Open Data

Open data is data that is free and accessible for anyone to use, and can also be redistributed by anyone. Analysis of reliable data is crucial in determining the status of and resolving economic, political, environmental, and social issues. Opening access to such data can be a notable societal benefit. There are many benefits to open Data, but the benefits are lost if the data is not utilized effectively. The Global Open data Initiative provides resources for the government and societies to learn how to best and most effectively use open data.

In 2011, the federal government of Canada announced the creation of their open data portal. The portal features data about national demographics, high-resolution maps, statistics, science, social initiatives and much more. As of July 2015, the Open Data Portal boasts access to 244,599 open datasets. Canada’s Open Data Principles include: completeness, primacy, timeliness, ease of access, machine readability and more, read about them here. In 2012 the Canadian Government joined the Open Government Partnership and in June 2013 the Government endorsed the G8 Charter on Open Data. In June 2013 Canada and all of the other G8 members agreed to implement open data principles and best practices in preparation for the release and reuse of government data. Read more about the G8 Open Data Charter and Canada’s G8 Open Data Charter Commitments.

The Open Government Directive

“The objective of the directive is to maximize the release of government information and data of business value to support transparency, accountability, citizen engagement, and socio-economic benefits through reuse, subject to applicable restrictions associated with privacy, confidentiality, and security. ”

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a global effort to make governments more transparent and accountable, to empower citizen, harness new technologies and more. The Open Government Partnership is collaboration between Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, United Kingdom, United States and Canada. Canada has listed many commitments it intends to uphold. The commitments are based on:

• Citizen Participation

• Anti-Corruption

• Access to Information

• Aid Transparency

• Budget Transparency

• Natural Resources

• E-government

• Legislative Openness

The International Open Data Conference

The International Open Data Conference took place in Ottawa, Canada in May 2015. The conference aimed to strengthen coordination among open data initiatives across different levels of government.
Provincially, Newfoundland and Labrador has adopted an open data policy and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick although they do not have an open data initiative in place, have implemented GeoNOVA and GeoNB. These portals provide provincial geographic data, maps and applications. 

Open data opens the doors to more effective and informed decisions, it allows us to be more aware on the condition of our natural resources, so we can make better decisions about how to sustainably use them. Open data encourages the sharing of information and research between public and private sectors, which works well with the integration concept in ICOM.

The ACZISC, in partnership with Dr. Bertrum MacDonald, School of Information Management, Dalhousie University, Robert Branton, Emeritus and the Ocean Tracking Network, have developed Data Accessibility Organizational Self-Assessment Tool. The benchmark is a great tool for organizations to use for improving and monitoring access to their data. The tool is designed to be used repetitively to measure improvement in the effectiveness and ease of accessing data and information by users both within and outside the organization. Use of the benchmark tool on an annual basis would be appropriate.

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