Councillor Brian McHattie will call on Council to direct staff to prepare a report on the benefits, risks and opportunities associated with a City commitment to open public data.
By Ryan McGreal
Published July 22, 2011
Councillor Brian McHattie is presenting a notice of motion to the August 9, 2011 General Issues Committee (GIC, formerly Committee of the Whole) for Council to commit to open public data in Hamilton.
A notice of motion is a formal statement that a Councillor intends to move a motion at a future meeting. In this case, Councillor McHattie is giving notice in August that he will present the motion in September's GIC meeting.
Working with the City Manager's office, which has been supportive of open public data, Councillor McHattie will call on Council to direct staff to prepare a report on the benefits, risks and opportunities associated with a City commitment to open public data.
The wording of the notice of motion is quite similar to a motion that has been proposed by Open Hamilton, a citizens group dedicated to promote open public data while building community resources that demonstrate its benefits.
Just yesterday, Open Hamilton volunteer Joey Coleman published a searchable online map of city beaches, pools, waterparks, wading pools and splash pads.
Open public data refers to government data that has been defined as public information and made available in open, standardized formats that are findable, accessible and machine-readable so it can be processed by third-party software applications to create resources.
The purpose is to enable citizens to find, analyze, and do useful things with public information. Software written once to provide a service can then do its job over and over again, improving service delivery while saving the city resources.
Open public data is about making public data more accessible, not making private or confidential data public. Data that has privacy implications deserves to remain private.
The full text of McHattie's notice of motion is as follows:
Draft Motion: Open Data in Hamilton
MOTION ON NOTICE
Open Data, Open Standards and Open Source
WHEREAS the City of Hamilton’s expressed values are: accountability, excellence, honesty, innovation, leadership, respect and teamwork; and that the City wishes to involve its citizens in living these values;
AND WHEREAS the adoption of an Open Data policy is intended to advance these values for the following reasons:
municipalities across Canada have an opportunity to dramatically lower their costs by collectively sharing and supporting software they use and create;
the total value of public data is maximized when provided for free or where necessary only a minimal cost of distribution;
when data is shared freely, citizens are enabled to use and re-purpose it to help create a more economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable city; and Hamilton needs to look for opportunities for creating economic activity and partnership with the creative sectors;
the adoption of open standards improves transparency, access to city information by citizens and businesses and improved coordination and efficiencies across municipal boundaries and with federal and provincial partners;
digital innovation can enhance citizen communications, support the brand of the city as creative and innovative, improve service delivery, support citizens to self-organize and solve their own problems and create a stronger sense of civic engagement, community and pride;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT in pursuit of an open data policy, the City of Hamilton will:
Direct the City Manager to report back to Council on open data, open standards and open source including validating and quantifying the benefits listed above and the implications, resources, risks and benefits of endorsing the following principles:
Open and Accessible Data - the City of Hamilton will freely share with citizens, businesses and other jurisdictions the greatest amount of data possible while respecting privacy and security concerns;
Open Standards - the City of Hamilton will move as quickly as possible to adopt prevailing open standards for data, documents, maps and other formats of media; and
Open Source Software - the City of Hamilton, when replacing existing software or considering new applications, will place open source software on an equal footing with commercial systems during procurement cycles.
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