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Council begins open data journey

An initiative of the Lake Mac Smart City, Smart Council Digital Economy Strategy 2016-20 is to make "open data" business as usual for Council.

Open data is data that is freely available for anyone to use without restrictions from copyright or patents. Some data that Council collects can be useful to other people too, to help make business decisions, for scientific research, or as information to include in apps that help people track down the location of places, activities or things.

Making our data openly available is also about being transparent. The more information we share with the community in ways that can be easily understood and used, the easier it is for communities to appreciate and participate in decision-making processes.

Some data, such as names and contact details of individuals or other information held in confidence, will not be made available. Ensuring the privacy of individuals is important.

Lake Mac Open Data Pilot Project

Similar to elsewhere, Council has adopted a ‘learning by doing’ approach to open data. Launched as a pilot project in 2016 and guided by a cross-departmental working group and advice from the Federal Government's Public Data Branch, Council began identifying datasets suitable for publication on the Federal Government’s open data portal.

Prior to this, Council held its Hacktivate the City event as part of the Hunter Innovation Festival in 2016, where the community could learn about open data and how it can help create open and responsive governments, better cities and engaged citizens.

The project pilot phase is expected to be completed by mid 2017 and will inform Council’s future approach to open data and the sorts of changes to Council’s information systems that may be required.

So far, over 40 datasets have been published. These datasets are already published to various locations on Council’s website. Publishing them on the Federal open data portal provides a one-stop shop for app developers, researchers and the community. It also encourages Council staff to think about how we generate, store and use information internally and how we can streamline these processes and improve automation.

Where can I view Council open data?

The Federal Government's open data portal

Where can I view open data about Lake Macquarie City?

Other government agencies at the State and Federal levels publish data about Lake Macquarie. Over time, more data will become available on various government websites.

Federal Government open data portal

Federal Government National Map (spatial data)

NSW Government open data portal

NSW transport open data portal

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage open data portal

NSW Planning Portal and web services

How can I request Council data to be published?

If you can't find what you're looking for from the websites above or have a suggestion for an open dataset, email the team.

Where can I learn more about open data?

The Open Data Institute is a good place to start.

Video: Open / Shared / Closed data

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