Archive for January, 2012

In our last post “Looking Ahead” we asked for your feedback on how to improve the delivery of data services to the citizens of BC.

One area slated for improvement is the DataBC website. Last week, changes were made to include some of the geographic data services previously housed by GeoBC. This was done to reflect the role DataBC plays in all of government’s data services by providing open data and geographic data and services.

More changes to the DataBC website are coming.  One function we are working on is filtered search. In his recent blog about his submission to the Government of Canada on open government, David Eaves recommended filtered search as function to help share government data effectively. He also had a number of other recommendations including having a preview function so one could check how useful a dataset was before downloading.

Because we want to make sure the site works for you, we would like to hear your ideas on how to improve the website, making it easier for citizens to access and use the government’s data and data services.

So have your say and leave tell us what you think. What do you like about the current website? What would you like changed?

We look forward to your feedback.


Looking Ahead

On January - 17 - 2012

Posted by David Wrate on behalf of the DataBC Team

Last week we talked about the events of 2011 and hinted at what we hope to do in 2012.

Open data + people * ideas = value. In 2012 we want to make sure we’re on track with these factors.

On the data publication side, we’ve had ministries scan their operations  to locate more data. We’re working on how best share this information. We just published five datasets on libraries in the province including the lat/lon coordinates for each library.


You have shown great interest in the financial data in the catalogue so we’re working on more financial data from previous years including budget data. Likewise on natural resource and GIS data, so we’ll dig deeper (pun intended!) for other resource data to support research and development activities in the province. We plan to build on the base of education data. And we’ll increase  and improve the usability of the Health data.

But we we want to make sure we’re publishing the data you want. We’ve received many requests, some of which we’ve been able to fill and others we’re still working to publish. We’re looking at how you can help rank these requests. But we always want to know what else is interesting to you. What data would make your app really work? Is there data that would help your studies or your teaching? What data do you need to make better business decisions? Tell us and we’ll get to work on it. Can’t make promises but we’ll do our level best.

You’ve told us that data usability is a high priority. We think we’ve got a handle on some aspects such as structure and formats but we’re interested in hearing from you on how we can make our data more usable. Tell us how to improve.

We’re also very interested how data is delivered. What methods make sense for what kind of data? Where do we need to apply our energy? We think this is an important topic because there’s potential to lower costs for everyone. That makes sense.

We’ve been fortunate to attend some of the hackathons around the province and we’ve seen brilliant work. Have you seen or been involved in other activities that sparked your creativity? Tell us about them, maybe we can create a ‘first of it’s kind’ event for BC or Canada.

Have you used data to create a positive outcome for the people of BC?  Did you make a cool visualization or useful app? Tell us and we’ll help tell the world.

There’s lots of work to do. We want to help.

Looking back (and ahead)

On January - 12 - 2012

2011 has come and gone and it’s the second week of January 2012.

It was a whirlwind year and we’re pretty proud of the results:

  • Opened Canada’s first provincial government open data catalogue with 2,490 entries
  • DataBC received over 30,000 visits
  • Over 6,400 data files were downloaded
  • 492 Twitter peeps began  following @Data_BC
  • Hosted a hackathon with Open Data BC and Mozilla where 50 attendees created awesome work
  • Helped the Ministry of Education hold a hackathon for students introducing them to the power of data
  • Published an additional 202 catalogue entries

All of this is good but following the mantra that says “you’re only as good as your last project”  means we can’t rest on our laurels.

So, in the coming months you’ll see us reach out to you for advice on how to make the DataBC experience better.  Tell us about what works, what doesn’t work and where we can improve.

So, thank you for a terrific year, let’s make 2012 an even better year for open data in BC and in Canada.