Sorry, I can’t resist the plug: The South China Morning Post launches an interactive map today that allows readers/users to contribute sightings and reports of illegal development in Hong Kong’s New Territories – a serious issue in a city where land prices keep spiraling upwards.
As a story in today’s paper notes, the government has only about 400 officers to track tens of thousands of hectares of open land, so public reports of abuses are increasingly important as a source of tipoffs. Which makes a crowdsourced map of such activities not just a nice way of building community but also a project in the public interest.
It’s the first of a couple of digital initiatives on our part; not perhaps the most cutting-edge project, but we’ll take each step one at a time. More importantly, it’s less a technology initiative – although of course we had to get that to work – but as much a journalism/workflow/outreach/marketing project so that we could pull off a smooth launch.
Within a couple of hours of launch we’ve already had a couple of user-generated reports, so that’s a good sign. And we’re hopeful that our coming projects will generate real interest and buzz as well – and maybe even business models. So stay tuned.