Vancouver is doffing its drapes and will become an information open house.
Councillors voted Thursday to freely share city data online (respecting privacy and security concerns) in document formats that most people would be able to open on their home computers.
“People pay for us to collect data, so we should make it available,” said Vision Coun. Andrea Reimer, who brought the motion forward.
Sharing data, Reimer said, would free up academics and experts from time-consuming data entry to concentrate on policy analysis and advice.
The motion also calls for open-source software to be placed on the same footing as commercial products when the city goes to procure software.
Teresa Marshall, director of Toxic Free Canada, was one of a dozen people who spoke in favour of opening up the city’s data.
She said the information could be used to help map “toxic hotspots.”
“It will put the citizens of Vancouver in a really strong empowered position to find out what is … in our neighbourhoods that could be a potential risk or harm to ourselves and our families.”