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Mississauga Approves Open Data Policy Connecting Citizens to City's Information

July 3, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Alison Hermansen
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At today's (June 24th) Council meeting, a new corporate policy and procedure for the City's Open Data program was approved. The policy enables data to be published in easy, accessible formats adopted by other governments and agencies globally.

"Our City was one of the first public sector organizations in Canada to publish Open Data," said Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie. "It demonstrates our commitment to being an open, accountable and transparent government. Through this initiative, we're connecting citizens to online City information that allows them to get a clearer understanding of how we, as elected officials, make decisions."

Crombie adds, "The City is using this information to improve service delivery, increase transparency, demonstrate accountability and enhance community engagement, while looking for innovative approaches to make Mississauga better."

Open Data is raw, digital, machine-readable information about City programs and services that is accessible to everyone free of charge. The data is unrestricted to copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control.

"As the Open Data program continues to grow, it is imperative that the City implements standards that provide a consistent approach to data," said Gary Kent, Commissioner, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer. "Through detailed research and benchmarking, the City has developed a corporate policy and procedure that aligns to existing Open Government strategies. The policy provides guidelines for City staff about the type of data being collected, how it is distributed and where the public access it."

The City started publishing urban planning data sets in March 2010. The information provided looked at population, demographics, census information, development monitoring, growth forecasts, housing, employment, land use, vacant lands and the environment.

"City data sets can be very valuable because they contain useful information that can be used for research, software, app and website development or for new business opportunities," said the City's Director, Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, Shawn Slack. "Citizens, businesses, app developers, urban planners or those who are interested in analysing data can look for innovative ways to improve City programs and services helping to make the community stronger."

Today, there are more than 400 publications available in open formats such as CSV, KML or Shapefile on the City's Open Data website. With new data sets being added regularly, the City seeks to include information about more City services like 3-1-1 call stats, community centres, MiWay, cycling lanes, parks and trails.

To find a complete inventory of the City's publications and Open Data catalogue, please visit:mississauga.ca/portal/residents/mississaugadata.