Measuring Public Sector Open Data Initiatives

In 2020, PSD issued a call for municipalities in North America to measure their open data programs and policies amongst their peers. Data was gathered from 41 municipalities in Canada and the United States and, using our Open Cities Index, they were scored and ranked. Using this data, the 2020 Most Open Cities have been announced!

PSD launched the Open Cities Index (OCI)—Canada’s first benchmarking study for municipal open data programs—in 2015 and has expanded to invite organizations from all over North America. This tool provides a way for local governments to measure the maturity and performance of their open data initiatives while providing insight on how they can improve. With open access to public sector data becoming increasingly important through legislation and public demand, the OCI aims to push the conversation forward.

This benchmarking program evaluates open data initiatives and allows organizations to track their improvement over time based on:

  • Governance and capacity (Readiness)
  • Dataset infrastructure and quality (Implementation)
  • Community and organizational impact (Impact)

With the goal of promoting transparency and accountability in government, the OCI also provides an opportunity for municipalities to build and grow their open data programs. As part of a larger open data community, participants also receive access to insight reports and educational webinars to continue developing their programs and provide a collaborative environment for knowledge-sharing.

2020 OCI Average Scores

Overall:

34.9%

Readiness:

40.1%

Implementation:

29.3%

Impact:

35.0%

Top 20 Most Open Cities in North America

Rank (2019 Rank*)OrganizationProvince/StateOverall Score
1 (-)City of EdmontonAB98.40%
2 (+1)City of OttawaON97.60%
3 (-1)City of WinnipegMB96.30%
4 (-)City of CalgaryAB83.70%
5 (-)Ville de MontréalQC81.50%
6 (+1)Halifax Regional MunicipalityNS69.00%
7 (-1)City of New WestminsterBC68.20%
8 (+1)City of MississaugaON51.60%
9 (+5)City of BurlingtonON50.20%
9 (+21)City of Coral GablesFL50.20%
11 (+4)City of VictoriaBC48.40%
12 (+1)City of BrandonMB44.70%
13 (*)City of Los AngelesCA43.90%
14 (+3)Durham RegionON41.80%
15 (+10)City of Greater SudburyON39.20%
16 (+8)Strathcona CountyAB32.10%
17 (+12)Peel RegionON31.10%
18 (*)City of WaterlooON30.30%
19 (+7)District of North VancouverBC28.20%
20 (+7*)District of SquamishBC26.60%

* (+#) ranks increased, (-#) ranks decreased, (-) same rank as 2019, (*) new participant

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Top Performing Organizations

1. Edmonton, AB

Ranking: 1st  |  Score: 98.40%

The City of Edmonton’s fifth consecutive first-place ranking can largely be attributed to their engagement with external organizations on open data initiatives. Tied with the City of Ottawa for the first-place ranking in the Impact category, Edmonton’s open data program collaborates with multiple partners that enables their open data to have the largest impact possible. For example, Edmonton was one of the few organizations that received the highest allocated number of points for their collaboration with local innovation centers of business. Likewise, Edmonton’s open data program collaborates with local primary and secondary school boards—a partnership type that is still underrealized in the open data realm. Through partnership with a local school, the City’s open data portal was provided with a school food drive dataset as well as an open data story relating to driver speed feedback signs in a specific school zone.

In addition to a high Impact score, the City of Edmonton received a second-place ranking in both the Readiness and Implementation sections of the survey. Their high rankings amongst all survey sections exemplify their holistic approach to open data program structure, ensuring that all elements of their program—governance, quantity and quality of datasets, and community impact—are considered.

“The Open Cities Index is a good way for the City to measure ourselves and ensure that we continue the pursuit of our goal of transparency and openness. Being rated among the first in North America is confirmation that we are on the right track, and reinforces the decisions made.”
— Mary Persson, Deputy City Manager, Financial & Corporate Services, City of Edmonton

___________

Provided by the City of Edmonton Open Data Team — During 2020, the City of Edmonton’s open data program concentrated on improving the quality of existing datasets, and ensuring that users are able to find what they’re looking for; metadata has been made more consistent and meaningful, datasets have been merged where possible, and superfluous assets have been removed.

As part of the City of Edmonton’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the open data team has created and maintained a number of accessible and machine-readable datasets containing data published by other orders of government in non-accessible formats. In addition, single-day snapshot data provided by AHS has been compiled into datasets that retain the historical data such that users can analyze trends over time. These datasets have been used as part of internal decision making, for public-facing dashboards (combined with bylaw complaint and enforcement data), by other municipalities within Alberta, and by members of the public.

2. Ottawa, ON

Ranking: 2nd  |  Score: 97.60%

The City of Ottawa received high rankings in all three categories, demonstrating a mature and holistic open data program. Tied with the City of Edmonton for the first-place ranking in the Impact category, Ottawa’s open data program has a large impact both within the City’s organization and the community. The open data program has created an internal data hub to streamline data that is uploaded and utilized by different departments within the organization. The hub diminishes the effects of siloed data, such as duplication, to ensure the greatest accuracy of data and overall value to all departments.

Externally, the City of Ottawa’s open data program has made significant impacts within its community. One such example is the development of the site join.ottawa.ca by a local entrepreneur. The site uses the City’s recreation dataset to help residents navigate the thousands of programs offered by the City of Ottawa, helping them find a specific program they are looking for. Following the popularity of the site among residents, the City partnered with the individual and is now hosted on the City’s website.

