Open Data Frequently Asked Questions

What is open government?

Open government is an approach based on the belief that citizens have the right to access government information and decision-making. In practice this means transparent processes, accountable decision-making and accessible information and services.

What is open data?

Data that can be freely used, shared and built-on by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose.
(Source: Open Knowledge Foundation, 2005)

How does open data affect the privacy of personal information?

The Town of Oakville will not release personal or confidential information or provide ways to identify individuals as part of our public datasets.

Who can use the datasets?

Everyone — that’s what open data is all about! The most likely users will be professional and amateur software developers who build new applications to solve existing problems. The datasets could also be used by academics, researchers, the media and the general public to inform studies and analysis.

Will the town help me develop an app?

We are making our data available for others to use and develop apps on their own.

How many datasets will be released?

The initial data catalogue will launch with about 10 datasets and we’ll continue to publish more datasets over the 12-month period. Remember, this is a pilot project so we will not be releasing all town datasets until we have determined the value and cost of doing so. That’s part of being transparent and accountable.

What will happen at the end of the pilot period?

We don’t know yet. Through the pilot project, we’ll evaluate the potential value and community benefits of open data, measure the interest in the community, and, hopefully, gain a better understanding of the future needs of an increasingly mobile and digitally connected society. What we learn will help the project team make a recommendation to Council on what we should do next.

Still have questions?

Contact us at opendata@oakville.ca.