[oclug] CBC: City of Vancouver embraces open data,
standards and source
samper.d at gmail.com
samper.d at gmail.com
Sun May 24 10:45:08 EDT 2009
This is something that we at computersforcommunities.ca would be interested in exploring.
Recently we were in touch with the ottawa public library who are exploring linux for their terminals. We are offering them insight and support if they wish.
For other projects or for a rallying point let us know how we can help and who is taking the lead.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network
From: alayne at twobikes.ottawa.on.ca
Date: Sat, 23 May 2009 15:43:19
To: OCLUG Discussion list<oclug at lists.oclug.on.ca>
Subject: [oclug] CBC: City of Vancouver embraces open data,
standards and source
Sounds like a project for OCLUG to follow up in Ottawa. Anyone else
City of Vancouver embraces open data, standards and source
City videos could be more widely available soon: Reimer
Last Updated: Friday, May 22, 2009 | 2:46 PM ET Comments44Recommend47
Vancouver city council has endorsed the principles of making its data open and
accessible to everyone where possible, adopting open standards for that data
and considering open source software when replacing existing applications.
"So it's great," said Andrea Reimer, the city councillor who proposed the
motion that passed Thursday afternoon. "The local online community was all
very, very happy, and now we just have to look forward on implementation and
figuring sort of the order with which we do that."
Reimer had argued that supporting the motion would allow the city to improve
transparency, cut costs and enable people to use the data to create new useful
products, including commercial ones. She had also noted that taxpayers paid for
the data to be collected in the first place.
The motion, which specifies that the city will respect security and privacy
concerns while supporting openness, went through as proposed, Reimer said, even
though one councillor did try to "water it down" and voted against parts of the
About 15 members of the public signed up to speak about the motion. All who
spoke were in favour, Reimer said.
"The only sort of negative [comment] was 'Can't you go further? Can't you do
She added that some felt open-source software should be favoured, rather than
just be put on equal footing with proprietary software.
"But I think the city would want to know how it works first before it jumps
Some immediate changes likely: Reimer
She added that many city staff are excited about the policy, as they had tried
to implement more openness in some areas before, but didn't have a policy
framework to work from. She expects staff to report back on an implementation
plan in the fall, but thinks some changes will begin to happen immediately.
For example, she said, videos made at city hall, including videos of council
meetings, are currently in a proprietary format that cannot be posted on
YouTube. They can only be viewed on the City of Vancouver website by people who
have the latest version of Microsoft Internet Explorer. She expects that to
"They're tiny little things, but they have so much ripple effect in the
community," she said. "There's probably a few more thousand people that we
could be talking to out there if we could send them videos [instead of written
According to Reimer, only a few other cities such as Washington, D.C., San
Francisco and Toronto have started moving toward this kind of increased
As far as implementation goes, the motion suggested that Vancouver's city
manager be asked to:
* Identify immediate opportunities to distribute more of its data.
* Index, publish and syndicate its data to the internet using prevailing
open standards, interfaces and formats.
* Develop a plan to digitize and distribute archival data to the public.
* Ensure that data supplied to the city by third parties such as
developers, contractors and consultants are unlicensed, in a prevailing open
standard format, and not copyrighted except if otherwise prevented by legal
* License any software applications developed by the City of Vancouver such
that they may be used by other municipalities, businesses and the public
The motion also proposes that Vancouver develop a plan to share its information
with the Integrated Cadastral Information Society (ICIS). The non-profit group
already shares mapping information among the B.C. provincial government,
utilities and municipalities. Vancouver is "one of a few" cities in the
province that is not a member of ICIS, Reimer said. The motion also suggests
that ICIS be encouraged to share its data with the public.
Text of the central portion of Coun. Reimer's motion:
Be it resolved that the City of Vancouver endorses the principles of:
* Open and accessible data: The City of Vancouver will freely share with
citizens, businesses and other jurisdictions the greatest amount of data
possible while respecting privacy and security concerns.
* Open standards: The City of Vancouver will move as quickly as possible to
adopt prevailing open standards for data, documents, maps and other formats of
* Open source software: The City of Vancouver, when replacing existing
software or considering new applications, will place open source software on an
equal footing with commercial systems during procurement cycles.
alayne at twobikes.ottawa.on.ca
"In Canada we are developing a pattern of life and I know something about
one block of that pattern. I know it for I helped to make it, and I can
say that now without any pretense of modesty, or danger of arrogance, for
I know that we who make the patterns are not important, but the pattern
is." -- Nellie McClung, _The Stream Runs Fast_
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