Category Archives: Open Government

1912 historical layer now available in Vanmap

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.

The Vanmap layer, zoomed to downtown.

What is Goad’s Fire Insurance Map?

Continue reading

Here Come the 70’s!

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.

Broadway and MacDonald intersection

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

A Day in the Lives of 2 Archivists Gone Digital

Digitizing video for preservation and access (Cindy McLellan)

 The City of Vancouver is an exciting city to be a part of at the moment for many reasons. Celebrate Vancouver 125 events have been taking place throughout 2011 all over the city to celebrate 125 years since Vancouver’s incorporation in 1886. The City is involved with the open government movement, with Vancouver’s open data catalogue, now over one year old being one open information source. Setting the goal of being the greenest city by 2020, Vancouver is asking its citizens to contribute their ideas and make lasting changes.

From my position at the City of Vancouver Archives I mention these broad City initiatives because they have important commonalities: collaboration, innovation, and interdisciplinary participation. Working as a Digital Archivist I see all three of these characteristics as key to any successful digital archives project. At the Archives we are involved in ICA-Atom and Archivematica development, both collaborative and innovative projects that require input from multiple disciplines. Multiple memory institutions, archivists, programmers, designers and researchers have all contributed unique and necessary input to these open source projects.

Hybrids: Approach with caution and other smart people

I was hired in March to arrange and describe the Yaletown Productions Inc. fonds, which consists of the records of a local film production company. The records date from company director Michael Collier’s university days in 1969, as a member of the Simon Fraser University Film Workshop, under Stan Fox, to 2001 television show proposals stored on a computer hard drive. In addition to having both paper and digital records (which archivists call a “hybrid” fonds), this donation includes hundreds of hours of film and video material consisting of raw footage, completed productions, and everything in between. It has been my challenge to appraise, digitize, preserve, arrange, describe, and make available to the public these materials in all their various formats. Much of this work involved the straightforward application of archival theory and practice.

Part rabbit part antelope hybrid

Photograph by Mark Freeman (Free-ers on flickr). Hybrids, at first glance may seem to be cute and cuddly creatures, upon further investigation however, these unpredictable monsters, born of uncontrolled digital environments are actually quite frightening. Approach with caution and a team of knowledgeable people.

In the detailed planning required for digital preservation, no one should labour alone. The atmosphere among those with this responsibility is one of sharing. Staying in touch through wikis, blogs, our time together at conferences, listservs, and simply being a small and active community, digital archivists need not, and should not, Continue reading

Association of Canadian Archivists Conference in Toronto

Association of Canadian Archivists Conference – Toronto, June 2-4, 2011

The Triumph of the West! Archivists representing Western Canada take home the Sir Arthur Doughty Cup

Perhaps overshadowed by the glorious victory of the Western team in the always contentious annual ACA softball game, and the subsequent awarding of the coveted Doughty Cup to team captain and coach Terry Eastwood, was the fact that there was also a conference being held.

The annual ACA Conference is the largest meeting of archivists from across Canada. This year’s conference was the 36th, and was attended by over 325 people – a record  number of delegates. The City of Vancouver Archives Continue reading

Recent Open Government West Meetings

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

How did Harland Bartholomew’s Ideas Shape Vancouver?

Few cities possess such a combination of nearby natural resources, a splendid harbour, a terrain ideally suited for urban use, an equable climate and a setting of great natural beauty.

Vancouver is the most important Pacific port of a great country. Here, if anywhere, should develop a great city. Circumstances of such character call for a city plan of substantial scale.

A Plan for the City of Vancouver, Harland Bartholomew & Associates, 1928, p. 10

Detail from "Vancouver Town Planning Commission 1926, Ex-Officio Members and Town Planning Consultants, 1926, Item # LP 290

Founding his urban planning firm in 1919, Bartholomew was an experienced and respected planner by the time he was hired by the Vancouver Town Planning Commission in 1926.

Vancouver’s first comprehensive town plan was prepared by Harland Bartholomew and Associates in 1928 and revised in 1929 to include the newly added municipalities of South Vancouver and Point Grey.

Bartholomew’s firm wrote follow-up planning reports between 1944 and 1948.

We’d like to thank Bing Thom Architects for this 125th birthday gift to the City. The firm sponsored the digitization of all of the Harland Bartholomew reports held at the Archives. The reports are available now on the Internet Archive. Continue reading