Meet.35: Data Data Data

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Wednesday, November 2 at 7pm at Campfire CoWorking Space in Kennedy Town
4/F Cheung Hing Industrial Building, 12P Smithfield, Kennedy Town

We’re going to work with data, and start building a repository for common public data. Data about land, public transportation, public safety, political districts, weather, pollution, shark fins, the ivory trade, anything. Even “better data” – the data we want to see on data.gov.hk and don’t see it. We’ll bring it all together, and make it shareable. We’ll discuss what we want to access, how we can get it, and liberate it for all to access and use.

You do NOT need to be technical to join this! Bring your minds and curiosity. Ask your questions, and start on a journey of getting the information you want.
We anticipate getting our hands dirty with data, so please bring your laptop if you can.

Add this event to your Google Calendar

Directions:
NOTE: Do not follow Google Maps! Only 5 minutes from Kennedy Town MTR exit A, go UPHILL
Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/3sYaHVScPNG2

Thank you to Campfire Collaborative Space for hosting us.

Meet.34: Open Data Tools

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Let’s showcase some tools we are working on to support open data in Hong Kong:

  • A data warehouse for open data for the public;
  • A projects database listing of open data projects;
  • A(nother) Legco watch site, and more.

If you also have a project, come show it to us.
If you want to learn more and be part of the action, come out and get involved.
Confirm attendance on Facebook.
Directions:
NOTE: Do not follow Google Maps! Only 3 minutes from Kennedy Town MTR’s only exit A, go UPHILL.
Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/3sYaHVScPNG2
Thank you to Campfire Collaborative Space for hosting us.

Date: Tomorrow, Wednesday October 12, 2016, 7pm

Location: Campfire Collaborative Space, 4/F, Cheung Hing Industrial Building, 12P Smithfield.
Directions: Only 3 minutes from Kennedy Town MTR’s only exit A, go UPHILL.
Google Map link

 

Policy lessons learned from real smart cities

Dumb Versus Smart Cities
img_2608It seemed appropriate in the same week that Hong Kong was hosting a smart city summit to host a meetup getting valuable insight into how a true smart city – Taipei – works. Taipei Mayoral Advisor TH Schee was in town and gave us a “fireside chat” insight into the secrets of Taiwan’s success here, and inspire us with ideas on how to set up an open data policy for Hong Kong. Despite styling itself as Asia’s World City, and “smart city” being the buzzword in Government circles that everybody is targeting to get funding for, Hong Kong has a long way to prove itself in this area. A smart city is an urban development vision to integrate multiple data sources to manage a city’s asset . Without open data to drive them, smart cities are doomed to failure, and Hong Kong’s poor digital policies means it will continue to be overtaken by its neighbours in innovation and technology. This means it is particularly timely and topical to ask policy lessons we can learn from our most successful neighbour in this field, Taiwan.
Hong Kong has dropped out of the top 10 of the WIPO global innovation index in recent years, and is currently ranked 37th in the Open Knowledge Open Data Index. And due to a misreading of the HK Government data licensing policy (which are not open or interoperable by any definition) without this overly generous scoring would mean we would likely rank 20-30 places lower. Contrast this with Taiwan, which in the last Index overtook the UK to be the highest ranked place in the world for Open Data. From the outside it seems a data-driven utopia, with a new “Minister for Data” moving from g0v.tw citizen-run open data groups such as ours to now being in the heart of Government.

