Open Data Strathcona
County - open by design
Strathcona County Council recently approved an Open Data Policy, in support of the municipality being open by design, subject to financial, legal, legislative and privacy constraints. This means that whenever possible, Strathcona County will make data available to the public in a machine-readable format that can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone. By making this data open, the public can access, interpret and create value from the data for the benefit of all members of the County. Data published to the open data catalog will be provided by Strathcona County or trusted partners. Strathcona County is committed to following the principles of open data, which are based upon a global standard set by the Sunlight Foundation.
Strathcona County has a responsibility to its citizens to provide open access to the data that it collects and generates on behalf of the County. Since 2014, Strathcona County has made its data available to the public in free and machine-readable formats as part of its Open Data initiative.
Open Data provides convenient and free access to all government-held data that does not compromise personal privacy or safety. The Open Data catalog is hosted online in a cloud-based central repository that provides easy access to the data under a liberal license for re-use. This repository is shared and used as a platform for all validated and relevant data.
Strathcona County's Open Data Portal was created to increase government transparency and to make government data accessible to residents. The portal provides timely and reliable data in a trusted and consistent manner. The data either be used alone or combined with other data for analysis or to create applications. Additional value can be created through the analysis and usage of this data to create evidence-based decisions and more customized services to the public.
Strathcona County has strong support for its Open Data initiative from Council and Administration. To ensure success, funding has been allocated for the program and a permanent full-time position of Open Data Coordinator is in place.
The Open Data team is proactively developing partnerships within the community. Working with the local university and local school boards, Strathcona County is hosting their data and incorporating open data into classroom projects within the relevant curriculums.
The University of Alberta is also keen to utilize our open data within their programs to provide additional insight and problem solving. Additionally, we are collaborating with the City of Edmonton and surrounding communities to leverage local knowledge and encourage data standards and interoperability.
Strathcona County has invested in creating an environment and infrastructure that will enable frequent publishing of data, while adhering to the highest standards of quality and security. Furthermore, a solid governance structure is in place with publishing processes and policies that safeguard a sustainable and successful program.
Open Data Action Plan for 2016 provides an overview of our commitments for 2016.
Releasing data in an open data format is advantageous for both citizens (data consumers) and government jurisdictions (data producers) because it ultimately creates a better environment: one of openness and trust. As a result, citizens have more confidence in their elected officials and officials get more support and involvement from their citizens.
Benefits of an open data program include:
- a single repository for data
- free open public access to data
- improved accountability and transparency
- allows users to add value to the data through immediate visualizations and analysis; use in external software; or utilize APIs for automating into another application
By establishing this one-stop-shop for all government data, we have created a reliable infrastructure enabling developers and entrepreneurs to innovate by providing new products, services and insights derived from the data. The expected result is greater citizen engagement, both directly and indirectly.
The Open Data program's success is not measured solely by the number of data sets in the Catalog, but takes into account the potential value added by what is done with the data.
The County is committed to enable any member of the public to ‘unleash the value’ within the open data. Individuals, groups or classrooms, businesses or the community at large are some of the users who may find value in the data.
Strathcona County is keen to work with individuals and organizations to help them benefit from the opening of our data.
Strathcona County's Open Data program has received the following awards and recognition: