Calgary open data report delayed

By DJ Kelly December 11, 2009

I heard about this a couple weeks ago but didn’t get a chance to look into it any further until recently.

It looks like the City of Calgary’s Open Data report from Administration to Council originally scheduled for December has been delayed. Apparently it has taken a lot more work to put the report together than originally anticipated. I hear from the City’s eGoverment section of IT (who knew they had such a thing?!) that the plan is now to have the report come to the February 10 meeting of the Standing Policy Committee on Finance and Corporate Services. So mark your calendars.

This shouldn’t be too surprising given the way the open data suggestion came to the City of Calgary. (I suggested it to two Alderman.) I imagine there was a steep learning curve that resulted in a delay in the ball really getting rolling. I think of this like the Ironman: it doesn’t matter if you win the race so long as you cross the finish line it’s a victory.

One good thing to come of this is I have a meeting scheduled with the City’s IT department. It may not seem like much, but the fact they reached out to me is unusual for the City of Calgary’s Administration, in my opinion. Admin’s modus operandi in many areas is in strong contrast to what we’ve seen from the City of Edmonton’s IT department in regards to open data, who, being heavily involved in the Edmonton’s tech community, were the ones to bring forward the open data initiative there.

In fact, thanks to the Open Data Workshop put on by volunteers from the City of Edmonton’s IT department on November 21, I can officially say I’ve met more of their IT department than I can even name in Calgary. Hopefully my coffee meeting is a sign of a changing way of the City interacting with citizens. No pressure, right?

In other Calgary open data news, I think it’s time to get the Calgary tech community on board! The data won’t be very interesting if there aren’t coders out there willing to work with the data. To that end, I’ve enquired about presenting on Open Data, what other jurisdictions have done, and what kinds of apps we could build for Calgary at the next Demo Camp. I’m not sure when the next one is, but it’d be great to have some community support heading into February.

All-in-all, things are heading in the direction. Slow and steady. Stay tuned for more.