City of Vancouver launches open data catalogue

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      The City of Vancouver has launched its open data catalogue.

      The beta version of the Web site went live yesterday (September 15), offering geospatial data on community centres, drinking fountains, garbage collection schedule zones, municipal election results, and other subjects.

      The site states:

      By freely sharing its data in accessible formats — while respecting privacy and security concerns — Vancouver is joining many government agencies in moving to harness the energy and involvement of citizens, community-based organizations and private businesses in everything from creative community problem-solving to the development of new service delivery ideas and solutions.

      The 18 data sets on the site are available in a few formats, such as Keyhole Markup Language and the ESRI Shapefile format.

      Through an on-line survey, the city is asking the public what geospatial data sets it would like to see made available next.

      People who want to be notified when the data catalogue is updated can subscribe to an e-mail list or an RSS feed.

      The data catalogue’s terms of use grant users “a world-wide, royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to use, modify, and distribute the datasets in all current and future media and formats for any lawful purpose”.

      Users aren’t required to give credit to the city but are “encouraged to conspicuously announce” that the city has made the data publicly available.

      Regarding liability, the terms of use warn: “If, as a result of your breach of these Terms of Use, the City gets sued or is required to pay someone money, you agree to protect the City and reimburse the City for everything which you cause the City to suffer.”

      On May 21, Vancouver city council voted to endorse the principles of open data, open standards, and open-source software, and make more of the city’s data freely available on-line.

      City staff are expected to send a report on the implementation of these principles to council early this fall.

      The launch of Vancouver’s data catalogue follows the debut of the City of Nanaimo’s open data site in June.

      Open data enthusiasts are celebrating Vancouver’s launch by gathering from 5 to 11 p.m. tonight (September 16) at the City of Vancouver Archives (1150 Chestnut Street) for the first Vancouver Open Data Hackathon.

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