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Frequently Asked Questions


What is Open Data?
What about Privacy?
What is an App?
How are datasets selected?
What makes this data different from what's already available on the Peel Data Centre website?
How will the site be expanded in the future?
What is a mashup?
How can people contact the Region about Open Data?
Why Can I not view some data sets?

What is Open Data?
Open Data is a philosophy and practise requiring that certain data (information) are freely available to everyone, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control, and can be shared in its original or converted form. Open Data is machine readable and is readily accessible to a user community with the ability to be combined with other data sets from other sources. Information provided through Open Data initiatives can include GIS data, budget data, transit schedules, and any other government data. Open data is a result of the transition to Open Government, which uses technology to better solve problems, to create a citizen engaged participatory environment, reflecting government transparency and accountability.

Open Data Principles as set out by the Sunlight Foundation:

Completeness: datasets to be as complete as possible, reflecting the entirety of what is recorded about a particular subject

Primacy: data sets should be the original information collected by the Region of Peel, details on how the data was collected and the original source documents

Timeliness: When feasible information should be released as quickly as it is generated and collected

Ease of Physical and Electronic Access: Data sets should be as accessible as possible meaning the ease with which information can be obtained, whether through physical or electronic means.

Machine Readability: Information should be stored in a widely-used file formats that easily lend themselves to machine processing.

Non-discrimination: Any person can access the data at any time without having to identify him/herself or provide justification for doing so.

Use of Commonly Owned Standards: Data should be available in freely available alternative formats where stored data can be accessed without the need for a software license.

Licensing: Maximal openness includes clearly labelling public information as a work of the government and available without restrictions on use as part of the public domain.

Permanence: Information made available online should remain online, with appropriate version-tracking and archiving

Usage Costs: Data should be available free of charge. Imposing fees for access skews the pool of who is willing (or able) to access information.

What about Privacy?
This Open Data Pilot site will not be releasing personal information and will follow current privacy regulations at the Region of Peel. Refer to the Terms of Use for further information.

What is an App?
The term App, or application can be web-based or mobile. Web based apps are accessed through the internet on your desktop. Mobile apps are downloaded from a program onto you smartphone or tablet. When speaking about Apps created through open data they are designed mainly to assist the end user with specific tasks. For example, a reminder of when garbage day is, location of parks with playgrounds in your neighbourhoods or a real time bus schedule. The possibilities are endless with Apps and only limited to the designers imagination.

How are datasets selected?
The first set of data was selected by using a web analytics program. The frequency at which data was accessed from the Peel Data website was used to determine the most popular data sets. Spatial (GIS) datasets were selected based on information maintained by the Region of Peel. The data selected was also available to be converted into a machine readable and nonproprietary format.

What makes this data different from what's already available on the Peel Data Centre website?
The data currently available on the Peel Data Centre website is for the most part only available in html format. The concept of Open Data is to provide information that is in machine readable format. Data sets will be available for download in xls, csv, shp and kmz formats allowing users to download and manipulate the data at their own discretion.  Glossary of Terms provides more information on how to open and use the data types we provide.

How will the site be expanded in the future?
Subsequent data set roll outs will be dependant on data made available by other departments. Future data set releases will be chosen by analyzing licensing agreements and by using a readiness assessment conducted by the department.

What is a mashup?
A mashup is a web page or an application that combines two or more data sets to create a new and useful tool from raw data. The value in these mashups lies in the speed and limited resources needed to produce practical day to day uses of raw data.

How can people contact the Region about Open Data?
Feel free to fill out our feedback form or contact us at: open.data@peelregion.ca

Why can I not view some data sets?
All data on Region of Peel's Open Data site is machine-readable but some data sets require specific software to view and use the information. Refer to the glossary of terms for more information.

If you do not find a data set you are looking for please email us here.


www.peelregion.ca

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