Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Open Data: Power to the people

On a daily basis, The City uses a lot of information to keep Calgary running smoothly. Whether it is mapping, data bases, statistics or service requests collected from 311, just to name a bit, The City needs information – or “data”, to work effectively and efficiently.

Much of this data is not only useful to City business units to provide products and services to citizens – but it is also useful to citizens. When information is made available to the public, it is called Open Data.

By definition, Open Data refers to data that is made available for free, without restrictions (anybody can use it) and can be used for any purpose, including commercial purposes.

Did you know that The City of Calgary has an open data catalogue available to the public so that they can use some of The City’s information? Well, we do and it's available at

Why provide open data? It enables transparency and accountability of governments and provides a wealth of information to citizens.

The City recently improved its open data catalogue by adding new data sets, including traffic incidents, Roads/311 service requests and 2013 election results. Check out this short video to learn more about how open data can benefit Calgarians.

“We redesigned our original concept for the open data catalogue based on stakeholder feedback after a pilot program,” explains Peter Talbot, manager, Access Solutions. Peter adds, “We are excited to provide a tool to distribute data, allowing for innovation inside and outside of The City.”

The City’s Open Data Catalogue is maintained by Infrastructure & Information Services (IIS). IIS works with various business units across The City to collect and identify data sets for release in accordance with existing FOIP regulations.

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