We’re very pleased to announce that legacy versions of the City’s open data sets are now available through our online database.
The City of Vancouver’s Open Data Catalogue has its roots in the “Open3” motion (Open Data, Open Standards and Open Source) passed by Vancouver City Council in 2009, which declared the City’s endorsement of the principles of open and accessible data, including the free sharing of data with citizens, businesses and other jurisdictions without compromising privacy and security. Part of the City’s response to the motion was the launch of the Open Data website in September 2009. In 2011, the City of Vancouver was recognized by BC Business as the Most Innovative Organization in BC for the open data initiative.
British Columbia’s strong and growing open data community uses raw City data, alone or in combination with data from other sources, to identify, analyze, and present solutions to challenges facing citizens of Vancouver and BC. The data sets on the Open Data Catalogue are updated on an ongoing basis (the refresh rate varies across sets). Recognizing that retaining historical data would enable the community to identify trends and changes across time, resulting in richer analysis of civic issues, the Archives began to grab snapshots of the datasets – first semiannually, then quarterly – in order to preserve the overwritten data sets and make them available to the public. Continue reading
This post is of special interest to the mapping community and may be too technical for some researchers.
We digitize all of our images—photographs, maps and text—as TIFF master files, which are processed through our digital preservation system and preserved in our secure digital storage. We have been making all our digitized images available to researchers in our online search in JPG format. It allows us to make high-resolution files available in a fairly small size so they can be opened and viewed quickly. The quality is good enough for most uses.
Clicking on this map image will bring up the high-resolution JPG version, which can then be downloaded. Note the usual descriptive metadata below the image.
The mapping community has told us that JPG files are not good enough for their use. TIF or PNG formats give the best results when manipulating files in mapping software. The original scanned files, without any compression artifacts, would be the most useful.
To support the use and re-use of these valuable resources by everyone, we’re making losslessly compressed versions of the original TIFFs of our scanned maps available for download. We’ve added a link to the TIFF of a map to our online search as part of the descriptive record for that map.
Scroll down the description to find the link to the TIFF on the City’s FTP site.
So that you can verify that the file downloaded correctly and completely, we’ve included the full file size and the MD5 checksum.
We’d like to thank City Information Technology, whose recent upgrade of the City’s FTP site made it possible for us to make the files available this way.
With funding from the City’s Chief Digital Officer and in collaboration with the City’s GIS and Open Data teams, there is now a Vanmap layer made from a mosaic of plates from Goad’s 1912 Fire Insurance Plan. You can find it in Vanmap’s Aerial Imagery category. The data has also been released as part of the City’s Open Data Catalogue. Cropping and georectification of the scanned images was done by McElhanney.
The Vanmap layer, zoomed to downtown.
What is Goad’s Fire Insurance Map?
Christmas trees were burned at the beach. The Champlain Heights neighbourhood was developed. Vancouver submitted a bid for the 1976 Winter Olympic Games. Civic elections were held every two years. The Georgia Viaduct was replaced. Habitat I was held here. The federal Local Initiatives Program funded many labour-intensive projects.
North side of intersection of Broadway and MacDonald Street, looking east, April, 1976. Reference code COV-S663-4—: CVA 800-286. Photographer Al Ingram.
Now you can easily explore all the issues discussed by City Council in the 1970s. We’ve made the minutes of Vancouver City Council meetings, along with the accompanying reports, searchable online. Continue reading
Which three words best describe your Open Government vision? Let us know in the comments.
In the last few weeks, Archives staff have attended two meetings sponsored by Open Government West: Open Government West 2011, in Portland, and a Vancouver Open Government Lunch, at City Hall. Being legally responsible for preserving and making available City records of enduring value, we have been a part of open government for many years. We are always trying to find ways to make more records available online and in useful formats.
We have a strong interest in
- connecting with people who need these records
- learning from others who are opening government
- sharing what we are doing to open these records to a wider audience
Sue Bigelow writes:
Open Government West (OGW) 2011 was held May 13-14 in Portland. Day 1 had scheduled speakers and Day 2 was an unconference, in which the participants suggested their own topics. Talks for a wider audience were held in a huge tent in the hotel parking lot and in a live-music venue down the street. The first OGW conference was held last year and was such a success that many attendees came from Ontario and the eastern US.
The hotel rooms came with chalkboard doors and plenty of chalk
Here are some highlights from the many sessions.
The first keynote was given by Portland Mayor Sam Adams, who announced the impending launch of a new hyper-local 2-way communication service building on their PDX Reporter app, which allows citizens to report problems with Portland infrastructure, including an image and GPS coordinates. Continue reading
We’re pleased to announce that we are now a partner institution with the Internet Archive (IA). You can find all the digitized content that we have there in one place.
Perhaps best known for its Wayback Machine, IA has gone beyond preserving the Internet and now offers text, audio, moving images and software. IA’s main purpose, to offer open and free access to content, fits perfectly with our responsibility to make our holdings available to the widest possible audience.
IA has developed sophisticated systems for offering publications online that go far beyond what we could offer on our own web site. We provide the content and for a reasonable charge they digitize, transform and host it, and everyone benefits: that’s why we’re partners.
Detail from "A Plan for the City of Vancouver, British Columbia, including a General Plan of the Region", 1928, page 208
IA produces a multitude of publishing formats, so you’re likely to find one that’s just right. Continue reading