On September 18, 2014 over five dozen open data experts from China and the USA met online at the first East/West Chats event focused on Open Data Innovation. The brain-child of Bruce Haupt, an American currently living in Chengdu, the event came from a desire to link experts from the two regions to discuss open data initiatives and foster future collaboration. In the two-hour virtual conversation, technology experts, civic leaders, and entrepreneurs from the USA and China detailed interesting projects and ideas coming from their region, and participants were able to share content and best practices through a collaborative platform set up for the event.
During the chats, the City of Houston participants announced the City’s new open data policy, that makes non-confidential and non-critical data available to the public through an online portal. The City also shared that various departments routinely team with Open Houston, an over 500 member organization of coders, to host hackathons and civic innovation events to find creative solutions for common issues within the City. On China’s side, the Beijing Xicheng—Tsinghua Tongheng Urban Data Lab (XUDL) presented its Wuxi City Mobile Data Analysis, where X-UDL used mobile phone location data of the residents of the city in order to visualize patterns of movement, as well as to identify mobile phone users who were residents of the city versus temporary visitors. Local Data shared its success story about developing products and interfaces that improve the field of urban planning and community development using the open data. The event participants also had an opportunity to learn about IT solutions to environmental issues from a Shanghai-based NGO- Shanghai Qingyue.
The East/West Chats were made possible by community partners that include Accela, Audaque, Beijing CIty Lab, Harvard Government Innovators Network, mGov Lab China, Open Data 500, Open Houston, Open Knowledge Foundation China, Shenzhen Urban Planning and LAnd Resource Research Center, Shenzhen Urban Transport Planning Center Co. Ltd., Socrata, and The Cleanweb Initiative. Organizers from both regions included Bruce Haupt, Matthew Shailer, Jeff Reichman, Feng GAO, Mart Van de Ven and Doug Bastien, and Michelle Li Wen.
There is currently a second Est/West Chats in the works for mid-October. To find out more information, or to learn how to participate, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit eastwestchats.com.