Frequently Asked Questions
Strathcona County is committed to being an open and transparent government. We value making our data open and accessible. This Open Data Catalog is a tool for the public to access content generated by the County in an easy accessible and machine-readable format.
As the program develops we will be adding datasets regularly. We look forward to encouraging and cooperating with the public to ensure use and value in re-purposing the content that is now available in the open format.
What is Open Data?
"Open data is data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone - subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and sharealike."
The full Open Definition gives precise details as to what this means. To summarize the most important:
- Availability and Access: the data must be available as a whole and at no more than a reasonable reproduction cost, preferably by downloading over the internet. The data must also be available in a convenient and modifiable form.
- Re-use and Redistribution: the data must be provided under terms that permit re-use and redistribution including the intermixing with other datasets.
- Universal Participation: everyone must be able to use, re-use and redistribute - there should be no discrimination against fields of endeavour or against persons or groups. For example, ‘non-commercial’ restrictions that would prevent ‘commercial’ use, or restrictions of use for certain purposes (e.g. only in education), are not allowed.
The objective of Open Data is to eliminate burdens to access data created or managed by government agencies, while respecting privacy and sensitivity concerns. It enables entrepreneurs, academics, community groups, other learning communities, developers, and interested citizens to access and use data.
By offering datasets for others to use, the County supports unfiltered access to its information. This in turn helps to improve the social experience and stimulate economic growth through improved existing services, newly created services or data applications.
How are datasets selected?
For the initial release of data, Strathcona County has provided content that is high value, high quality and is readily available in an open format.
All datasets considered for uploading to the Open Data Catalog are evaluated based on their value, readiness (effort required to make public in an open format) and legal constraints (to ensure that the content is free of private information).
It is hoped that citizens will provide feedback to help inform the County of the type of information that is in demand. As well, there is an internal County initiative to provide incorporate open data into its process (open by design) and will publish to the Open Data portal on a regular basis.
How frequently is data updated?
Each dataset has its own schedule for being updated, depending on what is appropriate. Typically we update the data set when the data changes. For instance, permit data is updated nightly but transit schedules are updated seasonally. Each dataset Primer page contains a section "About this Dataset" which provides the expected update frequency, as well, as the last date updated.
Will more datasets become available?
Certainly, Strathcona County is committed to publishing more datasets. It is our goal to eventually have all relevant data made available in an open format. However, some datasets may require more time and resources to prepare and integrate into an open data format.
How can I submit ideas for datasets?
To submit an idea for a new dataset use the Suggest a dataset form. A link to this form can be found at the bottom of all pages.
What do I do if I notice a problem or error with a dataset?
Notice a problem or have a question about the content of a dataset, report it to us. On the Primer page of the dataset under the "About this dataset" section click on "Contact Dataset Owner". Or when viewing a dataset's data at the bottom of the ABOUT tab is another form to "Contact Dataset Owner".
How can I contact someone about Open Data in Strathcona County?
Please see the Contact Us page for options.
Under what licence is the data available?
Strathcona County's Open Data Licence agreement, is consistent with the Open Licence agreement used by the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada.
Will my personal information be at risk?
The Strathcona County complies with Freedom of Information and Privacy (FOIP) act and will protect private information from being released. In fact, some requests from the community for data are not actionable due to privacy restrictions.
What is the advantage of signing up for an account?
Why register - provides detailed information.
Who is collecting my personal information when I register for an account?
Why can't I read some datasets?
A few Strathcona County datasets may be machine-readable only and thus will require special programs are to view. One such example are the "orthophoto photos" (provided in a SID format - please note these are large files). To view a SID file, if you do not have an application that read it, LizardTech offers a free viewer.