To kick-start the effort several departments have created apps including a duty and taxes estimator from the Canada Border Services Agency and an interactive soil information app from Agriculture Canada.
Privately-developed efforts include a weather radar app and – perhaps to go along with the duty estimator – a BlackBerry app that shows border crossing delay times.
Part of the justification of the open data movement – and it is global -- is that the information gathered by governments has been paid for by taxpayers, so it belongs to them. But governments at all three levels also believe that when the private sector or ordinary citizens create these apps, it takes a load off the backs of government app developers.
They also hope there will be some economic spin-offs if developers are able to commercialize their work.