Vancouver`s VanMap: Bringing Spatial Data to Everyone


Vancouver`s VanMap: Bringing Spatial Data to Everyone
Open Data: 12 Lessons
Learned from the City of
Vancouver’s Experience
Jonathan Mark
Open Data and GIS Consultant
CivX December 4, 2013
Presentation Objective
 Describe high level lessons learned
from the City of Vancouver’s Open Data
Quick Historical Context
 City sold/gave away GIS data for a long time
 GIS Team recommended giving away GIS data
in 2005; didn’t get very far
 May 2009 Open3 Council motion called for
Open Data, Open Source, Open Standards
 City launched 1st site in September 2009,
substantially enhanced site in January 2010
#1: Know Why You Are Doing Open Data
 Supports open government (transparency,
participation, collaboration, accountability)
Supports government as a platform
Stimulates economic activity
Improves service to the public
Taxpayers already own the data
Makes for a more informed public
Others are doing it
#2: Understand Why People Are Nervous
 Open Data is still new
 Loss of control, data custodians have to let go
 Data will be interpreted in different ways and/or
 Potential loss of revenue
 So develop an elevator pitch for why to do it
#3: Know Who Your Constituencies Are
Application developers
Commercial and business users
Value-added resellers
Other government entities
General citizens
Staff in other departments
#4: Engage Your Constituencies
 Cater to constituencies on a priority basis
 Engage them in ways that make sense to them,
e.g. hackathons for developers
 What data formats do they need?
 Consider an application contest (but apps must
be sustainable)
#5: Formulate Your Governance Model
 Who is your influential sponsor (to promote
Open Data as a corporate initiative)?
 Who is managing the process?
 Is there a steering committee?
 Identify who needs to be involved
 Identify roles and responsibilities
#6: Identify Your Internal Review Process
 Ensure you are allowed to release the data
 ID privacy, security and sensitivity issues
 Decide what data gets published (ease, requests,
 Release if there is no good reason not to
 Data standards and update frequencies
 Develop policy framework (sooner or later)
#7: Geocode Everything Possible
 Location and place matter A LOT
 Consistency because X,Y provided (and it
saves developers a lot of work)
 Supports visual interpretation
 Supports application development
#8: Terms of Use
 Minimize disincentive to use the data
 Lots of alternatives
Do your own
Use Creative Commons and variants
Copy someone else’s
Go with the flow—use the Government of
Canada license
 Plain English a must but shared TOU is
very desirable
#9: Choose a Platform
 Lots of choices
Develop your own site using web, GIS, & ETL tools
Open source platforms like CKAN or DKAN
Commercial platforms like Socrata
Use someone else’s infrastructure and/or web site
 Choose based on cost, ease, functionality, stability, etc.
 Ensure platform and updates are sustainable
 Provide a method for users to provide feedback and make requests
 Determine role for APIs
#10: Think About Your Data Catalogue
 Plan for the future even when starting
 Make it searchable
 Structure it the way your constituencies think
 Make it discoverable
 Consider archiving data sets for comparisons
#11: Promote, Promote, Promote
 Engage your constituencies
 Engage your communications staff
 Promote how the data is used
#12: Success and Metrics
People know about your site and use the data
Count of visitors and/or downloads
Number of data sets available
Better service to the public
Site and update process are sustainable
Cost avoidance
Open Data included in business thinking & RFPs
 You can just do it but
 Sooner or later you have to deal with these issues
 Up-front thought pays off
Contact Information
 Jonathan Mark
Open Data and GIS Consultant
 [email protected]
 778-679-4539
 250-881-8844