By Gord Smith, Web Services Manager, Business Management Services Branch, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
A picture is worth a thousand words, especially if it helps plan a safe journey. DriveBC, one of government’s most popular and valued services, lets commuters, truckers and vacationers in British Columbia see the road ahead with pictures from thousands of highway and traffic cameras.
Whether moving goods or commuting to work, travelers want to see that their road is safe to drive. Seeing the road gives travelers the information and confidence they need to avoid delays or take alternate routes, or not drive at all if conditions are poor.
DriveBC Webcam Open Data
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) is now releasing images and data from these highway and traffic cameras on DataBC for commercial use under the Open Government License (OGL)—British Columbia. The release builds on MOTI’s Open511, a data feed of real-time road event data from DriveBC that is already shared under the OGL.
MOTI’s release of its highway webcam data is another step in the Open511 strategy. Led by the non-profit OpenNorth, and already adopted in several jurisdictions, the Open511 standard holds the potential to provide drivers with reliable and consistent road condition information, no matter what province or state they are driving through. In the future, as MOTI’s webcam and open data program matures, developers will have access to new camera and sensor data as it becomes available. Read more about DriveBC and Open511.
Why open data?
The goal of these open data releases is to further meet public and industry demand for travel information. Tech entrepreneurs and developers can use this open data to develop innovative technologies that can help improve safety and mobility.
The Government of B.C. invests in highways and roads to move British Columbians and goods efficiently and safely around the province. Together with the B.C. tech sector we can develop technology that will make our roads even safer and more efficient.
March 16th Discovery Day in Vancouver
A transportation-themed BC Developers’ Exchange Discovery Day for tech entrepreneurs and developers is happening March 16th in Vancouver. Presented by Wavefront, Microsoft, GitHub, and the BC Developers’ Exchange, the event is already sold out.
At the event, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, City of Vancouver, City of Surrey, and TransLink will discuss their business challenges in need of innovation. MOTI will ask developers to help define Open511 standards for our webcam data so that it can be integrated into new and innovative applications.
Attendees will also learn about the raw ingredients available – open data and APIs – that can be used to build solutions to solve these challenges. This includes the Open511-DriveBC API.
The Discovery Day will be a first step. We’ll determine ways to engage the tech community around these business challenges in the coming months. So stay tuned.