1. The DIY open data toolkit story

Background

Canada has been emerging as an international leader in the Open Government - Open Data realm. In addition to the federal government, there are currently 8 provinces and territories and nearly 100 municipalities that have initiated open data programs and websites.

To accelerate open data across municipalities in Canada, OpenNorth was supported by the Federal Treasury Board Secretariat (federal lead for Open Government) to undertake a Municipal Do-It-Yourself Open Data Toolkit pilot project. The project started in April 2017 and its completion was officially launched at the Canadian Open Data Summit, June 12-14, 2017 in Edmonton.

What is the DIY open data toolkit and who is it intended for?

The toolkit is a collection of best practices and plans for initiating an open data project or program in a municipal setting. Its content draws on OpenNorth’s international and Canadian experience as well as best practices and advice shared by members of the DIY open data project’s advisory group. The project is primarily targeted to those municipalities who have not yet begun an open data project or program. It could also be beneficial to others considering initiating an open data program including non-profits, provinces, agencies/boards/commissions as well as those already implementing open data.

The initial project and scope for municipalities

The project supported by the Federal government is a pilot project intended to serve as a guideline and project plan for those municipalities that have not yet initiated open data in their organization. It is understood that each municipality will have varying capacities to undertake a pilot project so the toolkit provides options related to the different scopes.  

Beyond the pilot project

There has been a great deal of enthusiasm within the open data community and governments across Canada about the initial do-it-yourself project.  Based on ongoing feedback, there is consideration being given to enhance the initial toolkit to deal in depth with some subject areas that existing open data organizations need addressed. It has also been suggested that the provision of customized solutions based on the toolkit could assist a diverse group of organizations.