Open Hamilton is looking for information on the City of Hamilton website which can be converted into open public data.
The first two data sets are complete, thanks to the hard work of OH member Ryan McGreal and posted to the data repository on Raise The Hammer.
McGreal took this table and quickly converted the intersections into their geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) using a Python script. He made a data file of the information and plotted the locations using the Google Maps API.
Using a similar technique, McGreal has also mapped the locations of Hamilton's recreation centres using another HTML table on the City website.
These data sets represent the first layers in Open Hamilton's comprehensive City of Hamilton mashup map project: Hamilton Guide. The mashup map is inspired by VanGuide and will use all open data that includes geographical location data in the Hamilton area.
VanGuide allows users to select and layer data sets available in the Vancouver region. This information includes drinking fountain locations, bus stops, and parking lot information for a private parking company which publishes rates and locations in an open data format.
These are just some of the possibilities with open public data.
These two data sets were quick to create and not costly to produce. Opponents of open public data claim that making public data accessible this way will be costly and cause an "information overload." However, seeing crossing guard data displayed on a map is easier to understand that a large table listing the locations.
Open public data is the right thing for government to do and produces results.
this blog entry was first posted on the Open Hamilton website
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