FCO to boost cloud analysis setup

A new procurement process has been launched to bring in new features such as geospatial analysis

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has launched a new tender to add new features to its cloud analysis platform.

According to the FCO, the three-month project will focus on its existing system, which draws on a number of data sources and provides basic analysis functionality.

The project is owned by the FCO’s Open Source Unit (OSU) and the aim is to meet a wide range of informational and analytical foreign policy use cases around open data, across spheres such as crisis response, consular services, security and sustainability.

Analytical capabilities of the platform, according to the FCO, are at an early stage of development and the goal is to enable users to better exploit the full potential of the data.

The OSU already has three data scientists who would be involved with the data science aspects of the project such as machine learning and data wrangling.

According to the procurement notice, which has a budget of £156,000, is to build on this by improving the geographical querying and visualisation capabilities, adding functionality to enable users to curate their own visualisations and dashboards and building functionality for users to explore the relationships between entities featured in the data.

The project has already made some progress, according to the FCO. Initial prototyping, followed by a five-month development phase to get the platform into a live production state with active daily users, has already been carried out.

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According to the description of work that has already been done, the cloud architecture for the project has been put into place and provides “a suitable foundation for further feature development”.

In addition, data pipelines exist that provide regular updates from a number of sources, which can be replicated to link to other potential sources. Similarly, other back-end components currently in place can be expanded, such as Elasticsearch for document storage. The intention is to also utilise a front-end that has already been developed.

The majority of the applicants so far are small and medium-sized enterprises. Interested parties can submit applications by 18 December 2019 at noon.

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