New Brunswick

National open data summit to be held in Saint John Thursday

The Canadian Open Data Summit is being held in Saint John on Thursday in attempts to create opportunities for citizens and private sector businesses in the city.

1st time Canadian Open Data Summit has been hosted in Atlantic Canada

Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton have open data that is available on their city websites, but Cathy Simpson says many people don't know enough about it in order to go searching for it. (NBIF)

The Canadian Open Data Summit is being held in Saint John on Thursday in attempts to create opportunities for citizens and private sector businesses in the city.

It's the first time the annual event, designed to address the most pressing challenges facing the open data community, has been held in Atlantic Canada.

"When we think about data, we think big data, analytics," said Cathy Simpson, technology leader for nb+, a digital lab and open data initiative between the provincial government and TechImpact, and chairwoman of the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation.

It's information available for anyone, anytime, anywhere.- Cathy Simpson, nb+

"It's information available for anyone, anytime, anywhere," she said. "It's mapping data … where our parks are located, where our buildings are located."

Simpson hopes the summit will stimulate the use of the information and make it more open to the public.

"Data sets could be freely usable to consume and use as people wish … What we want is citizens to understand the type of information available. Data is not just numbers, it's information of all sorts."

Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton have open data that is available on their city websites, but Simpson says people don't know enough about it in order to go searching for it.

The open data summit, being held at the Delta Brunswick hotel, will feature a number of speakers from across the country, including Kevin Tuer from the University of Waterloo.

Tuer is the managing director at the Open Data Institute. He will discuss how the city can use data to drive improvements to products, services, sales and marketing.

"Once we showcase what we are doing, more citizens will be looking for it, more private sector companies will be looking for open data," said Simpson.

"We have government opening up, so we want businesses coming here because of the work we are doing with open data."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dylan Hackett is a CBC News writer and reporter based in Moncton.

With files from Information Morning Saint John

now