Strathcona County earns Open Data Value Award

June 14, 2016

Strathcona County earns Open Data Value Award

Mayor Roxanne Carr and members of Council acknowledge Open Data Coordinator, Chris Kershaw and Strathcona County’s efforts earning the Value Award at the Canadian Open Data Summit 2016.

 

Strathcona County took home the Open Data Value Award at the Canadian Open Data Summit 2016 held in Saint John, New Brunswick in April. At today’s Priorities Committee, Strathcona County acknowledged the receipt of this award that recognizes excellence in the field of open data.

Open data is available through an online platform with no restrictions or fees to access, use or reuse. The data is provided in machine-readable formats that can be transformed into new web and mobile applications, or used for research and analysis.

Strathcona County launched its Open Data Portal in February 2014 to enable self-service access to GIS maps. Since then, over 150 datasets have been uploaded such as census and community demographics, park, trail and facility locations, transportation networks, property assessment and local child care information.

Open Data Coordinator, Chris Kershaw emphasizes the County’s focus is to maximize the value of our open data for users, to make it easier to use. Ensuring rich and timely datasets that meet local and global standards, and engaging users to generate, report and improve data contribute to overall value.

“Strathcona County is proud to be recognized among the top municipalities leading the evolution of open government in Canada,” says Mayor Roxanne Carr. “By making Strathcona County data open, we enable the public to access and interpret it, and create value from the data for greater benefit to our community ─ both business and families.”

The awards jury highlighted the County’s open data building permits initiative. Public access to this comprehensive data was previously only viewable in hard copy at the County office. Now a rich dataset with 50 columns of content, reflecting over 16 years of data, and updated nightly is available online to everyone. Local businesses are able to query, filter, visualize and download this data directly from the Open Data Portal at any time, and set up notifications on changes in specific areas of interest.

Open data has streamlined the County’s ability to share data internally as well, resulting in significant efficiencies. For example, Assessment and Tax now accesses the Open Data Portal for building permits information, proving more timely and easier to filter than previous methods. 

The County’s open data team has also initiated several training and outreach efforts to heighten community awareness and involvement in using the datasets.

As another indicator of success, Strathcona County’s open data program ranked eighth in the Open Cities Index last year. The 2015 index was the first comprehensive national study of its kind that benchmarked municipal open data initiatives in Canada. The study included 43 of Canada’s largest municipalities and measured the readiness, implementation and impact of participating cities in open data.

Mayor Carr adds, “To be included among the top 10 municipalities in Canada in the Open Cities Index is especially positive given Strathcona County is one of the smallest and newest in the open data global community.”

The public can 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