City of Toronto's Open Data Portal

The City of Toronto launched its first Open Data Portal in the fall of 2009 to meet growing demand for open data. Since then, the open data movement has gained increasing momentum within Toronto’s digital and civic spaces. As a result, open data currently serves as a politically charged topic of discussion within civic decision-making as policymakers and the civic community navigate open data policies and address socio-political and technical barriers. The evolution of technology and data literacy mean, however, that in addition to increasing demand for data, expectations for a broader set of functionality have changed as well. This includes being able to visualize data, being able to download data in non-proprietary formats, and meeting accessibility compliance requirements. These factors have necessitated a redesign effort, which is the in-house developed portal you are currently on. When we started designing the new portal, we spoke to the individuals best informed to direct how it should function. Our open data community is a passionate one; it includes developers, policymakers, academics and civic advocates. These communities mobilize around a common goal: that some data should be freely available for everyone to use and re-publish as they wish. When data is freely available, it can innovated upon by anyone to draw insights and use evidence to inform the design of civic services. The open data portal aims to do just this.

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