and throwing it into the public arena — which it did in April — was a gutsy and right move.

They now have a contest, with $45K in prizes, to encourage the development of apps that make use of that data via its APIs. Here’s more about the data:

The World Bank Indicators API lets you programmatically access more than 3,000 indicators and query the data in several ways, using parameters to specify your request. Many data series date back 50 years, and can be used to create interesting applications. You can read more about the data itself in the API Sources section. The projects API provides access to all World Bank projects, including closed projects, active projects, and those in the pipeline. The dataset includes pilot geocode data on project locations; note that these data are collected through a desk study of existing project documents and are being released as a test database — further work is required for data validation and quality enhancements…

Releasing all this data must have required a lot of cultural transformation work. Wow.