Sudbury aims for transparency through 'open data' program

The City of Greater Sudbury has joined a growing number of governments to launch an open data program.

First release of information is not very useful, critic says, as it's old news already in an app

Greater Sudbury is giving citizens a peek at the inner workings of the city. It has started an open data program, following a campaign promise by new Mayor Brian Bigger. This sees internal information about city operations posted on a public website to be used by citizens. (Shutterstock / Ivelin Radkov)

The City of Greater Sudbury has joined a growing number of governments to launch an open data program.

This sees internal information about city operations posted on a public website to be used by citizens.

The first release in Sudbury is three data sets on the city transit system, including the real-time movements of buses.

Lily Noble from the Friends of Greater Sudbury is encouraged by the release, but said it's less useful, since the city has already created a smartphone application letting riders know how far away their bus is.

The first release of open data includes the GPS co-ordinates for all 1,350 bus stops in the city.

"I guess I'm hesitant about saying this will change anything because this is something that we would have liked many years ago, somebody could have developed something sooner,” Noble said.

But she is encouraged that this is the start of something more.

"Open data is always better because you get everybody involved who has time and you don't have to wait for the city to find somebody who's got the expertise and the time to do something, so I can see this really benefiting the whole city once they start releasing data from different things."

The city has not said what kind of information could be released through its open data website in the future.

But staff are expected to report to city council on the project at a meeting in April.

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