Crowdsourcing the Smart City –
New Methodologies for Participatory Mapping & Civic Co-Management of Urban Environments
Public lecture by Dr. Tomas Holderness
Tuesday, 26 April, 2016
V302, 3/F, Jockey Club Innovation Tower
School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
The concurrent rise of Internet-connected smart phones, access to global navigation satellite systems, and social media networks have created a geospatial data revolution in cities aroundthe world. The smartphone’s ability to capture, compute and communicate data in collaboration with platforms such as OpenStreetMap, and the power afforded to organize mass participation by social media, have imploded traditional data vacuums and access protocols in cities around the world. It has now been proven that when it is shared in an open manner, crowd-sourced geospatial media collected by residents can be used to solve real-world engineering challenges. Furthermore, the instantaneous nature of data sharing between mobile devices enabled by social media networks means that cities can harness this information to respond to critical events in real-time.
This public lecture explores the design, creation and deployment of the world’s first real-time megacity flood map PetaJakarta.org in Jakarta, Indonesia. Using a geosocial intelligence approach to megacity flooding, the project engages social media, citizen journalism, digital sensors and government alerts to plot locations of flooding in real-time on a free and open map. By connecting both informal and formal data sources, the map acts as a cartographic interface for civic co-management, enabling individuals, communities, government agencies and NGOs to respond more effectively to flood events caused by the annual monsoon rains. PetaJakarta.org is now used operationally by the Jakarta Emergency Management Agency to collect and communicate locations of flooding with residents. In conclusion, the presentation will examine how these methodologies and techniques can be applied to different application domains and geographic regions, as a platform for information gathering and sharing in cities around the world.
Dr. Tomas Holderness is a Geomatics Specialist and Chartered Geographer at the SMART Infrastructure Facility, University of Wollongong where he leads the Open Source Geospatial Lab and co-directs the PetaJakarta.org project with Dr. Etienne Turpin. His research focuses on understanding the response of megacities to extreme weather events, through the development of new geographical information systems. His research into the use of social media to crowdsource real-time flood information in Jakarta has been featured in the World Disasters Report, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian and National Geographic.
This lecture is jointly organized by Melissa Cate Christ (School of Design, PolyU), Dr. Daisy Tam (Department of Humanities and Creative Writing, HKBU) and Open Data Hong Kong and supported by the General Research Fund HKBU12609215 and HKBU Faculty Research Grant
A group of open data fans organises Open Data Day this year in Hong Kong.
1. Please add topic(s) and introduce yourself at above hackpad.
2. House Rules at Odd-e office: remove your shoes outsides the door before you enter the office space.
3. Capacity: 20 participants (up to 30 participants)
4. Bring your own laptop and power charger.
5. Help to bring a 4-socket extension leads if you can.
6. Bring your refillable water bottle.
7. Buy and bring some snacks and drinks to share. Please refill after lunch if you enjoy snacks & drinks provided by Odd-e.
99. To make sure everyone enjoy the event, please respect others, and follow common code of conducts of tech conference.
10:30 Opening, Idea Pitching
18:00 Presentations, Closing.
19:00 Networking Hour, Clean-up, Venue closed before 8:00pm
Venue: Odd-e office, 19/F, 35-36 Connaught Rd West, Sheung Wan. aka Connaught Harbour Front House (B2B)
(上環 干諾道西 35-36號康諾維港大廈 19/F)
Date: Friday, June 12 at 7:00pm
Venue: DM Lab, Eliot Hall, The University of Hong Kong
In a world where citizens can 3D map areas with drones, or annotate and improve upon OpenStreetMaps, the HK Lands department still charges “reproduction costs” for PDFs of government maps. It is time for Hong Kong to follow the lead of other countries and open up a resource that will greatly benefit its citizens, far more than charging for these resources.
At this meet we’ll discuss the issue of Open Mapping data, as well as academic research data policy with Professor John Bacon-Shone from The University of Hong Kong.
John is Associate Dean (Knowledge Exchange) of Social Sciences, Director of the Social Sciences Research Centre and will speak on his own experiences of trying to obtain access to HKSARG data for both research and public access, as well as examples of HKSARG data that has been lost. As a long time advocate of Open Access in Hong Kong, he’ll hopefully also cover data management policy in HKU and how to balance research integrity, confidentiality and public good.
