Get Excited About #OpenData: 4 Things You Should Know!

June 5, 2017


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Wendy Gnenz is the Branch Manager for Open City and Innovation at the City of Edmonton and is accountable for advancing the City’s open government philosophy as well as improving corporate effectiveness and efficiency. Edmonton is a leader in the advancement of the principles of open government and open data. Through their Open City Policy, endorsed by City Council in April 2015, they have repeatedly shown that they are a City that believes in the concept that data is ‘Open by Default’.


Get Excited About #OpenData: 4 Things You Should Know!

Movers, shakers and open data enthusiasts will be gathering in Edmonton June 12-14 for the annual Canadian Open Data Summit (CODS). And speaking of enthusiasts, we’ll be the first to admit that Edmonton’s got open data fever. We’re proud to be the first ever municipality to host CODS! It’s been said that enthusiasm is contagious, so check out this list of four things to get excited about the world of open data.


1. Data sets aren’t just quantitative, they are qualitative

When most people think data, they think spreadsheets and numbers. The world of open data is actually much more expansive.

For example, the City of Edmonton has a dataset dedicated to Indigenous-named places. Indigenous people founded our community and have called the Edmonton area home for more than 10,000 years. We are proud to have one of the largest urban Indigenous populations in Canada.

To honour this rich past and large population, there are over 100 place names in Edmonton with Indigenous roots. This dataset allows users to identify and understand the source of many of these place names found in our city – streets, parks, neighbourhoods, walkways and more.

2. It’s good for business

From start-ups to big companies, open data is good for business.

Leveraging the economic value of open data, many businesses have pioneered solutions, identified market gaps, found new ways to connect with their audience and maintained a competitive edge.

Learning how to use open data to grow your business is one of the many topics that will be explored at the Canadian Open Data Summit.

3. Open Data movement is universal

We all know that Canada is a world leader in open data, with Open Data Barometer ranking us 2nd among 114 countries.

The momentum doesn’t stop there. Through the Open Government Partnership [PDF document, 7.67 MB], governments from more than 75 countries, including Canada, have made concrete commitments to “promote transparency, empower citizens, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance with a strong emphasis on open data as a means to achieve this”. Edmonton also recently adopted the International Open Data Charter, joining 45 governments around the world.

4. Open data is really cool - seriously!

As our nation gears up for Canada 150, we are also celebrating five of our seven teams making the NHL Playoffs. Did you know a few years ago the Edmonton Oilers looked into improving their standings with analytics by encouraging hockey fans to data mine – investigating statistical information to contribute to the team’s success? Think Moneyball… but on ice!

If sports aren’t your thing, explore 150 Years of Canadian Art - an open data project that allows users to discover Canadian art.

Data visualization is the concept of taking open data and making the information digestible in a visual way. Using this principle, some are taking it to the next level. Check out The Sound of Open Data project, which lets you listen to the sound of a city’s environmental data, in real time.

As one of the world’s leaders in the implementation of open government, Edmonton is primed and excited to host the Canadian Open Data Summit.

Registration is open – join us in June to continue this conversation!

Visit the Canadian Open Data Summit (CODS) for full conference information.

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