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Land Portal | Job Opportunity: (Open) Data Officer

The Land Portal Foundation is seeking a dynamic and highly motivated (Open) Data Officer to join our dynamic data team in charge of leading the information and data sharing needs of the Land Portal.  The (Open) Data Officer will ensure all data harvested and published by the Land Portal is highly curated and managed and respond to open data standards and FAIR principles. The (Open) Data Officer will also contribute to advocacy and capacity building strategy and ensure uptake of such principles by the land community.

The successful candidate will also be welcomed into a small, dedicated  and disbursed team of international professionals that make up the Land Portal.  The Land Portal is an inclusive space and we encourage applications from women, and candidates from the Global South.

Organizational profile

At the Land Portal, we believe that data and information are powerful tools for achieving our vision of a land governance system that benefits those with the most insecure land rights and the greatest vulnerability to landlessness. However, information sources remain highly fragmented, unstructured, poorly curated and represent a narrow range of perspectives; they continue to be published in ways that do not facilitate maximum discovery, engagement and reuse. Until policy and decision-makers, intermediaries and grassroots groups have access to the data and information they need to make sound decisions, their initiatives will fail to achieve maximum impact.

The Land Portal exists to fill in these gaps, and to nurture a vibrant online platform to inform and engage with partners.  We do this by promoting open data and the sharing of best practices and stimulating debate and collaboration both on and offline. We provide a vital bridge for those grappling with complex land governance issues, from researchers and NGOs through to governments and grassroots communities, by  connecting people, facilitating dialogue and by mending fragmented information.

Raising awareness of “open data” and the critical role it plays in realizing tenure security for individuals and communities around the world continues to be a great challenge. To this end, we make use of every possible conference, meeting and speaking engagement to promote the concept of “going open,” while recognizing that, given the highly sensitive nature of land data (particularly for vulnerable communities), not everything can or should be made entirely open.

We set out an ambitious new strategy in 2019  to improve the documentation, mapping and monitoring of land governance issues; enrich and inform the global debate on land rights; and democratize access to the land governance “information ecosystem” and improve the flow of data between diverse actors.  The (Open) Data Officer plays an important role in building this information ecosystem.

Job Description

The (Open) Data Officer will be responsible for data ingestions and updates in the Land Portal database, with special attention to the Land Portal’s priority themes (Urban Tenure, Gender & Land, Land & Investments, Land Monitoring Initiatives, Community & Indigenous Land Rights), as well as support and contribution to Land Portal’s knowledge products including the State of Land Information work and and thematic and country portfolios and contribute to open data advocacy strategy and capacity building efforts.

Principal Tasks & Responsibilities:

  1. Keep the Land Portal Database constantly up-to-date and curated by updating Statistical, Bibliographic, and Project data importers and checking it against errors;
  2. Keep documentation for all re-run importers up-to-date.
  3. Ingest new Statistical, Bibliographic, and Project data in the Land Portal database, based on Land Portal priority themes. This includes:
    • Scope and triage new statistical, spatial and project datasets and bibliographic repositories to ingest that are relevant for Land Portal priority themes;
    • Collaborate with the Information Management & Advocacy Officer to develop quarterly data plans and prioritize sources for ingestion; assist in communication with data providers and other external parties;
    • Curate and perform preliminary quality checks for the data,
    • Develop scripts to ingest data, working with API and CSV files;
    • Run importers to generate RDF and upload RDF data to Virtuoso;
    • For bibliographic data importers, analyze and curate external metadata, map external data (metadata models, taxonomies, etc.) to the Library’s data model and, finally, profile missing publishers as organizations on the Portal (incl. documenting number of new publishers) before running the importer and ingesting data in the Library and Virtuoso;
    • Document process of ingestion for each importer on the process and the code for developers;
  4. Contribute in improving research methodology and performing of Open Data Assessments on Land Portal’s State of Land Information (SOLI)
    • Contribute to the continuous development and refinement of the research methodology of the State of Land Information (SOLI);
    • Write the Open Data Compliance assessment upon identified datasets and repositories based on SOLI scoping country exercises;
    • Review and provide comments to the Open Data Assessment Report written by the Land Data Advocacy & Management Officer.
  5. Assist with developing the Land Projects content type as well as ingesting relevant project data
    • Support the process of migration of Land Governance map Database into the land Portal; develop specification and oversee user needs assessment, development of specifications and web development in close collaboration with the GDWGL, Land Portal data and ICT teams;
    • Further enhance project (meta-)data model and identify possible new (standard) taxonomies to use;
    • In close collaboration the Land Data Advocacy & Management Officer, scope for, prioritize and triage potential land project databases and land individual projects/programs to ingest into the new Land Portal Database and assist in communication with data owners and other external parties;
    • Generate new project importers based on priority list. Analyze and curate external metadata, map external data model (metadata models, taxonomies, etc.) to the Land Portal’s model and, finally, profile missing project owners as organizations on the Portal before running the importer and ingesting data in Drupal and Virtuoso;
    • Document process of ingestion for each importer on the process and the code for developers.
  6. Provide support to the development of LandVoc
    • Provide IT support to the LandVoc website, (link is external);
    • Maintain and ensure consistent lists of concepts are recorded in all places Landvoc is used and/or stored (i.e. LandVoc website, AGROVOC Vocbench, internal Drive documentation and in Drupal) in collaboration with the Information Management Officer;
    • Provide advice and guidance on the future strategy and development of LandVoc based on expertise in semantic web and ontology management.
Qualifications and skills

The successful candidate will be selected against the following:

  • University Education (Masters level or higher, or equivalent) in Information Science, information management or any other relevant fields;
  • Programming skills (eg. Python, Java);
  • Knowledge of Drupal; Vocbench, Skosmos, Bootstrap;
  • Knowledge of Virtuoso;
  • Proven experience in data management (2 to 5 years);
  • Strong knowledge about open data, semantic web, linked data, controlled vocabularies and data sharing technologies;
  • Knowledge about data standards and metadata standards;
  • Fluency in English. Knowledge of other languages would be an asset;
  • Superior attention to detail;
  • Good drafting, communicating and presenting abilities;
  • knowledge of land governance related issues and land data landscape;
  • Experience working as part of an international distributed, remote team;
  • Disciplined – good at managing time.
  • Strong capacity to work in a team, autonomously, and respect tight deadlines.
Personal and Professional Attributes
  • Inclusive and effective communication skills and techniques with an ability to respectfully engage with, and communicate concepts to others;
  • High standard of ethics and integrity which inspires trust and confidence;
  • Enthusiasm and commitment to sustained effort through diligence and pursuit of high standards;
  • Commitment to ongoing personal and professional development which drives best practice.
  • Proactively utilizes initiative, innovation and a commitment to continuous improvement;
  • Strong collaborative skills which enable effective engagement within a high functioning, cohesive team;
  • Ability to employ sound judgment and decision making amongst competing demands;
  • Ability to show initiative in planning and developing new ideas and approaches, and to implement and communicate change effectively;
  • Problem-solving attitude;
  • Diplomacy, team spirit and willingness to take initiative;
  • Ability to meet strict deadlines.

The (Open) Data Officer will report directly to the Land Portal Team Leader and will be accountable to the Board of the Land Portal Foundation. She/he will work under the supervision of the Land Information Management & Advocacy Officer and will report time spent against the ToRs every month in the Land Portal Foundation’s Timesheets; She/he will develop weekly and quarterly work plans in close cooperation with the Land Information Management & Advocacy Officer and will report accordingly.


This position is home-based and will be staffed on a part-time (5-6 days/month) consultancy basis for a year following a probationary period of 3 months. The official language for this position is English. The salary level will depend on experience and seniority.

How to apply?

Please send your curriculum vitae (CV) and a cover letter explaining your interests and qualifications (addressed to Laura Meggiolaro, Land Portal Team Leader) no later than midnight CET on  19 March, 2021 or email your cover letter and CV to (link sends e-mail).

Please write “(Open) Data Officer –  Job Application” as the subject of the email.