Open Ottawa has been a key platform for us to share relevant data regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, including an interactive dashboard, neighbourhood level COVID case counts, community outbreaks and more. It’s truly been a One City, One Team effort with representatives from every single City department, Ottawa Police Services, Ottawa Public Library and Ottawa Public Health on our open data team. We’re very proud to be one of the top three open data programs in North America and look forward to further expanding our program with our many community partners.

– Valerie Turner, General Manager, Innovative Client Services, City of Ottawa

3. Winnipeg, MB

Ranking: 3rd  |  Score: 96.30%

The City of Winnipeg achieved the highest score in the Implementation category among all survey respondents, contributing to their third place ranking overall. Additionally, the City also demonstrated excellence in the Impact category, highlighting the impact of their robust open data portal. Winnipeg tracks the usage of their open datasets in local websites and applications, as well as internally by the organization, to continuously ensure that their open data portal stays up-to-date and relevant.

Even more, the City of Winnipeg’s commitment to their open data program is exemplified in their adoption of the International Open Data Charter, among only two other 2020 OCI participants. Aligned with the 6 principles of the Charter, Winnipeg’s open data policy sets out to ensure a well-governed open data program, exemplified by their 3rd place ranking this year.

Open and transparent government has never been more important than now as we all deal with the challenges of COVID. Having Open Data as a guiding principle within our City ensures citizens have access to the information most important to them by default.”

— Glen Cottick, Acting Director of Innovation and Technology Services, City of Winnipeg

Top U.S.

Coral Gables, FL

Ranking: 9th  |  Score: 50.20%

The City of Coral Gables scored the highest out of all US participants and jumped an incredible 21 ranks from the 2019 OCI earning them the title of Most Improved. Ranking 1st overall in Readiness and 3rd overall in Impact, they are constantly striving to make government data accessible.

Coral Gables was also named one of StateTech Magazine’s 8 Smart Cities to Watch in 2020 alongside much larger cities. A small city with big open data ambitions!

Our city is grateful and humbled by this recognition, which is the result of a citywide team effort toward higher transparency, openness, inclusion and continuous improvement of our digital services and citizen engagement platforms. As a data-driven organization, actionable data and insight are key for operational efficiencies, customer service, situational awareness, and timely response and decision making. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the 2020 Open Cities Index and measure the effectiveness of our smart city data programs and public platforms, as we continue learning and improving the digital services we provide to our citizens.
— Raimundo Rodulfo, Director of Information Technology / Chief Innovation Officer, City of Coral Gables

Testimonials

“The Open Cities Index has provided Edmonton with an important way to objectively benchmark our Open Data program. It was instrumental in providing us a goal to aspire to and to challenge ourselves with. The City of Edmonton is extremely proud to be ranked #1 in Canada for all four years of the Open Cities Index.”

Soumya Ghosh, Director of Digital Enablement, City of Edmonton, 2019

“Open Ottawa has been a key platform for us to share relevant data regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, including an interactive dashboard, neighbourhood level COVID case counts, community outbreaks and more. It’s truly been a One City, One Team effort with representatives from every single City department, Ottawa Police Services, Ottawa Public Library and Ottawa Public Health on our open data team. We’re very proud to be one of the top three open data programs in North America and look forward to further expanding our program with our many community partners.”

Valerie Turner, General Manager, Innovative Client Services, City of Ottawa, 2020

“At the City of Ottawa, we have benefitted greatly from our participation in the Open Cities Index survey. This has been a key tool that has allowed our team to identify gaps in our program, benchmark against other leading municipal Open Data programs and supported the development of our departmental Open Data release plans. Since our initial participation in the survey in 2015, OCI has been a crucial asset in growing and enhancing our Open Data program at the City of Ottawa.”

Marc René de Cotret, Director of Service Transformation, City of Ottawa, 2019

“Open and transparent government has never been more important than now as we all deal with the challenges of COVID. Having Open Data as a guiding principle within our City ensures citizens have access to the information most important to them by default.”

Glen Cottick, Acting Director of Innovation and Technology Services, City of Winnipeg, 2020

“The Open Cities Index is a good way for the City to measure ourselves and ensure that we continue the pursuit of our goal of transparency and openness. Being rated among the first in North America is confirmation that we are on the right track, and reinforces the decisions made.”

Mary Persson, Deputy City Manager, Financial & Corporate Services, City of Edmonton, 2020

2019 OCI RESULTS

RankOrganizationProvinceScore
1City of EdmontonAB98.82%
2City of WinnipegMB74.94%
3City of OttawaON74.90%
4City of CalgaryAB74.84%
5Ville de MontréalQC71.78%
6City of New WestminsterBC66.05%
7Halifax Regional MunicipalityNS55.67%
8York RegionON53.79%
9City of MississaugaON48.65%
10City of GuelphON48.24%
11Niagara RegionON46.74%
12City of BramptonON43.84%
13City of BrandonMB43.55%
14City of BurlingtonON41.15%
15City of VictoriaBC40.46%
16City of WellandON37.51%
17Region of DurhamON37.37%
18City of KitchenerON35.69%
19City of HamiltonON33.24%
20City of Prince GeorgeBC32.76%