Edmonton’s Open Data Program Ranks #1

January 26, 2016 7:00 am PST | Data as a Service

Pop the champagne and cue the confetti: Edmonton received the top spot in the inaugural Open Cities Index. The report, released by Public Sector Digest and Canada’s Open Data Exchange, ranked 34 municipalities — together, they account for nearly half of Canada’s population. By evaluating each city, the report provides a yardstick for success as well as feedback on the cities’ open data initiatives.

Edmonton received the highest raw score (151 out of 193) of any of the Canadian cities. This is not the first time Edmonton has been acknowledged as a pioneer in open data: the city earned an award for its citizen dashboard in 2014, and was anointed the “City of Open Data Champions” last year.

Why Edmonton Ranks So High

Open data initiatives were ranked based on three main factors: readiness, implementation, and impact. To score well, cities had to make datasets available, for free, in formats that were readily accessible by residents, as well as being machine-readable. The report called for a wide variety of datasets.

“We were quite thrilled that we were on the top of the list,” said Open City Edmonton Director Wendy Gnenz, speaking to Canada’s Global News. Datasets on traffic disruption and construction are amongst the city’s most viewed data. But with more than 1,000 datasets and visualizations available, there’s plenty for citizens to explore — Gentz commented that it can be surprising just how interested people are in rainfall data and the location of bike racks.

Like Toronto and Surrey, cities that also received strong scores, Edmonton “placed open data at the centre of their strategies to open up government, while providing the private sector with valuable data for analysis and reuse,” according to the report. Edmonton had an overall score of 78 percent for its open data program, and received its highest score in the innovation sub-category.

What’s Next for Edmonton’s Open Data Initiative

Edmonton’s dashboard launched six years ago. And while some cities might feel a bit complacent after much acknowledgment and praise of open data efforts, that’s certainly not the case for Edmonton, which kicked off the year with a redesign of its Open Data Portal and Citizen Dashboard. With this new launch, Edmonton aims to make the sites even more user-friendly, with easy access to apps built using open data, increased mobile functionality, and other site improvements.

To learn how your government can achieve your goals with Socrata’s cloud-based open data solutions, which power Edmonton’s dashboard, schedule a call with one of our open data experts.

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