Aey Times

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What are the possibilities of open data?

Many people refer to the time we live in as the Information Age, and I think to make best use of the digital data that we possess, the data should be open. The open data initiative advocates that certain data should be available for everyone to use without encumbrance. It should also be machine readable so that software can be built to take advantage of the data.

There are already many institutions providing open data, for example, several Canadian cities are providing data for people to use here:
http://data.vancouver.ca/
http://www.toronto.ca/open

The data being opened include geographic data and 3D buildings data in the city, as well as information on services such as phone numbers.

What types of technologies can be built from the use of that open data?

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    Oct 18 2011: Although we can present data in nicer formats, I think the true power of computing and open data can only be achieved by performing intelligent analysis on the data.
  • Oct 18 2011: I think for technologies to be successful, they need to accomodate the thinking and needs from the perspective of humans. For example, in the example pages above, which basically presents local data as open, people might be able to speak into devices and ask questions such as:

    Where is the closest park? (single local search)
    What public transit can I take to get to the closest place with both a supermarket and a park within 2 km of each other? (co-localization search)
    How long does it take me to walk to the nearest restaurant? (local distance inquiry)

    Those devices could then give answers to those questions.