Open data gaining momentum in Oakville

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

More datasets, new community partners and growing interest from developers

The Town of Oakville’s online data catalogue was expanded last week to include datasets on cemeteries, coyotes, and energy consumption at town facilities — part of an ongoing initiative to support local economic development and government transparency through open data.

The town’s data catalogue now contains 40 datasets. The newly-released energy consumption data was specifically requested by the developer community and includes overall usage data and building area-specific detail.

“I’m pleased that the town can facilitate the growing open data usage taking place in our community,” said Oakville Mayor Rob Burton. “Our partnership with Silicon Halton is expanding the conversation about the great things we can accomplish together when developers get creative with the town’s open data.”

In September, Halton-based technology community Silicon Halton hosted a meetup to brainstorm about open data and the opportunities presented by the town’s 12-month pilot project. The event drew more than 85 developers and data enthusiasts representing the education, government and business sectors as well as communities across the Greater Toronto Area. The next day, the town had the highest number of downloads to-date from its data catalogue.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the Town of Oakville’s open data pilot project,” said Chris Herbert, co-founder of Silicon Halton and chief marketing officer of Mi6. “Silicon Halton is an important community platform that can engage groups to help shape the evolution of the open data initiative. Our members are already using the data to produce useful demonstration tools.”

Check out what one Silicon Halton member has created using the town’s data on town trees treated against Emerald Ash Borer.

Engagement with developers and the open data community will continue to be an important part of the pilot project. Where possible, the town will continue to develop new datasets with a focus on what the data community has requested.

Silicon Halton is a grassroots high tech community focused on technology, community and growth. The organization offers a platform — online and in person — to help members connect with the high tech community in Halton and create opportunities for business growth and partnerships. For more information on Silicon Halton, visit the Silicon Halton website.

Open data is defined as information that is available in a format that can be read by a computer, and is made available for anyone to use, transform or republish without restriction. The Town of Oakville is joining municipalities around the world by proactively opening up its data to see what’s possible when government and the community collaborate. Anyone can join the open data conversation on Twitter at @openoakville or sign up for the project’s RSS feed. For more information, visit the open data page.