News: Ontario News

Kitchener launches open data portal

September 12, 2016  
Posted by: Jacqueline O'Hara
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The City of Kitchener launches a new cloud-based geographic information system (GIS) portal. Seven new datasets will also be released through the portal: geographical contours, service requests, tree inventory, parking infractions, 3D conceptual sketch-up models of downtown, 10-year capital forecast, leaf collection areas.

"Open data is data that is made freely available to the public in machine-readable format within the agreements of the open data licence," said Dan Murray, director of technology, innovation and service for the City of Kitchener. "This new portal allows citizens better access to government data."

The portal has powerful new features:

  • A user-friendly search engine, which allows for easier searching by key words;
  • Geospatial datasets (relating to or denoting data that is associated with a particular location) are visually available for users to see;
  • Allows users to set up APIs - application programming interfaces - which make the data accessible and shareable. App builders can subscribe to our data in real time, which means they do not have to keep coming back repeatedly to download an updated version of the data.

"This portal is just one of the ways we are a smart and connected city, enabling innovation by opening up access to information, so the community can contribute to improving the way we live our lives," said Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. "That's the fundamental theme of our emerging Digital Kitchener strategy, which will come forward later this year."

APIs are the guidelines that allow applications to talk to one another; they drive the apps on your cell phone and desktop and connecting applications. APIs are why you can Tweet, Facebook and Instagram your posts with a single click.

The city is committed to improving citizen engagement and enhancing transparency and accountability to its residents by providing public access to its data. The portal underlines the city's strategic priorities of open government, and effective and efficient city services. It operates on the Esri software platform, which the City of Kitchener already uses; implementing the portal comes at a very low cost.

For more information :

City of Kitchener
Box 1118, 200 King St W
Kitchener, Ontario
Canada, N2G 4G7