International Open Data Day in Edmonton

Today is Open Data Day around the world, and here in Edmonton we celebrated with a hackathon at the Edmonton Public Library’s new Makerspace. A few dozen people came out to learn more about open data, to hear ideas from others, and to start exploring and building.

International Open Data Day Hackathon

The day started off with “speed data-ing”, where anyone who wanted to could pitch an idea to the room. Once the pitches were done, there were a lot of great conversations taking place as everyone figured out how they wanted to spend their time for the rest of the day. Teams slowly self-assembled, and then everyone got to work.

International Open Data Day Hackathon

At the end of the day, teams had the opportunity to show off the progress they had made throughout the day. One team worked on visualizing open datasets so that they could be more easily accessed and used by educators. Another team looked at visualizing how many dogs there are and which breeds are most popular in different areas of the city. The winning idea was a visualization of tree data in Edmonton. Hackathons are typically longer than just a few hours, so it was impressive to see what everyone was able to come up with given the time constraints!

International Open Data Day Hackathon

There has never been a better time to be an open data developer in Edmonton. The City of Edmonton’s open data catalogue now contains more than 400 datasets, and the Citizen Dashboard that sits atop the catalogue recently won a national public-sector leadership award. The Government of Alberta’s open data catalogue also has more than 400 datasets now, and it only launched last May. The Government of Canada recently expanded and updated its large open data catalogue. And just this week, Strathcona County launched its own data catalogue featuring more than 60 datasets.

International Open Data Day Hackathon

Many other cities around the world hosted hackathons today too. Here’s what Open Data Day is about:

Open Data Day is a gathering of citizens in cities around the world to write applications, liberate data, create visualizations and publish analyses using open public data to show support for and encourage the adoption open data policies by the world’s local, regional and national governments.

Open Data has come a long way over the last few years. It has been adopted by governments around the world both large and small, and even organizations like the G8 have adopted an Open Data Charter. Countless apps and services have been developed to take advantage of all that information, and I think the best is yet to come. If you’re looking for an open data primer, check out the Government of Canada’s Open Data 101 or check out the Apps Gallery.

Thanks to the City and EPL for hosting a fun and creative day at the Makerspace! You can see more photos from the day here.