— Harnessing the power of Microsoft Windows Azure cloud services, the city of Regina, Canada, recently launched an innovative, Web-based open data initiative to put important information directly in the hands of citizens virtually anytime, anywhere. With the city’s Open Data Portal, Regina citizens will now be able to visit a user-friendly online portal that offers easy access to data sets such as ward boundaries, points of interest, solid waste collection and land use — and this is just the beginning.
“The city is committed to open government and transparency, and this open data initiative is a big part of that,” said Alyssa Daku, city of Regina manager, Corporate Information Governance. She added that before offering data in the portal, the city of Regina manually processed more than 2,000 data requests every year, many of which were duplicates. With Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI) DataLab, the city, individuals and businesses are all expected to benefit from this increased access to information.
“OGDI DataLab allows us to work more efficiently, which, in the end, leads to better use of funds and improved public services,” Daku said. “This increased access to information is also great for citizens. It is so exciting to think about the possibility of new services, local innovation and economic growth that it could lead to.”
Using open standards and application programming interfaces, the city of Regina can submit its data to the OGDI DataLab repository for use by external developers, government employees or citizens. OGDI DataLab promotes the use of the city’s data by capturing and publishing reusable software assets, patterns and practices. Local developers can share and interact with this data via Windows Azure and develop applications with more ease and at a lower cost to the city.
“Government innovators in Canada and across the globe are increasingly providing open data portals for the public — promoting better governance, increased transparency and improved delivery of public services,” said Nik Garkusha, Open Platforms lead, Microsoft Canada. “Customers and technology partners are telling us that open data is a win-win situation for everyone.”
More information on how publically available government data can be easily accessed is available at Microsoft’s Open Government Data Initiative.
More information about how organizations are turning to Microsoft technology is available in the Microsoft Customer Spotlight newsroom.
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