This blog provides information on the Regional Talks: Asia Session, which will be held at the 4th International Data Conference (IODC) on Friday October 7, 2016 from 18:00 – 19:00 (CEST) in Room A. Further information on the session can be found here.
Asia is fast becoming the centre of digital innovation for the world. The region accounts for half of the world’s 2.8 billion Internet users, and it is already the largest regional e-commerce market. Following the rapid growth in digital economy, governments around Asia agree that open data is one of the most critical elements of momentum required to keep the balance between economic growth and social equality. It is also thought to be required to increase government transparency and public participation, and to serve as the foundation for innovative services when combined with the private sector’s creativity, which further develops economic value.
Following the global movement of open data and data economy, starting from 2010, governments in Asia started to develop the national open data agenda. According to Open Knowledge Foundation’s global open data index (announced at end of 2015), many Asian countries performed well and were ranked within the top one-third of the rankings (e.g., Taiwan (1), India (17), Korea and Singapore (23), Japan (31), Kyrgyzstan (34), Hong Kong (37), Indonesia (41), Thailand (42)).
In September of 2015, representatives from Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Philippines, and Indonesia gathered for the 1st Asia Pacific Open Data Summit (APODS) hosted by Taiwan at Taipei, to exchange experiences in developing open data and it’s applications. During the event the representatives announced the joint preparation of an Asia Open Data Partnership (AODP). Based on this partnership, members started to work together to raise the awareness of open data and it’s potential in innovative applications.
Members started the collaboration with a cross country hackathon in August 2016. This hackathon involved three different countries—Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia—with a unique theme of open data-based innovation, and different application focus for each country.
Taiwan seeks to explore the benefits of open data in public service; while Thailand would like to provide more innovative agricultural solutions with open data; and Indonesia is working on addressing the problem of preservation of arts and culture through data-driven initiatives.
Following this hackathon, members and global experts gathered again on September 7-8, 2016, for the 2nd APODS, together with a AODP meeting hosted by Bangkok, Thailand. The highlight of this APODS is to promote, support, and utilize open data, information science, and communication technology in all sectors to thoroughly and effectively push forward the collective development in a wide variety of areas. This includes, for example: different disaster mitigation strategies, environmental protection, agricultural development, and smart cities.
Over the past year we have learned that while the vision of open data is well accepted in Asia, there still exists regional challenges that we must face. In the future, we expect to strengthen the collaboration between each other, which could, for example, involve the expansion of hackathons to include more countries.
Furthermore, efforts should go beyond simply the promotion of awareness, but should include more solid joint projects, such as a version of the open data index for this region. Most importantly, the open data community in this region must work to connect globally with other open data communities, to explore the potential and economic value of open data through a multilateral, cross-cultural, and collaborative approach.
Representatives from AODP and other Asian countries will meet up in the Regional Talk for Asia at IODC 2016, where we hope to explore and discuss what the next steps are for the open data agenda in this region.
Should you be interested in further engaging in sessions or activities pertaining to open data and this region, the following pre-events and sessions will also be relevant:
- IODC Pre-event: Indigenous Open Data Summit
- IODC Sharing Session: Open Data Research to Policy: Influencing Global, National and Local Agenda
- IODC Sharing Session: Measuring Open Data Together
Cover photo by Karan Thakkar.