GTEC 2010: David Eaves on Open Data: 'Just Do It!'

by Robert Janelle

David Eaves wants the Federal Government to kill his website.

While that would be a nightmare for many web entrepreneurs, the outspoken Open Data activist has been scraping government data and putting it up on and would like the government itself to make his work irrelevant.

Open Data is the principle whereby governments of all levels place all government data that does not violate individual privacy online in machine readable format and allow anyone to use it in whatever way they wish.

The result of some of this data being released has been the creation of various apps like VanTrash, which tells Vancouver residents when to take out their garbage.

"This city would never create this in a million years," said Eaves, speaking at Systemscope's Ignite presentations at GTEC.

Ordinary citizens are making use of the data but more than that, said Eaves, government departments are using Open Data to get information from other departments faster than when they have to fill out requests.

"This is a huge opportunity to lower costs," he said.

With several municipal governments having already adopted Open Data policies, the precedent is set. Infrastructure is in place as well as the necessary privacy and legal policies.

"Just do it," said Eaves. "If you don't, we will," he added, pointing to

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Robert Janelle

Robert Janelle

Robert Janelle is a freelance technology journalist living in the National Capital Region. He's spent time covering the Ottawa start-up scene as a columnist and feature writer with his work in National Capital Scan, The Ottawa Citizen, The Ottawa Sun, Kingston Whig-Standard and The Escapist. He also suffers from a mild addiction to video games. more

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