For regular readers of my blog I promise not to talk too much about datadotgc.ca here at eaves.ca. I am going to today since I’ve received a number of requests from people asking if and how they could help so I wanted to lay out what is on my mind at the moment, and if people had time/capacity, how they could help.
Next wednesday I’ll be doing a small presentation to all the CIO’s of the federal public service. During that presentation I’d like to either go live to datadotgc.ca or at least show an up to date screen shot (if there is no internet). It would be great to have more data sets in the site at that time so I can impress upon this group a) how little machine readable data there is in Canada versus other countries (especially the UK and US) and b) show them what an effective open data portal should look like.
So what are the datadotgc.ca priorities at this moment?
1. Get more data sets listed in datadotgc.ca
There is a list of machine readable data sets known to exist in the federal government that has been posted here. For coders – the CKAN API is relatively straight forward to use. There is also an import script that can allow one to bulk import data lists into datadotgc.ca, as well as instructions posted here in the datadotgc.ca google group.
2. Better document how to bulk add data sets.
While the above documentation is good, I’d love to have some documentation and scripts that are specific to datadotgc.ca/ca.ckan.net. I’m hoping to recruit some help with this tonight at the Open Data hackathon, but if you are interested, please let me know.
3. Build better tools
One idea I had that I have shared with Steve T. is to develop a jet-pack add on for Firefox that, when you are on a government page scans for links to certain file types (SHAPE, XLS, etc…) and then let’s you know if they are already in datadotgc.ca. If not, it would provide a form to “liberate the dataset” without forcing the user to leave the government website. This would make it easier for non-developers to add datasets to datadotgc.ca.
4. Locate machine readable data sets
Of course, we can only add to datadotgc.ca data sets that we know about, so if you know about a machine readable datasets that could be liberated, please add it! If there are many and you don’t know how ping me, or add it directly to the list in the datadotgc.ca google group.