Blog article: Open Data: A product approach
What is open data? Believe it or not, this is a very common question, and rightfully so. Many people are unaware of the decade long open data movement that has been going on in Toronto, longer elsewhere in North America. Governments around the world are making an effort to make data available to the public free of cost under an open license. There are many reasons for this, such as:
- enabling economic opportunities
- improving operational efficiencies
- increasing transparency
- stimulating innovation
With such noble intentions why are so many people unaware of the open data movement? One reason could be the initial target audience, application developers. The early days of open data in Toronto focused on releasing data with the hope that software applications would be developed to improve social services. While there have been some successful applications developed from the City of Toronto’s open data (i.e. Rocket Man) the level of application development did not reach the desired level, meaning the positive news and linkage that would accompany the promotion from an app did not occur. The second, and maybe the more likely reason, people are scared of data. The majority of people do not search out data for the sole purpose to perform analysis or to build software applications.
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