County's open data best in its class

October 14, 2016

County's open data best in its class

Strathcona County has earned the "Small City, Big Impact" award, ranking highest in the 2016 Open Cities Index among cities with a population under 100,000.

In an announcement from the Public Sector Digest (PSD) in partnership with Canada’s Open Data Exchange (ODX), Strathcona County placed in the top 10 of all municipalities in the country for 2016. It moved up three positions to rank 6th out of 68 municipalities.

Open data is made available in machine-readable formats for everyone to use, reuse and redistribute at no charge. The data can be repurposed for new solutions and improvements, transformed into useful products and services that add value (mobile apps), or used for research and analysis.

“Open data is about convenient, free and open access to government information. It also provides a platform for collaboration and we have proven examples of how it can support efficient delivery of services,” says Mayor Roxanne Carr.

“Strathcona County launched its Open Data Portal in 2014. To be making an impact and earning such recognition, particularly given our relatively short time in the open data sphere, is great news. It speaks to the County’s commitment to a more open, transparent and accountable local government.”

This year’s Open Cities Index evaluation was more comprehensive and quantitative, measuring a municipality’s program for readiness, implementation and impact. Strathcona County improved its ranking through achievement and success in each of these areas. 

Relating to readiness, the County scored points on improved open data governance, for its action plan and resource commitment, and developing an Open Data Policy for Council approval this fall. In terms of implementation, the County increased the number of published data sets from 150 to 225, or by 33 per cent over last year. 

Points were also scored on impact, recognizing accessibility and use of the County’s open data has grown and shown benefits within the organization and for the community. Strathcona County has been active involving the community through library sponsored education series, presenting within the region, and supporting local entrepreneurs.

More local businesses are using open data as part of their daily operations. The Open Data Coordinator regularly receives requests from engineering firms, schools, store owners, and developers who want to access some specific data or enhance a currently available data set. Many housing related businesses are accessing the building permits data that is updated nightly. Reference data such as park locations and amenities, pathways, census, infrastructure and land imagery are also in high demand.

Enabling business, community and the municipality to create value out of data is a key goal. In recognition of this focus, Strathcona County also took home the Open Data Value Award at the Canadian Open Data Summit 2016 held in April.

View the complete 2016 Open Cities Index results report

Access the County’s Open Data Portal.

 

Set in the centre of Alberta’s energy and agricultural heartland, Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of almost 96,000 residents. Strathcona County is made up of the urban area of Sherwood Park and a large adjacent rural area of farms, acreages and smaller hamlets. It is home to 75 per cent of refining in Western Canada. With a focus on economic, governance, social, cultural and environmental sustainability, Strathcona County is committed to balancing the unique needs of its diverse community.

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Contact: Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595