There was a problem accessing Open Data and we set out to fix it.

Globe and mobile phone

So what is Open Data?

Start a business. Manage your power use. Find cheap rent, or avoid crime-ridden neighborhoods. Cities and their citizens worldwide are discovering the power of “Open Data”—public data and information available from government and other sources that can help solve civic problems and create new business opportunities. By opening up data about transportation, education, health care, and more, all levels of government are helping app developers, civil society organizations, and others, to find innovative ways to tackle big problems.

For anyone that wants to promote entrepreneurship and economic development, Open Data can be a valuable new resource. Weather apps, including the Weather Network itself, rely on government Open Data to fuel their business. The same is true for Global Positioning Systems (GPS) data. Garmin and TomTom have built billion dollar businesses on government GPS data that was originally intended for military use.

Realizing Open Data is on the cusp of another huge break, governments all over the world are beginning to adopt a strategy for the release of new, high value Open Data with the potential to stimulate the next wave of data-driven businesses.

Three maps of Canada showing federal, provincial, and municipal levels

But it doesn't come without its challenges.

Although governments are beginning to make Open Data available, there are still huge barriers limiting how businesses, developers, and citizens can interact with this new information. One of the largest issues is that all governments seem to make data available in different places, on separate portals, and in multiple formats, making it very difficult for users to access and leverage in an efficient manner.

In Canada alone, three levels of government representing more than 3500 different access points, all have the ability to release valuable data to the public. In this current environment, a developer looking to create an app or business would need to spend countless hours scouring the internet to find various portals and websites where Open Data has been made available. They would then need to spend time collecting the data, processing it, and trying to make sense of it all. When the data updates, this process is nearly rinse and repeat.

What this does is create a prerequisite to working with Open Data. It requires that the user understand how government is organized, which organization collects what type of information, and how to take data from multiple sources and process it into a usable format.

What we're doing to fix it.

ThinkData believes that their are far too many barriers to entry in the current Open Data environment, which is suppressing a massive amount of potential for new businesses powered by Open Data and data driven innovation.

That is why we created Namara.

By providing a single access point to view, browse, and interact with all available Open Data, ThinkData intends to create a barrier free ecosystem where high value data can begin to influence the information we see and decisions we ultimately make.

Find all the available Open Data and change the world with Namara.