Vancouver Set to Publish Open Datasets


By daniel - Posted on 02 September 2009

I attended the Net Tuesday Meetup last night and got to see a variety of people talk about the cool projects they're undertaking in Vancouver. Turns out there's a lot going on, but there was one presentation in particular that struck a chord with me.

Tim Wilson, Advisor to the Mayor's Office, spoke about an initiative called "Open3." This is a motion which was passed by the city back in May and it calls for openness in three major areas:

  • Open Data: Public data will be made publicly available.
  • Open Standards: The city will shift to using open, non-proprietary formats.
  • Open Source: The city will shift to using open source software.

The open source and open standards goals are going to have a huge impact as well, but what I'm really excited about is the open data. By giving "we the people" access to our city's public data we can find additional benefits from it that the city might not have the resources to explore. Even simple things like getting a text message reminder to take out the garbage—an idea Tim mentioned—can help make life easier.

Vancouver's not the first city to take part in this movement. The Obama administration has already launched Data.gov and projects like Oakland Crimespotting show what's possible when a city opens the doors.

Apparently, the first datasets are set to be released in late September. I'm really excited to see what's going to be available and what kind of useful data visualizations might be possible.

These are exciting times we live in!