The following post is by Francois Grey and Rufus Pollock. Francois is a recent Shuttleworth Fellow, visiting professor at Tsinghua University working and coordinator of the Citizen Cyberscience Centre. Rufus is a co-Founder of the Open Knowledge Foundation.

There are two exciting open data and open knowledge events in Cape Town South Africa taking place in the next week (in which we’ll both be participating).

First up, this Saturday and Sunday, 19-20 November 2011, we’ll be holding an Open Data and Science hackfest at the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences.

Then next Tuesday, from 6:30pm-8:30pm an Open Knowledge Meetup is being organized for those interested in Open Data, Open Content and Open Source. More details on both below.

Open Knowledge Meetup – Open Data, Open Content, Open Source

  • Event page (signup):
  • When: Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 6:30 PM
  • Where: Open Innovation Studio, 27 Buitenkant St, Cape Town, ZA 7925
  • Hashtag: #OpenMeetupCT

This meetup is for those in Cape Town interested in open data and content. This is the first in what we hope will be a regular event. Come find out about other projects and activities and share your own.


  • Event page:
  • When: 19-20 November, 9am-5pm both days
  • Where: African Institute of Mathematical Sciences

What’s it all about?

Volunteers on the Web can now help researchers with a host of scientific and social challenges.

From collecting data about government spending to folding proteins to simulating the future of our planet’s climate.

The scope for citizens and schools to benefit from all this online science is enormous. But there’s a catch. This is a grassroots movement, so it needs YOUR help!

If you are a scientist, if you have programming and web-design skills you’d like to contribute to science, or if you are just passionate about the idea of volunteer science on the Web, then you should come!

Who’s organizing this?

Kindly hosted by AIMS, the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences, in Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa. With participation of the Department of Computer Science at UCT, the Citizen Cyberscience Centre, Connexions, the Open Knowledge Foundation, P2PU, Siyavula and SACEMA, through the support of the Shuttleworth Foundation.

What will I get out of it?

This is a two-day event, and the goal is to learn about some cool science, play with some neat software, and above all meet people with a passion for public participation in cutting-edge research. We will form teams and work together to design and produce some really nifty demos and prototypes.

The sort of projects you can work on will be based on the real needs of scientists, many of whom will be actively participating. Concretely, you might get involved in …

  • Working on a mobile-phone-based scheme for monitoring the spread of AIDS in Southern Africa.
  • Building an interface for a project that will allow anyone on the Web to help digitize historical documents.
  • Designing a course to help others create their own citizen science project on the Web.
  • Turning an online project for simulating the spread of malaria in Africa into an educational tool that teachers could use in a high-school math class.

… by all means bring your own ideas for projects to the event, as well!

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Rufus Pollock is Founder and President of Open Knowledge.

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