Growing by Shrinking - Consolidating Data on the Open Government Portal

June 17, 2021


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We have removed almost 60,000 records from the Open Government Portal.  We think it’s going to make the portal better. If you’re intrigued, read on! And if you disagree, do let us know!

Canada’s Open Government Portal has come a long way since it was launched eight years ago. It was originally called the Open Data Portal and was focused on making as much data available as possible that was relevant to Canadians. With help from large data producers like Statistics Canada and Natural Resources Canada, the portal was successfully launched in 2013 with tens of thousands of records, including nearly 60,000 Canada Lands Survey (CLS) records from the Natural Resources Canada experimental GeoGratis service. Survey records are legal survey documents like plans or field notes.

In 2015, not long after the portal was launched, the Treasury Board Secretariat’s Open Government team worked with federal organizations to create a new Open Maps service in the Open Government Portal as a way to better visualize and combine data from large producers of geospatial data, including Environment and Climate Change Canada and Natural Resources Canada.

A recent addition to Open Maps is the Canada Lands Survey System (CLSS). This system provides a sophisticated application for searching over 128,000 survey records, including the original Canada Lands Survey data records from the Natural Resources Canada experimental GeoGratis service that were imported into the portal eight years ago. The CLSS is up to date, much more complete, and makes it easier to search through a catalogue of survey records.  Because of this, and to avoid duplication, we removed 59,515 Canada Lands Survey data records from the Open Government Portal.

Removing these records from the portal provides Canadians with more accurate federal public data in a digital, easy-to-use format.

This data consolidation on the Open Government Portal supports continued action to enable greater access to government data that is accessible, reusable, and machine-readable, allowing for deeper analysis and informed decision making.

Today, the Open Government Portal hosts data, information, and resources in searchable and reusable formats from over 90 departments and a growing user base of Canadians. All Canadians are encouraged to explore the data available to them in the Open Government Portal, collaborate with others, find data and digital records, and learn more about open government.

Ross Thompson

Ross Thompson

Acting Manager, Office of the Chief Information Officer
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat / Government of Canada

Ross currently manages the development team working on the Open Government Portal at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. He has been a member of the development team for since the portal launched in 2013. Before joining the public service, Ross worked in software development at several high tech start-up companies.

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