One of the benefits of restarting this blog is looking back and seeing how recent some of the changes to the Canadian technology and political landscape are. It was only in May 2009 that we did the first ChangeCamp Ottawa. That's just 17 months ago. It was just a few days after ChangeCamp Ottawa 2009 that data.gov went live, and I asked whither Canada in the open data space.
A lot has happened in a year and a half.
City of Ottawa
There is now an active open data community for the city of Ottawa.
The city council has released open data
http://www.ottawa.ca/donneesouvertes (en français)
There is an apps contest called Apps4Ottawa currently running, with $50,000 in prizes. It ends January 3, 2011. Residents of Ontario are eligible to enter - you can even enter just an idea.
If you want to know more, there's an event as part of the University of Ottawa's participation in Open Access Week.
Thursday, October 21, 2010 from 5pm to 7pm (in English)
Desmarais Hall, room 4101
The CIO of Ottawa, Guy Michaud will be there, as well there will be demonstrations of some current applications and people to help you if you have ideas about developing an app to enter in the contest.
Also: free t-shirts!
This was made possible by some great work by city staff, an Ottawa developer-organised hackfest that helped to convince the CIO, and councillor support.
There's also great news from other Canadian cities that I will cover in future blog posts.
You can also check out the Wikipedia entry Open Data in Canada for an overview of the current situation. (Disclaimer: I wrote most of the Wikipedia entry, at least as of the time of this blog posting.)
For those of you in the library community, here are a few ways to participate in open data initiatives:
- make your library catalogue data & APIs available (open, with a non-restrictive license) - particularly valuable for a city's public libraries, but also useful in general for university libraries
- invite in local developers and other interested citizens
- host a hackfest
- invite presentations by local developers who have made library-related apps
- have demonstration sessions where citizens can see how they can benefit from open data using websites and apps
- create a programmers' reading list where you highlight library resources that can help people develop websites and applications, as well as general topics of open data, visualization, and open government
For some perspective on the governance, silo-breaking and open data challenges that the city of Ottawa faces, check out the video Ottawa Elections 2010 - Governance that was done in support of the Twitter-enabled "Debate 2.0" for the upcoming municipal elections. Features local open data heroes Mary Beth Baker (@bethmaru) and Edward Ocampo-Gooding (@edwardog).