Waterloo launches Open Data Waterloo

The City of Waterloo is pleased to announce the launch of Open Data Waterloo – opendata.waterloo.ca. This new portal provides people and organizations ranging from citizens to software developers to researchers (both in the academic and private sector) direct access to data for developing applications, doing research or learning about trends. Individuals are free to use and share the data, with a few restrictions outlined on the website’s terms of agreement. Waterloo is one of only eight municipalities in Ontario and one of 28 municipalities in Canada to share and offer access to open data through a portal.

“Our community was built on the strengths of the partnerships and collaborations established in our city. Open Data Waterloo reinforces the value this council places on transparency and community engagement,” said Mayor Brenda Halloran.

“I applaud the City of Waterloo for joining the open data movement, one of the truest embodiments of my concept of Access by Design, by which public institutions proactively release information on an automatic basis,” said Ontario’s information and privacy commissioner, Dr. Ann Cavoukian. “Unless there is sufficient reason to the contrary, non-personally identifiable government data should be freely available and easily accessible – by default. This will empower citizens to explore the actions of their governments and participate meaningfully in policy decisions.”

The project is the result of extensive collaboration with a number of stakeholders including the Open Data Waterloo Region community group, University of Waterloo and Communitech. “Open Data is a key to transparency and openness, greater accountability and trust, and sets the stage for new innovations, including innovations here at the university, said David Wallace, chief information officer, University of Waterloo. “I’m impressed by Waterloo’s direction to open the door to local government. This is also a great beginning to working closer with higher education institutions, government and with industry to further the cause of open data in Waterloo region.”

“Waterloo is using Microsoft Windows Azure cloud to power its open data catalogue, which provides scale, flexibility and cost-effective compute and storage environments for the city,” said Garry Bezruki, chief information officer for the city. “Working with the Microsoft Openness Initiative team, the city joins governments across the globe in realizing the benefits of open standards and open source on the Windows Azure platform offered by the Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI) DataLab project.”

As part of the launch of this portal, the Open Data Waterloo Region community group is hosting Open Data CodeFest on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at Waterloo’s city hall at 100 Regina St. S. The event is intended to provide the community of application developers with an environment that encourages innovation and collaboration in developing web and mobile applications using Open Data Waterloo.

For more information, please visit opendata.waterloo.ca.

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For more information:
Garry Bezruki
Chief Information Officer
519-747-8726
Garry.bezruki@waterloo.ca

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