How to Start an Open Data Project

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(Ben McNamee) #1

Parks and Recreation Ontario (PRO) is having their annual Educational Forum and Trade Show this week up in Collingwood. I had the great opportunity to present with Diane English on Open Data in the Parks and Rec sector in Ontario. There was clear recognition of the benefit of Open Data in this space, particularly as a tool to help inform policy, to provide standardized benchmarking across communities, and to encourage strategic collaboration across Parks and Rec Departments in different municipalities. However, there was also a number of questions and apprehension about where to start, how to ensure that risks are mitigated, and how to ensure that Open Data projects are valuable to all stakeholders. To that end, here are some tips for how to start on an Open Data project.

  1. Get out of your office
    • ASK stakeholders what data they want, or would find value in
  2. Don’t neglect thinking about Privacy
    • Open Data will not succeed without serious thought given to Privacy
  3. Keep looking for the overlap between your strategic goals and the data you have
    • Start with the data that most aligns to your strategic goals… Make the data work for you
  4. Find an Expert
    • There are a growing number of Open Data experts and organizations across the province. My co-host Michael, and his organization Powered by Data, is one such expert
  5. Look for others who have already walked in your shoes
    • There is no need to re-invent the wheel; Release something
  6. Then, keep going!