TH Schee has been at the front line of this Taiwanese Open Data revolution, and has written interesting blogs on the topic, but it was great having him come and talk us through the backstory and potential policy lessons in person. With extra juice stories of the unsung heroes behind the scenes to be told. Meet.33 was our first gathering in a while, and it was great to see such a huge turnout. Thanks to Justice Centre Hong Kong for giving us the space in Sai Ying Pun at such short notice, and to Adam Severson for giving us an intro on the great work they do single handedly supporting refugee legal services in Hong Kong. Adam also give us a quick intro on the difficulties they as a NGO face decision making in an information vacuum where the government politicizes immigration and crime data but refuses to share any of it.
Open Data versus Natural Disasters
Getting a government sceptical of transparency to share data is a challenge, but one that Taiwan seems to have managed admirably. The process of trust building and collaboration between civic hackers and government in Taiwan had an unlikely ally: mother nature. Or more specifically, natural disasters such as the many earthquakes and typhoons that pound Taiwan with unfortunate regularity. The disastrous typhoon Morakot in 2009 was the turning point in how Taiwan dealt with data. Official government communication early in the crisis failed, causing people to turn to websites run NGOs and the civic hacker community. Web users began reporting the real-time situation on the bulletin board forum PTT and on early social media platforms like plunk. At the height of the crisis an unofficial Morakot Online Disaster Report Center was established by a group of internet users from the Association of Digital Culture. The government quickly realized that this information was saving lives, and this website was then integrated into local governments’ communication systems and updated from the official disaster response center. From the trust and experience gathered in the front line of “internet rescue management” the people involved help seed the initial environment that has allowed this open data driven society to bloom (see this published case study for more). TH presented a very detailed timeline of this covering the founding of communities such as g0v.tw and opendata.tw, data journalism and open data social enterprises spin offs, and how many the people involved in these citizen organization then made their way into the heart of government. Initially from the Mayors of Taipei and Taichung running on open data policy driven platforms, culminating in Audrey Tang becoming minister without portfolio in the new national government.
How we can take policy lessons from this in soft , natural-disaster-free Hong Kong is another matter, but it shows we need to be prepared, and we need to build similar networks of organisations leading by example. One advantage Taiwan has had is a strong open source and open access community in academia (particularly Academia Sinica) that has always been a safe haven and place of continuous support for these efforts. We don’t yet have an equivalent in Hong Kong, but some members of ODHK have just put together an overview and survey on research data policy (see the pre-print), a nascent Asian open access network is forming, and this years Open Access Week looks to be the biggest in Hong Kong so far, with 3 events organised already. We recorded TH’s talk on periscope so you can see the archive there, as well as inspect his incredibly detailed slides. A one hour discussion really wasn’t enough, and we hope we can tempt TH back another time to give us more insight. We have more regular meetups in the pipeline, and our next one is on the Wednesday 12th October on open data tools at Campfire in Kennedy Town. We hope to see many of you there, and continue to build these communities that will hopefully let Hong Kong follow a similar trajectory to Taiwan.
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ODHK.meet.33: Crafting an Open Data Policy

It’s time to craft an open data policy for Hong Kong. To do this, we can learn a lot from Taiwan, who are ranked #1 on the Global Open Data Index, due in no small part to the work of TH Schee, mayoral advisor to the Taipei City Government.
We’ll talk with TH Schee to know more about the wonderful things open data is doing for Taipei and Taiwan, about the open data policies in place, how it’s working in government, and know some strategies for communicating with government and stakeholders to get support for open data. We’ll also discuss how citizens, private sector and NGOs can make informed decisions with better access to data.

Location:

Justice Centre Hong Kong, 18th Floor, 202-204 Des Voeux Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
Map location
MTR: Sai Ying Pun, head west from Exit A2
Thank you to the Justice Centre Hong Kong for hosting us.

More about T.h. Schee:

Since 2002, TH Schee has pioneered several web projects that spawned several local NGOs and start-ups. In 2006, he co-founded Association of Digital Cultures Taiwan, and was the local Taipei Wikimania host in 2007. In 2009, the Association became the first group in Asia to manage mobilized digital communities for crowdsourcing government data in response to a national crisis situation. Other endeavors include Puncar, the largest digital inclusion project at the local level. Schee was later awarded an Honorary Mention in Digital Communities from Prix Arts Electronica. Existing social ventures include Open Knowledge Taiwan, the Data Science Program, and various partnership initiatives that span across healthcare, urban development, and public service innovation. He has been an invited specialist on the UN-GGIM and serves at International Committee on Prix Ars Electronica. He is also mayoral advisor to the Taipei City Government.
See TH Schee’s TEDx talk (Chinese)
Date: Wednesday, September 21, 2016, 7pm.

