Project-Level Aid Database (PLAID/Aiddata.org)

College of William & Mary and Brigham Young University, 2008-2009

View the latest version of PLAID


We designed and built the Project-Level Aid Database (PLAID), a project sponsored by the College of William & Mary and Brigham Young University under a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The resulting application integrated various disparate systems to allow PLAID staff to efficiently enter data on 1.5 million foreign assistance projects resulting in an accurate record and reporting of project-level aid around the globe.

The Client

The College of William & Mary is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia and is the second oldest institution of higher education in the US after Harvard. Brigham Young University a private research university in Provo, Utah.

Wireframe of Project Search Screen

Wireframe of Project Search Screen

Improve access and quality of data on development finance

The objective of the PLAID project (Project Level Aid Database) was to improve the transparency, completeness, historical accuracy, and timeliness of data on development finance. The goal was to create a highly usable tool making data available to the international development community.

Creating an accurate display of project-level aid data

2Paths defined and implemented a scalable database model, extensible web-based data entry, analysis, visualization and reporting system. The project compiled the various disparate pieces of information from multiple organizations to create an accurate display of project-level aid around the globe. As part of this, we designed and developed APIs that allow access to PLAID data. Both an internal and external interface was developed to allow different types of users to access data based upon their respective needs.

The internal interface addressed the needs of PLAID administrators and employees whereas the public interface allows any external body to access the data in a read-only fashion. A RESTful API was developed to allow third parties to search and retrieve the existing data without making use of the public user interface.

The internal interface provided a workflow to allow data entry by PLAID staff of detailed financial, operational and location information for 1.5 million foreign assistance and development projects.

Technologies used

  • Java / Grails / Groovy
  • MogileFS
  • PostgreSQL