On our single date in Hong Kong, we were welcomed by the members of another hackerspace, what made us think about the great encounters we had during the first two months we spent in Europe. Dim Sum Labs (DSL) is located on the Hong Kong island, surrounded by a large number of incredibly high skyscrapers. A small but very cozy space full of tools and electronic devices serves as a meeting point and working space for a group of around thirty hackers/makers. DSL hosts regular events like Hackjams, Free Software development evenings and workshops where everyone can learn about electronics, build creative things and have a good time meeting people. Running our workshop there was possible thanks to the help of Open Data Hong Kong (ODHK), a group of passionate individuals that joined forces one year ago and is actively promoting Open Data in the HK region, building a network and organising events around the topic. Our session took place as part of their regular Meet series.
As ODHK has already done a great job making awareness on the benefits of Open Data, we decided not to present our usual beginners targeted workshop and prepared new contents that would be more suitable for the attendees. On the video below, you can see our recap of the most exciting projects we have discovered till now.
The open discussion following our presentation was extremely interesting, probably because of Hong Kong’s unique context. Since centuries, the archipelago has been a cultural melting pot and nowadays shows a very open character in areas such as culture, demographics and economy. Since its retrocession to China in 1997, Hong Kong owns a special status: the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. This guarantees a certain independency regarding Open Data/Open Government policies that allows the existence of an Open Data platform although there is no, as in mainland, Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA). The HK administration shows itself quite active promoting openness, organises Hackathons and sponsors competitions to encourage the use of the released data. Also, a governmental initiative called Digital21 ensures that public information gets released in machine-readable formats by the time it is created, similar as it happens in the US/UK.
Although our stay in HK was quite short, we have learned a lot from the activists of this amazing metropole. We would like to thank again ODHK for their collaboration and wish them a lot of success on their future activities, specially finding a great space for their headquarters!