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Crowdsourcing the Smart City

Crowdsourcing the Smart City – New Methodologies for Participatory Mapping & Civic Co-Management of Urban EnvironmentsCrowdsourcing the Smart City –
New Methodologies for Participatory Mapping & Civic Co-Management of Urban Environments

Public lecture by Dr. Tomas Holderness
Tuesday, 26 April, 2016

6:30-8:00pm
V302, 3/F, Jockey Club Innovation Tower
School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Abstract

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.

Biography

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

Hong Kong versus Zika: come fight the “data gap” at #ZikaHackathon

Open Data versus the Mosquito
The current global panic about zika can be boiled down a “data gap” issue. Gaps in understanding of why it has started spreading so rapidly now, a gulf in fathoming its effects on pregnant women (evidence linking zika and microcephaly is still only spatio-temporal rather than causational), and gaps in sharing the research data and clinical specimens that will enable the global research community to keep one step ahead of the virus spread. As with Ebola, there has been much frustration of many key players not sharing these materials. Despite the fact that in a life-and-death situation wild speculation and panic fills the vacuum, and closed data risks lives.
All this makes the zika crisis a perfect opportunity to harness the benefits and showcase the utility of open approaches. In particularly open and collaborative efforts using Open Data and Open Source hardware. An international group of makers / hackers / scientists / citizen scientists trying to develop innovative measures against zika, and Open Data Hong Kong have teamed up with MakerBay to join these efforts. Join us at the zika hackathon on the 16th February at MakerBay in Yau Tong (see their event page here). We’ll be linking up with the global google hangout with other zika hackathon participants in Brazil, Australia, Singapore, and beyond. Then discussing and pitching projects where we can contribute from here in Hong Kong. From both of our data hacking and hardware hacking perspectives, and where these different stands of “open” can be combined to produce crowdsourced data collection tools and apps to see if citizens can do better than the supposed experts in filling in these data gaps.
Singapore 1: HK 0 for data driven approachesThe “Asian tiger mosquito” Aedes Albopictus, which is among 60 types of mosquito that can carry the virus if it bites an infected person, is endemic to Hong Kong. The warmer year-round weather and more extreme rainfall patterns we are currently seeing will make the city even more favourable for mosquitoes from the Aedes genus, sparking warnings from local health officials to eliminate breeding areas. On top of the threats of zika, we already have sporadic dengue outbreaks from these vectors, and the Hong Kong government currently has an Oviposition Trap (Ovitrap) screening program to detect the presence of adult mosquitoes. With only 52 locations across Hong Kong selected for the vector surveillance, and the mosquitoes having a roughly 200m range, more than 98% of Hong Kong is currently not covered and there is a need for much more data collection and presentation (the FEHD presenting not very helpful PDFs). Contrasting this with the more dynamic data driven approaches of dengue reporting Singapore uses, Kaggle competitions for West Nile Virus modelling, and Spanish efforts at crowdsourcing tiger mosquito spotting (with no Hong Kong data collected to date) show a few approaches we could follow here.
Are you interested in getting involved and use your creativity to develop innovative technologies and contribute to understand and prevent zika from spreading? Let’s meet up! The event will be co-hosted by Scott from ODHK and Ajoy, Jacky and Nicolas from MakerBay, and efforts will be longitudinal following the ongoing international hackathon efforts. For more see:


Date:
Tuesday, February 16th 2016, 6:00pm
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Location:
Location: MakerBay, 16 Sze Shan Street, C1 Yau Tong Industrial Building Block 2, Yau Tong, Kowloon
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UPDATE 23/2/16: MakerBay have a write-up of this event now posted, and you can see the archived livestream below. Thanks to everyone who attended, and keep following to see how the pitched projects develop.