Help the Open Data Charter learn what helps cities

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[The city of Edmonton, Alberta, was the first city in Canada to adopt the Charter. Photo: Jeff Wallace]

As more and more cities take steps to adopt open data programs, we have an opportunity to reflect on what motivates them to invest resources into these initiatives. The Open Data Charter (ODC) and Open North are seizing this opportunity and collaborating to gain a better understanding of the benefits and challenges facing governments designing and implementing open data approaches.

Whether cities are currently opening their data, exploring adoption of the Charter as an option, or using other resources, we want to learn from their experiences. We’ll focus on cities in Canada, but the project will include a few international cities for comparison.

The ODC is a collaboration between governments and experts working to open up data, based on a shared set of principles. Open North is Canada’s leading not-for-profit organization specialized in open data and civic technology. It is also Steward of the ODC and an active member of a global open data community

Partnering on this research is something we are all excited about because it will give us tangible insights into the opportunities and challenges faced by city-level officials working on open data. We are confident that the findings will help improve the practical support we can offer governments as they endeavour to open their data.

As a promising but new initiative in the open data world, the experiences of adopting and implementing the Charter are relatively undocumented. We want to begin to build the understanding by hearing directly from practitioners and learn from their experiences.

Through structured interviews with open data leaders from government, political and civil society, we’ll explore topics like:

  • What motivates cities to invest in open data initiatives?
  • What are their successes and challenges in implementing open data initiatives and moving from data publication to improving public service?
  • What do municipal governments need in terms of support and resources for opening data?
  • How has the Open Data Chartered featured in their efforts?

The feedback from government open data leads will help us better understand the contextual nuances in open data policy implementation in Canada and globally. The project will allow us to understand how we can better support those on the ground who are working to open up data. The results of this study will be open and published in a report by Open North/ODC by the end of this year.

For more information, get in touch: info@opendatacharter.org.

Jean-Noé Landry, is the Executive Director of OpenNorth, Canada’s leading not-got-profit organization specialized in open data and civic tech.

Merlin Chatwin, is a PhD Student and a public sector researcher and consultant.

[This guest post was previously published on the Open Data Charter’s Medium account. -Ed.]

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