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Open Smart Cities in Canada

Jan 2017 - Mar 2018
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), GeoConnections Program

In collaboration with leading researchers and Canadian smart cities, as well as provinces with advanced open government programs, this project will develop municipal data management policies and guidelines that connect open data and smart cities programmes and ensure the two support one another. With a focus on interoperability and interjurisdictional coordination, this project supports capacity building and knowledge exchange. There are five milestones:

  • Gap analysis of open data standards and international smart city actors. The report identifies the actors that define smart cities, how new technology procurement furthers smart city goals, and how ideas of transparency and accessibility translate to smart city policy and practice.
  • Assessment of Canadian smart city practices. In depth city profiles were developed as a result of interviews with City officials involved with developing smart cities from the cities of Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, and Guelph. Preliminary results of the Assessment and Gap Analysis were presented during a webinar on August 30th. See blog post.
  • Review of selected open smart city best practices in four international cities (Chicago, Dublin, Helsinki, and New York). The literature review will focus on approaches to open and geospatial data standardization in a smart city context. These cities were chosen for their innovation geospatial and open data policies and practices.
  • Provincial case study. To situate open smart city policies and data management practices in Canada’s inter-jurisdictional context, OpenNorth will conduct in-depth interviews with the Province of Ontario and consult with the Province of British Columbia.
  • Data management policies and guidelines. This final phase of the project will be developed in close consultation with municipal and provincial partners. Results will be disseminated broadly.

OpenNorth is also part of a separate GeoConnections project which is developing a Geospatial Decision Support Platform (GDSP) for municipalities. This platform differentiates itself from MASAS national emergency management system (EMS) by providing a decision support system to facilitate the everyday business of a city by de-siloing data on a city-wide shared platform. OpenNorth is working with geospatial data managers from the cities of Toronto, Vancouver, and Niagara on data requirements and availability.

City of Toronto Open Data Master Plan and Roadmap

Jul 2017 - Dec 2017
City of Toronto

OpenNorth is currently working with the City of Toronto’s open data team to design and coordinate an internal and external multi-stakeholder engagement process culminating in the city’s open data master plan and implementation roadmap. OpenNorth developed a thematic, focused cluster engagement model on city resilience and smart city issues to identify the value added of open data with targeted stakeholders. See publication on urban resilience. The City’s master plan and roadmap framework are based on best practices from leading international examples and open data maturity models based on the Open Data Charter. An advisory group of 40 local open data leaders was created to inform the development of the project's outputs and outcomes.

Aligning Local Open Data Programs with International Best Practices

Jan 2017 - Ongoing
Open Data Charter Secretariat

The Government of Canada was among the key global partners that led the creation of the Open Data Charter (ODC) in 2015. More than 50 governments have adopted the ODC to date, including the City of Edmonton and the Province of Ontario. As a Steward of the ODC, OpenNorth conducted a study in early 2017 to identify how local and provincial governments in Canada could align open data programs with ODS principles and its framework. See blog post. OpenNorth was since contracted by the Open Data Charter Secretariat to interview city managers, local civic leaders, and elected officials from 4 cities in Canada, the Province of Ontario, 3 cities around the world (Buenos Aires, Argentina; Lviv, Ukraine; Durham, NC, USA) to identify adoption barriers, interests, future plans, and support needs.

Canada in the World: Towards Canadian-Led Open Government

July 2017 - November 2017

In collaboration with Powered by Data, OpenNorth identified the opportunities for Canada to take a leadership role in the global open government movement, and expand the Federal Government's open government policy internationally. We position open government within the arena of foreign policy and as an alternative form of Canadian soft power. Based on the views of 13 Canadian open government experts, the following 6 themes provide guidance for Canada's leadership role as a member of the Open Government Partnership Steering Committee:

  1. Lead by Example
  2. Active and Proactive Participation by Politicians and Civil Servants at all Levels
  3. Clarify the Message
  4. Go Beyond Compliance
  5. Translate Open Government to Other Policy Areas
  6. Reinforce the Relationship with Canadian Civil Society Organisations

This timely report serves as the basis for engagement with the Government of Canada. Read the report here.

State of Open Data

Aug 2017 - Jan 2019
International Development Research Center (IDRC)

OpenNorth was awarded a grant by IDRC for The State of Open Data: Reflecting on Its Role for Sustainable Development project to examine the maturity of the global open data movement leading up to the International Open Data Conference 2018. OpenNorth is part of the project’s steering group which will develop the research methodology, recruit leading international expert contributors, design specific interventions on topics of interest, and oversee the review and editorial process. Given its track record, OpenNorth is responsible for the cities section of the final publication, for which it will prototype its data driven problem framing and solutions development stakeholder engagement methodology.

Developing and Facilitating Multi-Stakeholder Data Governance Initiatives

Jul 2017 - Mar 2018
Quartier des spectacles (QdS), City of Montréal

Led by the Partenariat du Quartier des Spectacles, which coordinates engagement strategies and initiatives in Montreal’s foremost arts and entertainment district, OpenNorth is developing and facilitating a multi-stakeholder shared data governance working group with cultural industry stakeholders. The initiative includes all major cultural venues in the area, research institutions, and provincial government partners. The sharing governance model will include: data life cycle management procedures, joint data ontologies and standards, technical capacity building, a common policy framework and prototypes and tools to demonstrate the value added of shared data collaboration (e.g. market research and analysis, business development, data visualization). Building on our experience initiating the Province of Quebec’s multijurisdictional open data portal, the QdS model is being documented to scale and funding is currently being sought to sustain and expand the ongoing Montreal initiative.

Municipal Do-It-Yourself Open Data Toolkit

Apr 2017 - Sep 2017
Treasury Board Secretariat, Government of Canada

OpenNorth was contracted by TBS to develop a municipal Do-It-Yourself (DIY) open data toolkit for Canadian cities that have yet to implement open data initiatives. The toolkit was developed in collaboration with 15 Canadian cities of different sizes and capacity with advanced open data programs. The DIY provides program management guidelines and examples of documented benefits, roadmap and planning templates, use cases and check lists, and a comprehensive list of resources (i.e. standards, policies, risk analysis) to help municipalities begin opening their data and join the Canadian open data community. The DIY also gives advice on data stakeholder needs identification and sustainable engagement practices. Adapted for its specific audience, the toolkit also provides labour and cost estimates required for municipalities to start their own initiatives. OpenNorth is currently in discussion with different provincial governments to adapt, prototype, and deploy the DIY regionally as well as develop advanced versions of the DIY. Explore the Municipal Open Data Toolkit here, hosted by the Government of Canada.

From Development to Adoption: Lessons From Three Open Standards

Sep 2017 - Nov 2017
Open Data Institute

Developing and maintaining data standards is difficult, but a necessary step to unlock the potential for open data. To maximise the potential for widespread adoption, new standards initiatives must build upon the success and failure of existing standards. OpenNorth will document its own experiences with Popolo, Represent, and Open511 to share with the global open data community. See the Impact section on our website for more information about these open data standards.