[open-economics] Summary Meeting 11-06-23

Guo Xu digitalepourpre at gmail.com
Fri Jun 24 11:13:31 BST 2011

Dear all,

Here's a summary of the meeting for all those who could not attend:

Overall, six people participated at the conference, living in four
different time zones - I think this alone shows how exciting and
diverse the Open Economics group can be!

The main goal of this meeting was to get people together and
brainstorm about the next projects at Open Economics. Here are some

Rodrigo joined from the Apps4Development Competition and proposed to
participate at the Apps4Environment competition
<http://www.epa.gov/appsfortheenvironment>. His idea was to create an
app that utilizes the data from <http://www.epa.gov/data> to help
people find out how to live "green" - more specifically, the idea was
to create an open catalogue of green stores and products, matched with
GPS coordinates to help people find "green" products. Rodrigo will be
sending around a summary and more detailed specification of his idea.
I feel this is a great idea for making "green" consumption fun by
creating an interactive platform for sharing experiences/

Anders is a journalist based in Den Haag. He proposed to use the XML
data from the European transparency register
action=prepareView&locale=en#en>. The idea was to match the lobbyists
against corporate records and maybe find some interesting
relationships we can visualize. I feel that this would have a high
potential as open knowledge and transparency is one of the key
instruments in fighting corruption and nepotism (by the way, for the
economists here, this is a great paper on the power of open knowledge
in fighting local capture:
<http://ideas.repec.org/a/tpr/qjecon/v119y2004i2p678-704.html>). I
think we might already have some decent apps to visualize this and all
we need is to scrape the data and connect the database.

Alfredas is a PhD student is leading an extensive data mining project
(<http://enipedia.tudelft.nl/blog/>). His team has been mining
environmental data and infrastructure data (to quote: "everything
physical that turns you off") and is providing an API through which
others can access it. Again, this might be a very simple yet effective
way to connect the project with Open Economics - this would involve
examining the data and brainstorming how and what we could visualize.

Velichka has a background in environmental economics and is keen on
exploring ways to use open energy data. Alex - who unfortunately could
not attend - has an economics background in housing and has proposed
to focus on housing pricing and real estate developments. Niall - who
could not attend either - is very enthusiastic in promoting Open
Source - his idea was to do some independent research/collect data on
the contribution of Open Source technology in fostering innovation.

In addition to these great new contributions we still have some of the
older ideas going, namely ProgressVote and Metametrik. ProgressVote
(http://openeconomics.net/yourtopiaprogressvote/) is an extension of
Yourtopia and it would suit the Apps4Environment competition well.
Dirk has been working on this, especially in getting public support
from policy makers and renowned economists. Finally, Metametrik is a
proposal to create an open standard for saving regression results -
regression results would be collected in a database and be available
for visualizations and meta-regressions (hence the name). Personally,
I feel this is a great project for Apps4Science - but most of the work
would lie in collecting the data and filling the database, so it could
be a more long-term project.

Overall, the main idea was to brainstorm and think of various ways to
combine the projects. It would be great if you could send in more
specific descriptions of projects - for those attending OKCon next
week, we might also be able to push forward a few ideas while in
Berlin. In any case, feel free to add your ideas to

Most of the ideas were based around environmental economics - this
once more shows the potential of connecting Open Economics with the
Open Energy Group - we could certainly benefit from a closer

Also, it would be great if we could create a list of stuff to do for
volunteers. The idea here is that there have been quite a few
volunteers who were willing to contribute but just did not know how -
it would be fantastic if we could create a list of simple "10-minute"
jobs. Examples are: Administering/registering data on CKAN, moving
http://atlas.openeconomics.net to Wikipedia etc.

We decided to have a next meeting in a month - in the meantime, we
should use this list more extensively - again, there are quite a lot
of passive readers and it would be great to include them in the
discussion! In case I have incorrectly summarized some of your
contributions, feel free to clarify and correct over the list :)

Again, thanks for participating at the conference - happy
brainstorming and I'm looking forward to more discussions on the list!


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