Open data encourages innovation

Article image - Open data encourages innovation Moreton Bay Regional Council has joined 33 other local governments in Australia in adopting an Open Data Policy.

Moreton Bay Regional Council in Queensland has adopted a new Open Data Policy, opening up new opportunities for the region’s innovators and entrepreneurs.

The new policy will make non-sensitive data freely available and more easily accessible than ever before, with an Application Programing Interface (API) enabling computer programs to draw information directly out of the system.  

A Creative Commons license will govern how the data can be used and how it must be attributed.

The type of information that will initially become open under the new policy includes waste collection information, public amenity locations, information about public buildings and infrastructure, maps, flood level records, town planning data and flora and fauna information.

Moreton Bay Regional Council has joined 33 other local governments in Australia in adopting an Open Data Policy, with the Federal Government and all of the country’s State and Territory governments also having Open Data arrangements in place.

Council’s Corporate Services Spokesman, Councillor Adrian Raedel said the policy would make council even more open and accountable, but would not allow for the sharing of sensitive information.

“This policy applies to non-sensitive data only, and it will be made available through online infrastructure that is not housed on council’s server to ensure there is no risk of users downloading more sensitive personal information, such as ratepayer’s contact information, rate payment histories, commercial-in-confidence information or legal records,” said Cr Raedel.

“Opening up our non-sensitive data in this way will create a world of new opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs who can use it in innovative ways that could greatly benefit our community.

“For example, a technically minded developer may want to create a new mobile app that shows us in real time when roads are closed during a flooding event. This type of data could be accessed by real-time GPS and mapping systems too.

“Another programmer might want to design a program that maps all of council’s dog parks and the facilities around them, which will save dog owners from searching out the information themselves.”