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City of Vancouver’s Data Site goes beta

I’m currently writing from the Vancouver open data Hackathon tonight! It was a lot more hopping a couple hours ago but me and a few other hardcores are chewing the fat at the City Archives. I’d like to take this rare blogging opportunity to bring your attention to a couple of items:

  • Happy news! Yesterday, the City of Vancouver “soft-launched” a beta of its Data Catalogue of publicly available and re-usable data. It’s a key milestone for those of us who have been waiting, with baited breath since May, when the city passed its motion on open data, open standards and open source. Within hours, friend Tylor has already rolled up a map with the city’s water fountains, along with a screencast of how he made the mashup, from scratch, in Drupal.
  • But the most exciting part of all this awesome stuff? For me, personally, it’s the accompanying survey that the City of Vancouver has made available, asking the public which layers to free from VanMap next. And yes, you can only choose 10 from the ginormous shopping list.
  • In the lead-up to the launch of this site, Carlito Pablo from the Georgia Straight wrote an article exploring the possibilities of open data, and included quotes from Councillor Andrea Reimer, and advocates outside Vancouver (and myself) working in open data.
  • The Vancouver City Archives are kinda awesome. For a city that’s so young, I suppose it makes sense that we’re extra-picky about what little history we’ve got. Some examples? They make their videos available in both WMV and Ogg Theora formats on their website, and they’ve got a small selection of their moving images on the Vancouver Archives YouTube account. All their videos on YouTube and on their website are also available in higher resolutions as MPEG-2 files for $17 a file. And also awesome? The Vancouver Archives building has one of the oldest green roofs in the city.
  • VanTrash is the other fun story coming out of the open data movement. Based on one of David Eaves’ blog posts, Luke Closs and a band of merry hackers have started to put together the VanTrash site.

I’m stoked that this is taking off and can’t wait to see what comes next.

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