Yesterday Edmonton became the first city in Canada to release “a fully robust set” of City Council datasets to its open data catalogue. A total of five datasets were released, including meeting details, agenda items, motions, attendance, and voting records. There are now more than 100 datasets available in the catalogue, with more on the way.
Here’s the video recording of the news conference:
The City also produced a video about the new datasets:
The Office of the City Clerk is responsible for managing Council & Committee meetings, boards, elections, and more. The release of this data (referred to as “Clerk’s data” by some City employees) is another example of the way that office has embraced technology over the years. Kudos to Alayne Sinclair and her team, as well as Chris Moore, Ashley Casovan, and the rest of the IT team for making this data available!
I’m really excited about the potential for this data. The information has long been available on the City’s website, it was just locked away in meeting minutes as “unstructured” data – possible for humans to read relatively easily, but not for software. Now that it is available as “structured” data in the open data catalogue, applications can be written that take advantage of the data. You can find the data under the City Administration tab of the catalogue. Unfortunately the datasets only go back to June 1, 2011 instead of the start of Council’s term in October 2010. Currently, the datasets are updated daily.
I’ve now had a chance to look through the data, and while it looks good, it is unfortunately incomplete at the moment. There’s quite a bit of data missing. I would love to do some statistical analysis on the data, but with so many missing records there’s a good chance that my conclusions would be incorrect. I have already summarized my findings and passed them along to the team, so hopefully they can resolve the issues quickly!
I have already added functionality to ShareEdmonton for this data, and as soon as the datasets are fixed, I’ll release it. I hate to say “stay tuned” but there’s not much choice right now!