Chaired by Darcy Wade Christ, we’ll have data users on hand for an interesting discussion about how to encourage and support the Hong Kong Government to open up their mapping data for free.
This event will be hosted at the Digital Media lab on the ground floor of the JMSC at HKU.
All are welcome!
Also, check out the event on Facebook, and rsvp!
The Data.One site was revamped to now be Data.Gov.HK
On Wednesday the Hong Kong Government’s Office of the Government Chief Information Officer unveiled their revamp of their Public Sector Information (“PSI”) portal, taking pride in still making available its 3000 datasets for the public to use for both commerical and non-commercial purposes. Hong Kong’s open data enthusiasts familiar with the old site “Data.One” will appreciate the new “Data.Gov.HK” site’s easier navigation, improved functionality and categories. With this revamp, the government is demonstrating its continued support of availability of PSI and echoing the Financial Secretary’s 2014-2015 commitment to push all government bureaux and departments to:
“[make] all government information released for public consumption machine-readable in digital formats from next year onwards to provide more opportunities for the business sector.”
The revamp is a step towards this goal, identifying what departments submit what data, and its ease of navigation encourages access and use of existing government data sets, which is good. Through there are some snags and errors in the new site, this is expected of any website update. Surely government is reviewing the problems but as the site doesn’t support a dialogue or connection with the public, that is hard to tell.
While governments around the world are realizing greater policy review through scrutiny, supporting greater civic engagement, and realizing better efficiency by supporting Open Data, the government’s revamp demonstrates that the Hong Kong government is still just catching up with past trends to publish government information data. While there is no debate that government making data available “opens up new business opportunities” as well as “bring convenience to the public and benefit society as a whole”, the site runs short in its approach that it can merely publish a number of datasets without a view of data quality or update a site and that apps and benefits will just materialize. To realize similar benefits as seen by other governments, the HK government should work with open data enthusiasts and also adopt the same open data principles and standards of the international community.
Open Data Hong Kong recommends the government adopt Open Data standards and principles, and reflect that with the Data.Gov.HK site. Namely:
Adopt an open license on the datasets
The Terms and Conditions are problematic for supporting app-building, collaboration, and analysis of government data. The following terms are examples:
- “you shall reproduce and distribute the Data accurately, fairly and sufficiently;”
Data used for apps and analysis will get reformatted. And inaccurate data will have to be corrected and modified by developers and analysts. Would this be considered breaking this condition? It is unclear, ambiguous, and thus stifling. Although the terms and conditions include a waiver of responsibility by the government, this condition is confusing at the least and overbearing at the most. OGCIO should adopt an Open License such as CCO or copy the UK Open Government License on the datasets.
Improve communication & engagement
Users of the site can’t find out which datasets are new, if there are any. As much as the site would like to see use among the 3000+ datasets (with more to be added regularly), supporting better communication and engagement among users would be useful for information to flow both ways.
It’s not enough just to have datasets available, the data has to be effective, relevant, usable. How can users provide feedback about the datasets and communicate to government about the effectiveness (or uselessness) of a dataset? Or that a dataset is missing? This is not in the functionality of the site. An example of doing this comes from the Government of Canada where they ask for users to “Suggest a data set”, as well as functionality for users to provide a rating on datasets, and the hosting of open data competitions (which are also open to people outside of Canada).
It’s about the data. Data Quality.
Users of the datasets continue to have problems with the quality of the data. This hasn’t changed with the site revamp. Users have reported unclear and inexistent schemas for datasets, inferior data types for the data, and inexistent API support for pervasive connection with data. Although data sets can be very different from one another, the right file type and data connection goes a long way to supporting app development and value for the public, and avoiding severe headaches from app developers and head-scratching from analysts. We encourage OGCIO to provide departments or provide the right expertise and support for bureaux and departments making datasets available.
Commitment to the future
The data.gov.hk update demonstrates government’s support for making data available to support the public. Open Data Hong Kong continues to reach out to OGCIO and the rest of government to improve this, while recommending full support of open data to best realize public benefit.
The ODHK Research and Communications working group started in March, 2015 with the following objective:
- Identifying 4-5 active researchers and communication specialists and seeking both local and international funding for open data projects;
- Identifying participating in conferences and symposia related to the topic of open data (and open government), both in HK and abroad.
If you would like to join this working group, sign up here: