Open Data Initiative 

In May 2016 Brantford City Council approved the launch of the City’s Open Data Initiative endorsing the principles of open and accessible data by supporting a directive to freely share with citizens, businesses, and other jurisdictions the greatest amount of data possible, while respecting privacy, legal or security concerns.

In recent years, a movement within federal, provincial and municipal levels of government to open data for public use has gained considerable momentum. Since April 2016 the Government of Ontario has published over 500 open data sets as part of its Open Data Directive.

The City of Brantford shares the same commitment to creating a more open and transparent government for our citizens and recognizes that an Open Data Portal is the next step to information sharing with our community. “Much like our recently launched online Community Strategic Plan, this initiative demonstrates effective use of technology, leveraging the collective work of staff who create and maintain the City’s data day in and day out”, said Hazel English, the City’s Director of Information Technology Services. “Our goal is to make public information as accessible and easy to understand as possible.”

Currently, the City makes information such as transit routes and schedules, and waste collection zones available on its websites. The concept of Open Data is to provide the same information in its raw form so anyone can perform their own analysis or develop applications (desktop, web and/or mobile) that makes use of the City’s data. The new Portal features interactive maps and charts driven by the City’s data and provides the same information in a variety of formats ready for consumption (machine-readable) by common software applications and development languages.

Initially, the City’s Open Data Portal will provide access to datasets tagged by any of twelve categories including Local Government, Base Maps, Heritage, Road Construction & Closures, Parks & Recreation, Social Services, Points of Interest, Transportation, Environment, Health & Safety, Arts, Culture & Tourism and Land Use & Development. The initial phase of the launch focuses primarily on geographical datasets, collectively referred to as the Data Catalogue. In the near future, the Catalogue will continue to expand to make it easier to find information about the City’s programs, services, operations and activities.

The Open Data Portal can be accessed at http://data.brantford.opendata.arcgis.com/