Edmonton Open Data

With Open Data about Edmonton you can Discover all manner of things

Back in 2010 Edmonton began making its data public. An official city policy was passed on public data in 2015 and this has lead to people, schools and businesses making requests for precise data sets.

The city’s Open Data platform allows people to find out amazing things such as Edmonton’s best yards, types of 311 complaints per neighbourhood and even which book is requested most at its libraries.

Open Data was in receipt of around 160 requests last year and was able to fulfil data sets for around 154. In the past, information has either not been available or privacy concerns prevented requests from being fulfilled.

Soumya Ghosh is the director of Smart City and commented that the size of the data wasn’t important but its application was. Ghosh went on to state that it was the application that is the interesting and fun part of Open Data, and that innovation was very important.

Useful applications are the aim, such as assisting a real estate company to match a client with a neighbourhood that is the most suitable for them. The data must be used in practical ways, and Ghosh wants people to provide their feedback so that the program can be developed further.

The size of the data sets is not the issue – the impact the information has on society is. Right now this public data is being used in some creative ways:

Clients matched with neighborhood by real estate company

True Home, an Edmonton based real estate company, utilizes Open Data to match potential homeowners with the right neighbourhoods.

The company pulls information from the Open Data platform to locate the right neighbourhood for buyers that matches their interests.

It could be that the house purchaser wants to be close to the transit network, wants a specific type of school or anything else that is important.

There is also an app for small businesses that will help them to locate in the right area where the demand is highest for their products and services. Businesses can access demographic data that will help spot opportunities.

Data used in curricula for post-secondary and public schools

Smart City is working closely with the Edmonton Public School Board to create training materials for their use. The school board has also shown a keen interest in adding Open Data to their curriculum.

The idea of the training is to assist teachers to effectively use the data. At the University of Alberta instructors are already incorporating Open Data in courses.

Locations of radar enforcement locations

Recently data sets of photo traffic enforcement were released. Work continues with the department, and increased numbers of data sets will be released. With this data further research about traffic patterns and flows in Edmonton can be carried out.

The books that are the most popular in Public Libraries

Paula Hawkins’ Into the Water is the most popular book in Edmonton libraries. A hackathon inspired this particular application. Now books are tracked by library branch and time.

Edmonton’s best Yards / Gardens

Gardens that have won awards based on Yards in Bloom winners and nominations can now be found in data sets. If you want to know which are the greenest commercial and residential buildings in the city then you can find that too. There is even a map for the most energy efficient buildings.

Neighborhood specific 311 complaints

If you want to view 311 complaints by neighbourhood or ward this is now possible with Open Data. The type of complaint is stored, and there is also information available about bylaw infractions and where they occur.

This is very useful information for people to know prior to a municipal election. Not only this but there is now flooding and drainage data sets available.

Non-profit organizations assisted decision making

To help non profit organizations with demand and service options Smart City is working closely with them. The information will be free, and these organizations are being asked what they specifically require. An online training program is also being developed to help with raw data navigation and use.

Edible fruit trees app

A local hackathon came up with this concept. An app was developed to show the locations of edible trees. This will help people survive if there is no food in the city.

Pet distribution by neighborhood

It has now become apparent that the southwest of Edmonton has more dog owners than other parts of the city.

Central Edmonton has the most cat owners. By tracking pet license numbers, Open Data can display the concentration of particular pets. Even pet pigeons can be tracked and these are most popular in the northeast.

People really appreciated this information when it was released.

At-risk locations for flooding and drainage problems

Open Data has now tabulated the most at-risk areas in Edmonton should a significant flooding event occur.

The flooding information was presented in a PDF document as part of FOIP (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy) in 2016. The document explained that in the unlikely event (1 in 100 years) of a major flood, which areas would be the most affected.

It took a while to digitize this information from the PDF document and present it in a user friendly way.

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