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The open data initiative of the south western Ontario town of Oakville is gaining momentum.

The town’s online data catalogue grew last week with the inclusion of new data sets on coyotes, cemeteries and energy consumption  at town facilities. The additonal information boosted the catalogue’s contents to 40 data sets, according to city officials. Open data is defined as information that is available in a format that can be read by a computer, and is made available for anyone to use, transform or republish without restriction.

“I am pleased that the town can facilitate the growing open data usage taking place in our community, said Rob Burton, mayor of Oakville. Located in the Halton region on Lake Ontario, Oakville has a population of about 182,500.

He said the town’s partnership with the grassroots high-tech community Silicon Halton has helped the project. Silicon Halton focuses on connecting and creating strong networks among the IT professionals, technology entrepreneurs, educators and companies and IT enthusiasts in the Halton Region.

Burton also expressed optimism that groups such as the local developer  community would “get creative with the town’s open data.”

Inclusion of the energy consumption data, which includes overall usage data and building area-specific information was specially requested by the developer community.

The expansion of the town’s open data program comes at a time when the Harper government is encouraging federal bureaucrats to hasten the release of eligible government data to the public.

Over the next two years, the government also plans to create an open data institute called the Canadian Open data Exchange (CODEX) that will serve as a national market place which includes an online community for those that want to commercialize federal open data.

In September, Silicon Halton hosted a meetup to brainstorm about open data and opportunities presented by the town’s 12-month open data project. More than 82 developers and “data enthusiasts” attended. The next day, Oakville “had the highest number of downloads to data from its data catalogue,” a statement from the town said.



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