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FAQs About Open Data

What is open data?
Open (government) Data is often referenced as:

 "A piece of content or data is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it ? subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike."  Source:opendefinition.org 

Open data is also associated with being "machine" (computer) readable and having an acceptable Terms of Use agreement that isn't restrictive.

How do I contact the open data team?
The City of Waterloo Open Data initiative can be contacted via email at the top of the page.

What additional data will be available in the future?
For the initial launch of Open Data Waterloo, the city provided over a dozen data sets which were felt to be of some interest and value for re-use by the community.  In future, additional data will be made available based on feedback from staff on data requests and requests from the community (see below).  The data will be included in the open data site as resources allow.

How do I suggest or vote for new datasets to be provided?
The City of Waterloo uses a tool that allows people to contribute ideas and to vote on the ideas that are already there.  We encourage visitors to the site to provide ideas not only on data they'd like to see (and why) but also on potential use of the data (e.g. mobile/web applications you'd like to see).  Got an idea now?

How frequently is the data updated?
The frequency of updating the data varies greatly among the data provided.  There is information (metadata) associated with each data set that will define the estimated update cycle for that data as well as the date of the last update.

What are the requirements or restrictions on how I might use the data?
One of the key principles of open data is to allow use and re-use with limited restrictions.  The Open Data Waterloo licence defines, as an example that "You are free: copy, publish, distribute and transmit the information" ... for complete details, please review our user licence agreement.

How is my personal information protected?
No personal information is allowed to be made public as defined by the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.  More details may be found here.

Are there differences in browser views of the website?
There are variations among the different browsers in use today and they are constantly changing so you may encounter some unexpected results.  If you do encounter something unexpected, please contact the team.

Is there a local open data community to discuss ideas and collaborate?
The city is aware of an open data community group and they may be contacted via the following website: http://www.opendatawr.ca.